State of Washington Top-5

After a five year talent dip in the prep ranks, the region’s reputation as a hotbed of college hoop talent is about to be restored. It's no secret that the Puget Sound has been in a bit of a slump in terms of generating legitimate high major basketball talent.

Between 2005 - 2009 the region consistently produced some of the top talent in the country, with the 2005 class producing 4 of the top 30 players nationally, but the region fell off a cliff in 2010.

With the start of the summer viewing period upon us, the region is again bursting with college level players of all types, from elite players to Division III - especially in the backcourt.

This list isn't comprehensive. Over the last couple of months, I've seen most of the top AAU programs in the area, but the list keeps growing. The recently formed NWXpress contains some of Seattle's best, including Dejounte Murray. The Friends of Hoop roster lacks flash but boasts sneaky good talent. Seattle Rotary, Aplus, Tacoma's Northwest Panthers and even Ellensburg's Subway Selects claim multiple mid-to high major prospects. That's just for starters.

This isn't a ranking of the top players in the area. This is a ranking of the top-20 college prospects in the state of Washington - There is a difference. On Tuesday we started with 20-16, Wednesday we tackled the next five. Thursday we moved into the top ten, and Friday we finish it off with the top five players in the state - in order.
5) Corey Kispert 2017 6-5 Wing, King’s/Friends of Hoop. Kispert might be the best pure shooting prospect in the state, but there's a lot more to like than his fabulous shooting stroke. A quarterback prospect as well, physically Kispert has a solid frame with strong shoulders. With the ball in his hands, Kispert handles it well and is a high level passer with good court awareness. He's a good leaper and powerful finisher at the cup to accompany his quick trigger, and is a motivated defender who plays with a lot of energy. Kispert has already earned an offer from Washington but expect his recruitment to expand quickly as word spreads about the unique young prospect.

4) Isiah Brown 2016 6-1 G, Lakeside/APlus. Brown has drawn high level attention since early in his freshman season of high school. As a scorer, he led the state in scoring as a sophomore. He shoots a high, arching three point ball out to 25 feet. Brown maintains a tight handle, using his quality crossover to create separation. He is a precise passer with first class body control attacking the basket where he's a creative finisher. Though lacking high level athleticism, Brown’s motor runs non-stop, and he's quick in the open court. Brown has an offer from Washington, with interest from several Pac-12 programs, including ASU, CAL, WSU and Utah, as well as Gonzaga and Memphis.

3) Keith Smith 2016 6-6 G, Rainier Beach/NWXpress. The top 2016 Northwest college prospect bares a semblance to Brandon Roy, possessing an athletic floating quality that makes everything look fluid and easy. He's a versatile scorer, possessing stellar three point and mid-range jumpers. As his long, solid body matures, he has become more effective penetrating the lane and finishing through contact. He's a high level distributor and ball handler, and uses his size effectively banging in the paint. Several Pac-12 schools are recruiting him, and he currently holds offers from Washington, Cal and Oregon State.

2) Jaylen Nowell 2017 6-4 G, Garfield/Seattle Rotary. Nowell is the top college prospect in the state of Washington for the 2017 recruiting class. He's a high octane, energetic combo guard who plays with an edge. He's a strong penetrator who uses excellent quicks and muscular frame to weave through the paint and power through contact at the cup. He connects consistently with a mid range pull-up and his three point stroke is solid. Nowell’s motor is electric. Coupled with his athleticism, that motor allows him to get up and down the court in a hurry and he is highly effective in transition as a result. Nowell currently holds an offer from Washington, with interest from Indiana, Arizona, Cal, Gonzaga, Texas and Colorado.

1) Dejounte Murray 2015 6-4 SG, Rainier Beach/NWXpress. As expected, The Vikings' standout shooting guard had a break out spring in the EYBL, culminating in a commitment to the hometown Washington Huskies last month. He's a versatile, high level scorer blessed with excellent athleticism and length. Over the last couple of months Murray’s jumper has steadily improved and he's taking on a starring role for NWXpress, leading the team in nearly every statistical category. Despite his maturation, he's all upside at this point. He has a lot work to do in the weight room before he arrives at Montlake next year. But before Murray begins his college career, he'll lead Rainier Beach in their quest for three-straight 3A basketball titles. Murray is committed to Washington.
State of Washington Top-20: 10-6
State of Washington Top-20: 15-11
State of Washington Top-20: 20-16


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