Huskies men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar spoke with reporters today about the five players UW signed during the first day of the early national letter of intent signing period on Wednesday. Here is what he said, including some effusive praise of five-star prospect Michael Porter Jr., the son of UW assistant coach Michael Porter Sr.
(On one overall charateristic for this class) “I think from top to bottom, you’ll find the guys are athletic. They all have something special that they are able to do. The thing about this class is that there were no throw ins. There were no Plan Bs or Plan Cs. These were all guys we targeted or came across later in the recruiting process that expressed a high level of interest in the University of Washington, and it just so happened that they really fit in with what we were trying to do. All of that works itself out.”
(On Daejon Davis committing, then decommitting, then commiting again) “Daejon’s mother told him early in the process she would really like him to go look around first. She really wanted him to have something to compare each situation to. He had been around this program, he had been around so much. He felt he knew enough about this place to make a decision. He came up and took an unofficial (visit) and we showed him around more in-depth on what was going on, and he decided, ‘I want to do this right now.’ Still, they wanted him to look around at first. Wasn’t sure if he wanted to stay in Seattle or leave Seattle, then he jumped up and made a decision. As time wore on I think he really started to reflect on that decision and really consider what his mother was talking about. And that’s when he decided, ‘you know I should probably just look around.’ That’s how we see it. And he did it, and he always maintained that he still really liked the University of Washington, although there may have been certain times where he wavered a little bit. But when it was all said and done, this is what he wanted to do. He wanted to stay home and play for the Huskies.”
(On Jaylen Nowell) “Jaylen is a bucket-getter. He can go out and he can score. He has mid-range game, he can shoot the three, he can go to the basket and finish with either hand. We also think he can be a high-level defender as well. Jaylen is used to winning basketball games. He’s been very successful in the win column his whole life. He will bring that here to the University of Washington. He’s one of the local kids that takes great pride in potentially playing for the Huskies when he eventually gets here, and that’s always a plus. He’s a guy that score with any combination of players on the floor. He could have four point guards out there with him, got four big guys out there, whoever you put him with, he’s going to find a way to make baskets. You don’t just limit him to a guy that can just make baskets. He’s a basketball player, has a high-level IQ. Just knows how to make plays. Knows what position to be in, knows where that ball is coming off the offensive side, knows how to get it, how to read it. Just finds ways to score.”
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(On Michael Porter Jr.) “I’m going to describe it by just stating the facts with no emotion. He’s 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10 … He is as good a shooter as anybody we’ve ever had – C.J. Wilcox, Tre Simmons, Ryan Appleby, those type of guys. He shoots the ball with that type of consistency, with that type of range. He can get the ball of the floor and bring it in transition and make the right play. I don’t mean in the open court. I mean with guys running at him trying to steal the ball from him. He can be elusive and get the ball past them and make the right play. Very good rebounder. He finishes well. He’s one of the best scorers at this level that I’ve ever seen right now, and I’ve been watching high school basketball for a long, long time. I don’t know if I’ve seen many, if any, score the ball better than he’s able to score. Very, very smart basketball player. Really knows how to play the game. He’s rangy. He’s long. He can go defend just about anywhere on the floor. He’s just a special, special talent.”
(Is he the best player you’ve ever recruited?) “Markelle Fultz is pretty good. They are so different. I’d say those two. Markelle’s a 6-4 point guard that does unbelievable things on the floor, but Mike is 6-foot-9 and people will look at him and say he’s got to be a power forward or something. Nope. He’s a guard. He can do just about anything he wants on the basketball floor. That’s pretty special. We haven’t recruited many guys like that. Definitely anyone over 6-6, for sure.”
(On Blake Harris) “Blake Harris is very unique. First of all, he’s very, very underrated. Very underrated. When you think of guys that have come through here before in the past that maybe didn’t get a whole lot of notoriety, and then when they were finally here -- wait a minute, why didn’t we know about this guy? He’s one of those guys that is much better than I think the people that rank him and scout him say he is. He has blazing speed with the basketball. I don’t know if we’ve had anybody faster than him with the basketball. He’s an absolute jet, but when he’s coming at you he’s seeing the entire floor. You’ll find that when he’s playing with guys on the floor, all of a sudden they are moving all over the place because they know they are going to get the basketball. They are running maybe harder than they would when someone else has the ball because they know they are going to get the basketball. He puts so much pressure on the defense because he’s so fast with the ball. If you don’t stop the ball, he’ll get to the basket. He’s so athletic (that) he’ll just take off and dunk the ball over the top of people even though he’s 6-2, 6-3. If you step up at all, that ball is passed. Some guys make the pass, but they don’t make it at the right time. He delivers the ball at just the right time. He has very quick feet so he’s able to move defensively and apply pressure to the ball like we like. He has good genes, his dad played ... Bernardo played for the Green Bay Packers and the Ravens, played in the NFL. He’s going to be fun to watch. With us playing up-tempo, he fits in just right because of his ability to push the ball and find people.”
(On Mamoudou Diarra) “He plays what we call the ‘baller’ position. He’s just a hooper. He’s 6-foot-9, he can literally guard five positions on the floor. He has a high motor. I believe he’s going to be a fan favorite. If we remember Bobby Jones how he hard he played and hustled and he put out fires. Sometimes he’d guard three players in one possession. Mamoudou is like that. But Mamoudou is very skilled with the basketball. He’s a very good passer. He can penetrate at 6-foot-9. 7-foot-3 wingspan. He likes to play hard and he’s very competitive. We’re going to have a lot of fun coaching him.”