Mike Hopkins and Washington scored big with a late spring pickup, landing the commitment of top-10 recruit Jaden McDaniels for the 2019–20 season.
McDaniels, an in-state talent from Federal Way (Wash.) High School, chose the Huskies over Kentucky and also considered San Diego State (where his brother Jalen played) and Texas. He’s No. 8 on the 247Sports composite ranking for the 2019 class and is the top-ranked power forward.
What is Washington getting in McDaniels? SI.com NBA draft expert Jeremy Woo breaks down the game of the big man:
McDaniels is a uniquely talented forward who possesses a good deal of upside: At 6'10", he moves and handles the ball like a wing, has natural scoring touch and is an underrated passer. He plays with a good level of toughness, and when his jump shot is falling, he can create matchup issues for defenses. On the flipside, McDaniels is extremely thin, which creates some limitations and occasionally causes him problems trying to impose his will. While the body type is more of a long-term concern—he will still be a big boost for Washington as a one-and-done player—he will need to find a greater level of consistency with his jump shot to maximize his impact. He’ll be one of the more intriguing players to follow going into the fall.
McDaniels is the second top-10 recruit in his class to choose Washington, the first being five-star center Isaiah Stewart, who is ranked No. 3 overall. The tandem of McDaniels and Stewart gives the Huskies an extremely talented frontcourt that also includes returning starter Hameir Wright and should be able to stack up with anyone in the Pac-12. In joining with Stewart, four-star guard RaeQuan Battle (No. 75) and three-star guard Marcus Tsohonis, the addition of McDaniels bumped the Huskies up to the No. 10 class on 247Sports’s team rankings.
A top-10 recruiting class is another significant step forward for Washington under Hopkins, who has instilled a defensive mentality in the program after bringing the 2–3 zone over from Syracuse, where he was Jim Boeheim’s longtime assistant. In his second year as head coach in 2018–19, he led UW to its first NCAA tournament since 2011, where his team beat Utah State before falling to UNC in the second round.
The Huskies are reloading after losing several key players from that roster, including Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaylen Nowell and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Matisse Thybulle, and will have Kentucky point guard transfer Quade Green eligible in January after he left Lexington midway through last season.