Report Card: Breaking down the early signings in the Pac-12
The dust has settled on the Early Signing Period, and while some Pac-12 programs cleaned up, others have more work to do in the spring.
Corey Evans breaks down the Pac-12’s best and worst of the early period.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Arizona was surrounded by FBI rumors just months ago and many believed that Sean Miller would not make it past April. Instead, not only is he still the head coach in Tucson, but he also has put together one of the best classes in the country. Josh Green and Nico Mannion are the gems of the class and the abilities of Terry Armstrong, a top-60 wing, and Christian Koloko make for a big-time infusion of talent. Just a few days after the early signing period ended, the Wildcats added top 40 big man Zeke Nnaji to edge ahead of USC in the team rankings.
Where to start with USC? The Trojans are not only sitting with the second ranked class in the Pac-12 but, better yet, the No. 2 class in America. They checked every box with five-star bigs Onyeka Okongwu and Isaiah Mobley, along with rangy and versatile wings in Max Agbonkpolo and Drake London, and a playmaking lead guard with Kyle Sturdivant. Andy Enfield is giving the USC faithful plenty of reasons for optimism moving forward.
After years of dominating the rankings, UCLA's recruiting efforts have fallen off and the Bruins' 2019 class sits outside of the national top 25. They do have solid additions in Jaime Jaquez and Grant Sherfield, but the elite prospects have yet to say yes to the Bruins. They have already missed on five-star center Will Baker, and though they are in the final groups for Jaden McDaniels, Trayce Jackson-Davis and Cassius Stanley, none is a done deal for UCLA.
Washington could achieve a program first next spring. The Huskies are a favorite for five-star forward Jaden McDaniels, and the same could be said for Isaiah Stewart. They already notched the commitments of Rivals150 wing RaeQuan Battle and three-star guard Marcus Tsohonis. Completing the class with two top-six prospects would be icing on the cake and give the Huskies the chance for league supremacy over the next few seasons.
Arizona signed two five-star guards that head to Tucson with great chemistry already as Josh Green and Nico Mannion played alongside each other on the travel circuit the past two summers. Four-star Terry Armstrong brings further scoring and Christian Koloko boasts a high ceiling. By adding Zeke Nnaji a few days after the signing period, the Wildcats have moved to the front of the 2019 rankings
Arizona State: C+
The Sun Devils snagged the commitment of Jaelen House early in the process and he brings an entertaining flair and a penchant for scoring. Top junior-college guard Alonzo Verge will help in the backcourt, too, each enjoying the high-tempo system that Bobby Hurley implements.
Charles Smith was a one-time Rivals150 prospect that could regain the proper footing and excel. He will be aided by three-star guard Joel Brown and ever-improving big man D.J. Thorpe, a three-man group that should help right away.
Tad Boyle has yet to make a move in the 2019 class, one of the few power conference programs that remain with a goose egg in the commitment column this fall. The Buffs will only lose Namon Wright off of this year's team, which is the primary reason for why things have been so silent in Boulder.
Oregon needs to replenish its frontcourt and the Ducks have begun to patch together things in a timely manner. Wednesday, they landed a gem in five-star C.J. Walker. He will be joined by versatile forward Chandler Lawson and elite junior college shooter Chris Duarte next fall. Four-star center Isaac Johnson is also an Oregon commit, though he won’t enroll until the fall of 2021 as he will take a two-year LDS-mission next year.
Oregon State: C+
The Beavers have not made much commotion of late as most of their work was done earlier in the year. They notched the commitments of a great shooter in Jarod Lucas, a tough-nosed playmaker in Gianni Hunt and a versatile wing in Julien Franklin.
Tyrell Terry is the face of the class in Palo Alto where he is primed to take the reins of Stanford’s offense and make others better. James Keefe is also in the hopper as the Cardinal continue to land quality talent.
A three-man group it is for the Bruins, but they remain in the hunt for a few others in the frontcourt. Jaime Jacquez is an elite glue-guy, while shot-making wing Jake Kyman and tough lead guard Grant Sherfield are also expected at UCLA next year.
The smorgasbord of talent in tow this fall for the Trojans is the best that the program has ever seen in one specific class. Each is a member of the Rivals150 and each comes in the four-star variety or better. Isaiah Mobley and Onyeka Okungwu are the biggest wins for USC as both will give a helping hand immediately upon their enrollment next fall.
Larry Krystkowiak continues to place a heavy value on the top talent within the state as Matthew Van Komen and Rylan Jones are ready to place the Utes among the elite in the Pac-12. Finnish forward Mikael Jantunen will bring some toughness and further depth to Utah’s frontline.
The Huskies have two guard commitments, the top being Rivals150 guard RaeQuan Battle, a shot-making and athletic prospect from the area. Marcus Tsohonis will pitch in where he can but this is more about the what-if regarding UW's top two remaining targets, Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels.
Washington State: Incomplete
Washington State has yet to make a move within the 2019 class, just like Colorado, but the Cougars need a major talent infusion if they want to escape the basement of the league.