After snapping WSU’s nearly decade long conference tournament drought, and earning a bid to the cancelled CBI, head coach Kyle Smith and his staff have signed the 3rd best recruiting class in the Pac-12, the 29th nationally, according to 247Sports. The class recieved a major bump when recently signed recruit Andrej Jakimovski saw his ranking increased from a three to four-stars.
Jakimovski joined the class due to the belief that programs will be allowed to carry a 14th scholarship player on the roster due to COVID; but with Marvin Cannon entering the transfer portal and CJ Elleby still being declared for the NBA draft — the deadline for Elleby to withdraw his name has not passed yet — there could still be an open scholarship slot for one of the top international recruits…even if the NCAA doesn’t give program’s a 14th scholarship in 2020-21.
The small forward from Macedonia played in the Italian league’s second division on an amateur contract, but saw very little action in the pandemic shortened season. But in his time on the court during FIBA’s U18 Euro B (Europe’s second division championship tournament) he averaged 18.4 points per game.
The other two four-stars in this class are Carlos Risario (0.9378) and Dishon Jackson (rated 0.8951). Jackson has turned in his letter of intent, while Risario is listed as a “hard commit”.
Even the three-star recruits on this class are arguably better than any other recruiting class for WSU men’s basketball since the rankings have been tracked. With TJ Bamba (0.8800), Efe Abogidi (0.8800), and Jefferson Koulibaly (0.8678) being some of the highest rated prospects to come through WSU’s program in a long time — the closest to this class would be the 2008 class, which was led by future NBA hall of famer Klay Thompson, De Angelo Casto, and Marcus Capers.
Ahead of Washington State in the Pac-12 recruiting rankings are Stanford (10th best class nationally, 2nd in conference) and Arizona (fifth best class nationally, 1st in conference). While arch-rival Washington’s two transfers (and no freshmen due to the size of last year’s class) are rated at 0.9443 and 0.8856 respectively. The other Pacific Northwest schools sit at 93rd (Oregon State with three recruits) and 98th (Oregon with one recruit).
The only other sport, that I can think of, at Washington State to earn a recruiting class similar to this was Washington State’s women’s soccer on the heels of its College Cup appearance last season. Smith did this after finishing at .500 and snapping a long drought in the conference tournament.