Commitment Impact: Jermaine Haley

The Washington coaching staff hasn't even put the finishing touches on its top 5 rated 2015 recruiting class before learning Monday that prized 2016 point guard Jermaine Haley had committed to them. The standout from Burnaby, British Columbia - by way of Canarias Academy in Spain - is a truly unique talent.

Checking in at nearly 6-foot-7 and blessed with high level athleticism and skill, few players in the country can boast such a rare combination in a player.

What are the Huskies getting? - After watching Haley develop first hand for several years now, he's a top notch playmaker, delivering sizzling, precision passes with ease. His ball handling skills are excellent, especially for a player with his length and is expected of a player who has run the point his entire basketball life.

As a scorer, Haley has matured rapidly in the last year. He's effective weaving through traffic and finishing at multiple angles or powering down dunks in transition. Physically speaking, his footwork has caught up with the rest of his rapidly growing body, and it wouldn't be at all surprising to see the baby faced junior-to-be add another couple of inches before arriving to Montlake. He's a bit of a twig at this point, and has plenty of work to do in the weight room. The added strength will help him finish stronger through contact, which is currently an area in need of improvement. Over the last year, he's gone from an unremarkable leaper to an above the rim threat with bounce, and he also moves well laterally.

As a shooter, Haley has some work to do. His stroke is solid, but he can drift and needs to shoot with a better base as he's often off balance.

Defensively is where he'll need the most work. He's an upright defender and easily beaten off the dribble by smaller players, though he has the length and quickness to eventually excel in that regard. Haley's path to early playing time at Washington will largely be dependent on his maturation and commitment to improving on the defensive end - especially important in light of the fact that he has aspirations to play point guard in college.

How does his commit impact Washington? - In terms of how he impacts Washington, his greatest gift is his versatility. Assuming he can add some muscle to his 180-pound, 6-foot-7 frame, he'll be a factor at any of the three guard positions and even potentially as a fourth guard in smaller lineups. Defensively, he's not going to be able to defend the Jahii Carson's of the world overnight, but should be able to match up with bigger guards and small forwards with no problem. His superb floor vision will allow him to direct the offense regardless of which position he plays, and he excels in the open court as well.

Forecasting his impact on the lineup at this point is challenging, as the Husky coaching staff still has scholarships to fill for the 2015 class. He'll be a factor immediately in 2016, assuming his defense improves between now and his arrival.

We can speculate, however. Andrew Andrews will have graduated by then and Nigel Williams-Goss will likely have departed for the NBA by that time, leaving Darin Johnson, Jahmel Taylor and second year players Dejounte Murray and David Crisp will be the only guards on the roster at that point.

Recruiting wise, figuring out Washington's scholarships for 2016 is an exercise in futility. The staff should anticipate anywhere from 4-6 open spots in 2015, three of which have already been filled. Speculation beyond the graduation of Andrew Andrews, Quevyn Winters, Jernard Jarreau, Gilles Dierickx would seem to indicate four open roster spots, though things are rarely that simple. They are currently circling 2015 forwards Juwan Morgan and Bennie Boatright, Eastside Catholic wing Matisse Thybulle, and have recently offered Haley's DRIVE teammate, center Matt Neufeld, who would actually be eligible in 2014.

The Huskies are also quietly making a run at former Seattle area phenom Alonzo Trier in 2015, though Arizona appears to be the leader.

At the very least, Haley's addition should rattle the cages of the local backcourt prospects Washington has offered for that class. Technically speaking, Washington has offers out to Keith Smith, JaQuori McLaughlin, Steven Beo, Payton Pritchard, Isiah Brown and a newcomer, DeJon Jerreau, who may also earn a ticket to the party.

Obviously they can't take them all. Pritchard is a long shot, and interest in Brown has cooled, but that still leaves Smith, Beo, McLaughlin, and potentially Jerreau vying for a limited number of spots. It will be interesting to see how Haley's commitment impacts the rest of Washington’s 2016 targets

The bottom line - Regardless, Coach Romar appears to have a gem of a player on his hands, and Washington’s recruiting momentum is white hot. Before Monday’s announcement, Haley had just received scholarship offers from Arizona and USC to go with other offers from schools like Memphis and Gonzaga. Washington needs to win these recruiting battles with top prospects to maintain relevancy, and Haley’s decision helps push UW’s momentum even more toward the top national programs.

Haley's commitment also cements their pipeline into British Columbia as the Huskies continue to scoop up the top players not just in the State of Washington, but the entire Pacific Northwest. With Tristan Etienne already on campus and Neufeld considering an offer to jump on board, the Huskies’ connection with Canada is stronger than ever.

Congratulations to Jermaine, and welcome to Husky Nation.

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