Huskies Add Recruit But Basketball Program Seems Stuck in Neutral

UW signs Jackson Grant of Olympia, its lone recruit over two classes now, which seems very odd.

Meet Jackson Grant.

Before, there was Lincoln Kennedy.

What is it about these University of Washington athletes who are named after two presidents, intentionally or unintentionally?

In this case, Grant is a long-overdue Husky basketball recruit from Washington's state capital, a 6-foot-9 forward from Olympia.

This week, he signed his national letter of intent with Mike Hopkins' team.

A 4-star player, Grant averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game for Olympia High School. He chose the Huskies over Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Pepperdine (and Lorenzo Romar) and California (and Mark Fox). 

"This is home," Grant tweeted out.

While Grant brings heady credentials to Montlake, it feels like Hopkins lost the election. 

This is his lone recruit over two classes.

What's up with that?

It's hardly enough to get everyone excited about this UW program, which is coming off a disastrous 15-17 and last-place Pac-12 finish. The Huskies currently are picked to finish ninth in the conference, with only California, Washington State and Oregon State slotted lower.  

One could argue, Hopkins is chasing transfers for a quick fix, but so few freshmen doesn't bode well for the future or securing others. 

Even more disconcerting, the Husky coach had an overabundance of statewide talent at his fingertips during this particular recruiting cycle and the biggest names went elsewhere.

O'Dea High center Paulo Banchero chose Duke over the Huskies. Eastside Catholic point guard Nolan Hickman selected Kentucky over the UW. Battle Ground guard Kaden Perry settled on Gonzaga. Even Eastside guard Shane Nowell, brother of former Husky guard Jaylen Nowell, is headed to Arizona.

Also, the Pac-12 announced a preseason all-conference team of 10 on the first unit and five more on the second squad, and there are no Huskies listed. UW point guard Quade Green is included among five honorable-mention picks.

The Huskies without question took a big hit in reputation after bottoming out even with a pair of 5-star freshmen big men on the roster in Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels, now awaiting next week's NBA draft.

Hopkins was considered the ace recruiter just two years ago, a man on a mission, aiming big and delivering. Now he appears to be having trouble selling what he has, which puts this basketball coach at an uncomfortable crossroad. 

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