Recruiting: Gary's Jalen Washington on Track for Full Recovery from ACL Tear

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Jalen Washington is that unique recruit who is both intriguing and mysterious. The first because all the numbers say he's going to be a great player, the second because no one has really seen a lot of him at the high school level.

Washington is a 6-foot-9 five-star recruit from Gary (Ind.) West Side who has added 20 pounds of muscle recently and is up to 230 pounds. He has limitless potential, but a very condensed high school resume, because he's only played seven games in two years, missing much of his freshman year with a fractured shoulder and then tearing the ACL in his right knee just before the start of his sophomore season a year ago.

But he's shown enough in AAU summers that everyone thinks he's going to be sensational, and those five stars are legit. Indiana and dozens of others have offered, and Washington told nwitimes.com that he's heard from Indiana recently.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into the summer AAU season, but that's not really affecting Washington anyway, because he was going to sit out the summer to continue rehab. He wants to be full-go for his junior season at West Side.

"It'll definitely be different because I haven't played in a while, but I'm going to be excited," Washington said of playing in West Side's 2020-21 season opener. "I'm looking forward to actually playing the whole season. It'll be fun."

Washington is currently ranked No. 17 nationally in the Class of 2022 in the 247Sports composite rankings, and he is the No. 1-ranked player in the state of Indiana.

 “A lot of things coming to him now are not really a ‘wow’ moment for him because he was expecting it,'' West Side coach Chris Buggs said. There are still some things he has to get used to as far as the attention he gets – like random people who want to talk to him. He got an IU offer, so you know how that goes in Indiana. But he’s taken really well to it.”

And Khristian Lander makes 9 

Now that it's official and the reclassification of Evansville Reitz' Khristian Lander into the Class of 2020 is complete, he becomes the ninth five-star recruit to sign with Indiana since 2004, according to the 247Sports composite.

Here's the complete list, in chronological order

  1. D.J. White (2004)
  2. Eric Gordon (2007) 
  3. Cody Zeller (2011)
  4. Yogi Ferrell (2012)
  5. Noah Vonleh (2013)
  6. James Blackmon Jr. (2014)
  7. Thomas Bryant (2015)
  8. Romeo Langford (2018)
  9. Khristian Lander (2020)

It got me thinking where that total ranks in the Big Ten, and you might be a bit surprised that Indiana is right at the top, tied with Ohio State and one ahead of Michigan State.

Those three have dominated the league when it comes to recruiting top talent. The trio has recruited 28 five-star athletes since 2003, and the rest of the league — that's 11 other teams — have recruited only nine total five-stars in those 18 seasons.

So, since 2003, here's the order:

  • Indiana (9): D.J. White (2004), Eric Gordon (2007), Cody Zeller (2011), Yogi Ferrell (2012), Noah Vonleh (2013), James Blackmon Jr. (2014), Thomas Bryant (2015), Romeo Langford (2018), Khristian Lander (2020)
  • Ohio State (9): Greg Odon (2006), Mike Conley Jr. (2006), Daequan Cook (2006), Kosta Koufos (2007), William Buford (2008), B.J. Mullens (2008), Jared Sullinger (2010), Deshaun Thomas (2010), DeAngelo Russell (2014).
  • Michigan State (8): Shannon Brown (2003), Delvon Roe (2008), Adreien Payne (2010), Brenden Dawson (2011), Gary Harris (2012), Miles Bridges (2016), Joshua Langford (2016), Jaren Jackson (2017), 
  • Maryland (3): Mike Jones (2003), Diamond Stone (2015), Jalen Smith (2018)
  • Wisconsin (2): Brian Butch (2003), Sam Dekker (2012)
  • Michigan (2): Dion Harris (2003), Glenn Robinson III (2012)
  • Purdue (1): Caleb Swanigan (2015)
  • Minnesota (1): Kris Humphries (2003)
  • No 5-star recruits since 2003: IIllinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers.
IndianaBBRomeoACCDuke
Romeo Langford was a five-star recruit out of New Albany High School in 2018, and played one season at Indiana. (Photos by USA TODAY Sports)

Final player rankings for Indiana's 2020 class

Now that the 2020 recruiting cycle has been put to bed, the final recruiting rankings are in for Indiana's four newest players. Here's where they rank in the 247Sports composite rankings:

  • KHRISTIAN LANDER, Evansville Reitz (No. 25): Despite reclassifying from the Class of 2021, Lander still remained a top-25 player and a five-star recruit. He had been in the 10-15 range in the 2021 rankings all year. The 6-foot-2, 165-pound left-hander is Indiana's first five-star point guard recruit since Yogi Ferrell.
  • JORDAN GERONIMO, St. Paul's School (No. 92): Geronimo is the only Indiana recruit this year from out-of-state. He was the New Hampshire Player of the Year and the 6-foot-6 high-flying forward has an impressive highlight reel. Indiana fans are certainly looking forward to getting to know him better.
  • ANTHONY LEAL, Bloomington South (No. 133): It was somewhat surprising that Leal dropped out of 247's top-100 from the start of his senior season. All he did was lead Bloomington South to an undefeated season, hit all sorts of clutch last-second game-winning shots and won Indiana Mr. Basketball. What's not to like there?
  • TREY GALLOWAY, Culver Academy (No. 134): Galloway, the first commit in the class, is just a notch below Leal. The kid is a winner, no doubt. He won a Class 3A state title as a sophomore and lost in the finals as a junior. Last year he missed four games with a wrist injury, and Culver lost all four games. In games that Galloway suited up, they never lost.

It's going to be interesting to see if Leal and Galloway come to Bloomington with a little chip on their shoulder after being slighted in those final 247Sports rankings. 

There were two wing guys who did that in 2010, when the pair came to Indiana ranked No. 136 and No. 143 in the country and were intent on proving they were underrated players. And they did just that. Who were they? Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey.

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Victor Oladipo (left) and Will Sheehey (right) came to Bloomington as unheralded three-star recruits and left as all-time Indiana fan favorites. (USA TODAY Sports)
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