Beach's Bits - Recruiting Impact

The new year is off to an explosive start for Washington Basketball. On the court, a sensational 3-1 start to conference play has propelled the Huskies back into the conference title and NCAA Tournament conversation. On the recruiting front, Washington has boldly secured commitments from three talented players, further cementing the program's future after landing quality 2013 and 2014 classes.

The latest verbal commitment comes from Elk Grove, Calif. junior Marquese Chriss. The 6-foot-8, 200 forward is one of the fastest rising prospects on the West Coast and an elite athlete. Scout.com has Chriss ranked as the No. 75 player in America for the 2015 recruiting class regardless of position. A quick scouting report from Scout.com Recruiting Analyst Josh Gershon reveals the following:

"Chriss is one of the most athletic prospects out west in 2015 and a kid with some serious potential," said Gershon. "A face-up four, Chriss has good length and exceptional bounce; he's like a pogo stick with how quickly he gets off the ground. Offensively, Chriss can hit a three-pointer off the catch or take a one or two-dribble pull-up from midrange, but he also scores a lot of points on the offensive glass. He's got to commit himself to developing a back to the basket game.

  "Defensively he's a terrific shot blocker whose springiness and timing allow him to rack up deflections. He also uses that athleticism and timing to grab defensive rebounds. Chriss is a pretty thin kid and will need to get stronger, and will need to keep working on his handle, but all together he's a kid with a lot of potential."

In terms of how Chriss fits into the program long term, the Huskies have on their hands a true specimen. Like most post players his age (and he's young for his grade) he's physically immature but fits the UW program like a glove. Husky Basketball starts with the defensive end, and Chriss's long arms, athleticism and shot blocking instincts give him tremendous upside and the versatility to defend multiple positions. His high flying acrobatic skills should make him extremely effective in transition, while his polished face-up skills should help him thrive in the half court/high post offense.

A day earlier the Huskies landed another big long-term piece of their future in 2015 Rainier Beach standout David Crisp. Crisp has been on a meteoric rise since December after leading the Vikings - ranked 3rd nationally - to a Les Schwab Invitational Tournament victory over prep heavyweights Bishop Gorman of Nevada.

Crisp, is an undersized but extremely athletic point guard, checking in at around 6 feet tall. He's deadly from outside, and features a quality mid-range pull-up jumper, and is a fearless penetrator. He's also a lock down defender at the high school level and plays with the coveted energetic motor that has propelled many of the Huskies' iconic smaller guards of the past, namely Justin Dentmon, Venoy Overton, and Isaiah Thomas. In fact, with Crisp being from Tacoma and also shooting lefty, it's hard not to see a little bit of Thomas in Crisp's play.

With the Huskies facing a future without leading scorer C.J. Wilcox, UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar and company got themselves a nice Christmas present with the commitment of Quevyn Winters of Indian Hills Junior College in Iowa. The lanky 6-foot-6 swing man is a pure scorer with a score-first mentality to accompany his deadly three-point range. Winters led Duquesne in three-point shooting as a true freshman before transferring. He's expected to contribute immediately in 2014.

Those three players, along with 2014 recruits Donovan Dorsey, Tristan Etienne and Fresno State transfer Robert Upshaw, will join the 2013 recruiting class of Nigel Williams-Goss, Darin Johnson, Jahmel Taylor, and Mike Anderson to form the nucleus of the program moving forward.

With so many new faces joining the program, how do they fit? What else do they need to put the finishing touches on their 2015 recruiting now that the 2014 class has been put to bed?

Next season, the Washington Basketball roster looks something like this:
2014:
PG - Nigel Williams-Goss, Jahmel Taylor
SG - Andrew Andrews, Darin Johnson
SF - Mike Anderson, Quevyn Winters, Donaven Dorsey
PF - Jernard Jarreau, Desmond Simmons, Tristan Etienne
C - Robert Upshaw, Shawn Kemp, Jr., Gilles Dierickx

It's easy to see how Winters fits. In the backcourt. the Huskies lose top scorer Wilcox, but return everyone else. The rotation of Williams-Goss, Andrews, Anderson and Johnson at the three guard positions seems pretty well set, but they'll need at least one more player to fill out the rotation, which is where Winters, Dorsey and Taylor can earn their minutes.
2015:
PG - Nigel Williams-Goss, Jahmel Taylor, David Crisp
SG - Andrew Andrews, Darin Johnson
SF - Quevyn Winters, Donaven Dorsey
PF - Jernard Jarreau, Marquese Chriss
C - Robert Upshaw, Tristan Etienne, Gilles Dierickx

For 2014, technically the Huskies have no scholarships left to give, though transfers will likely impact the roster and open up more room.

In 2015, assuming no NBA defections, the starting lineup should remain mostly intact, minus Anderson. A starting third guard spot should be up for grabs, as well as minutes for another guard to enter the rotation off the bench. The front court rotation loses Kemp and Simmons to graduation, putting upwards of 30 minutes a game up in play for non-starters.

In terms of needs, there are no glaring roster holes. The Huskies brought in Winters to address losing Wilcox's three-point marksmanship, as well as his ability to affect games via rebounding and defense, but the Dawgs will never stop looking when it comes to adding additional athleticism and shooting on the wing. Quality front court players are always at a premium and the coaching staff would no doubt love to add another in 2015.

It's probably safe to assume the Huskies will have two more roster spots to fill in 2015.

Their top remaining target appears to be another Rainier Beach star - 2015 combo guard Dejounte Murray. Murray is believed to be favoring Washington. They have also recently offered another 2014 Rainier Beach Viking, forward Dejuan Piper, though academic hurdles have complicated his recruitment. Since Piper is a senior the only way he could attend UW in 2014 is via attrition to the current roster. Piper could also attend junior college and bounce back to the Huskies after receiving his AA.

All in all, and not forgetting the fact that the Huskies current play is surging, Dawg fans should be thrilled with the way coach Romar and his assistants have totally revamped the roster and revitalized their recruiting. The roster is bristling with top flight, yet under-the-radar talent. Not blue chip, five star, one-and-done players, mind you: that's not a sustainable recipe for success for UW and never has been. These are quality players that will be productive for three or four years, and should keep the Huskies battling at the top of the Pac-12 for the foreseeable future.


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