Commitment Impact - Dejounte Murray

Lorenzo Romar and the UW basketball program received their biggest off-season news to date Tuesday evening when Seattle standout Dejounte Murray announced he was verbally committing to the Huskies joining teammate David Crisp. Murray, who won back-to-back state championships with Rainier Beach, is a huge addition to what is suddenly looking like a monster recruiting class in 2015.

In recruiting terms, Murray is a perfect fit for Romar's program. He's a prototype Husky wing - versatile, lanky and athletic - checking in at a long 6-foot-5. He is a player that makes his living attacking the paint off the wing. He's a good shooter, especially from mid-range, where he connects consistently with a quality pull-up jumper, and he possesses a solid three-point stroke. He's quick laterally, and handles the ball well, while earning high marks for his passing ability, creativity and floor vision.

On the other side of the ball Murray offers great potential as a pesky, active defender, with big upside due to his length and lateral quicks. Physically, he's on the skinny side, but ample shoulders and long arms give him a solid foundation to work with.

The blueprint at Washington for wing players like Murray is well established: He's cut from the same cloth as former Husky stars Terrence Ross, Brandon Roy, Quincy Pondexter, Tony Wroten, and C.J. Wilcox. Offensively speaking, Murray is equipped to contribute meaningfully right out of the gate, and he's no slouch on the defensive end either.

As is the case with all freshman guards at UW, his development on the defensive end will dictate how much he plays during his first season at Montlake. Furthermore, his versatility both offensively and defensively should allow him to play any of three guard positions which enhances his value further.

A year from this November seems like an eternity from now, but from a roster perspective several variables may impact where Murray ends up on the depth chart after he arrives. Nigel Williams-Goss's surprise flirtation with the NBA draft at the end of last season means there's at least a decent chance he'll declare for the draft after a productive sophomore campaign. If that ends up being the case, that leaves a 2015 starting role up for grabs next to probable starters Andrew Andrews and Darin Johnson. The other guards - Quevyn Winters, Donaven Dorsey, Jahmel Taylor and fellow 2105 freshman Crisp - will also compete for the opportunity to start. Expect Murray to earn big minutes regardless.

The Husky coaching staff has recently shifted their recruiting approach. Rather than wait out the process, the coaches pounced on the opportunity to earn the commitments of three coveted prospects before the start of the summer viewing period - a strategy that is paying dividends.

Joining Murray are Crisp (after he attends Brewster Academy next fall) and California power forward Marquese Chriss, whose stock is soaring heading into summer. Together the trio form the nucleus of what is shaping up to be one of the top recruiting classes in the program's history. That's big news for Husky fans still stinging from the pain of watching Aaron Gordon and Jabari Bird spurn UW to sign with other schools a couple of years back.

One thing is clear when looking at the Huskies 2015 recruiting thus far: Team athleticism is getting a major upgrade. In the same vein as Romar's Sweet Sixteen teams, all three prospects are explosive athletes who thrive in up-tempo, transition-oriented systems. With this class, the coaching staff has placed athleticism at a premium, a key Husky trait inexplicably missing from the program since Ross and Wroten jumped to the NBA back in 2012.

Another positive aspect of Murray's commitment is the fact that he's a coveted local star, hailing from the same metro Seattle school that produced Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford, Doug Christie and Terrence Williams. The region hit a dry spell recently in terms of generating high major talent, and Murray's commitment - along with Crisp - signals a definite shift.

The built-in local marketing won't hurt either. The Dawg Pack has always maintained its most vocal affection for the guys from the 206 and 253 area codes. Local hoops fans watched and celebrated the Vikings run to a second consecutive state title, and the added familiarity with the newcomers make it that much easier to pull for them after they put on the purple and gold.

The long term recruiting effects could be dramatic as well. The local talent pool in the 2016 and 2017 classes is as deep as it has been in years. Could Murray's commitment and Crisp's pledge pave the way for players like the Vikings' Keith Smith (transferring from Franklin) and Garfield's Jaylen Nowell to follow in his footsteps? This news certainly won't hurt the Huskies' chances going forward.

Romar may not be finished. Technically speaking, the Huskies roster is now full for 2015, with Crisp and Chriss replacing seniors Shawn Kemp, Jr. and Mike Anderson, and Murray would fill Desmond Simmons' vacated spot. Williams-Goss, Robert Upshaw and Jernard Jerreau are all on the NBA radar, which could open up more openings on the roster. There's always transfer possibilities as well, potentially leaving the Huskies with several additional scholarships to fill.

For now, Husky fans can celebrate the commitment of the newest member of the UW family. There's no substitute for pure talent in college basketball, and the Huskies have landed one of the most talented players on the West Coast. Congratulations to Dejounte Murray, his family - and a shout out to Husky fans who will have the privilege of watching him develop right here at home. Top Stories