UK Recruiting

Five-star basketball recruit Jaden McDaniels picks Washington over Kentucky

Top 2019 target Jaden McDaniels talks about his love of basketball

Jaden McDaniels, 5-star 2019 recruit our of Federal Way, Washington, was named The News Tribune's 2019 All-Area Player of the Year.
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Jaden McDaniels, 5-star 2019 recruit our of Federal Way, Washington, was named The News Tribune's 2019 All-Area Player of the Year.

Five-star basketball prospect Jaden McDaniels has committed to Washington, picking the hometown Huskies over Kentucky, the program that he once referred to as his “dream school” while growing up in Seattle.

McDaniels, who has largely shied away from the recruiting process despite being one of the best prospects in the 2019 class, announced his commitment late Tuesday night local time — and about 1 a.m. EDT Wednesday — with a series of photos on Instagram and a simple message: “Sorry for the wait.” The final photo on his social media post showed McDaniels wearing a Washington Huskies uniform.

He was one of the final five-star players in the 2019 class to make a college commitment, and speculation over his recruitment had reached a fever pitch this spring, especially among fans of the top two schools on his list.

McDaniels — a 6-foot-10 forward — also had San Diego State, Texas and UCLA in his final five, but his recruitment had been framed as a Washington vs. Kentucky battle for the last few months. UK appeared to reach frontrunner status a couple of weeks ago — picking up several predictions from national recruiting analysts — but the hometown pull won out in the end, and McDaniels will join a Huskies’ class that already includes fellow McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Stewart, a top-five player in the 2019 class.

McDaniels is the No. 8 overall prospect in that group, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He averaged 23.3 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game this past season and was one of the top performers on the Nike circuit a year ago, averaging 19.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during that league’s regular season.

Kentucky has the No. 2-ranked recruiting class in the country — behind only Memphis — with commitments from Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney, Keion Brooks, Johnny Juzang and Dontaie Allen, along with a pledge from incoming graduate transfer Nate Sestina.

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