Point guard Harris becomes Washington’s second 2017 commit

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With four-star shooting guard Jaylen Nowell having already committed and elite forward Michael Porter Jr. viewed by many as a player well within reach, Washington is off to a good start when it comes to the 2017 recruiting class. Things got even better for Lorenzo Romar’s program late Monday night, as point guard Blake Harris announced via his Twitter account that he will attend Washington.

A native of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the 6-foot-3 Harris attends Word of God Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina and plays for the CP3 All Stars team on the Nike EYBL grassroots circuit. The addition of Harris gives Washington additional depth on the perimeter, something they’ll need if highly regarded freshman Markelle Fultz is as good as advertised, and he’s a good distributor of the basketball as well.

Among his highlights this spring/summer was a poster dunk over five-star 2017 forward Billy Preston, with Preston suffering a broken finger in attempting to block the shot.

Washington likes to play an uptempo style in which their players get into the opposition defensively, resulting in turnovers and open-court opportunities for their perimeter options, and Harris should fit in well given his skill set.

Washington announces addition of former Utah commit

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Monday afternoon the Washington basketball program announced the addition of a 6-foot-6 guard who at one point in time was poised to play against the Huskies in the Pac-12.

Harold Baruti, who committed to Utah in mid-May, has joined Lorenzo Romar’s program. Baruti’s addition gives Washington another option on the perimeter, which is a positive for a team that uses a lot of players in their uptempo system. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Baruti attended Mountain Mission School in Grundy, Virginia.

Baruti de-committed from Utah just over two weeks ago, with the Salt Lake Tribune reporting at the time that his application for admission was submitted after the school’s deadline for international students.

As a result Utah loses a perimeter newcomer and Washington gains one, moving the Huskies’ 2016 recruiting class up to four. McDonald’s All-American guard Markelle Fultz leads the class, with Baruti, wing Carlos Johnson and center Sam Timmins being the other new arrivals in Seattle.

Pac-12 all-star team to tour Australia in July

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While the majority of summer tours in college basketball consist of teams making the trek overseas (or to Canada) together, there are all all-star teams put together to represent a conference or some other entity. The Pac-12 has put together an all-star team of sorts in recent years, and on Tuesday they announced the 12-member squad that will visit Australia to play three games in early July.

Two of those games will be played against the Australian men’s national team, which will be preparing for the Summer Olympics to be played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August.

The coaching staff will be led by Mike Montgomery, who led the programs at both Stanford and California before retiring in 2014, with former Stanford head coach Trent Johnson and former Stanford players Casey Jacobsen and Brevin Knight serving as his assistants. Ten of the conference’s 12 teams will be represented on the roster, with Oregon (which has some players hoping to reach the Olympics for other countries) and UCLA being the teams without a player making the trip.

Also of note for Oregon is the fact that they’ll be taking a summer trip to Spain in August, so their players are already set up for a busy summer.

Arizona and Oregon State will each have two players on the roster, with Kadeem Allen and Chance Comanche making the trip representing Sean Miller’s program and Drew Eubanks and Stephen Thompson Jr. doing so for Wayne Tinkle’s program. Of the 12 players two earned honorable mention all-conference honors (USC’s Jordan McLaughlin and Washington State’s Josh Hawkinson), and Colorado’s Wesley Gordon was a Pac-12 All-Defensive Team selection.

Below is the full roster, and the team is scheduled to depart for Australia from Los Angeles July 7.

G Kadeem Allen (Arizona)
C Chance Comanche (Arizona)
G Tra Holder (Arizona State)
G Stephen Domingo (California)
F Wesley Gordon (Colorado)
F Drew Eubanks (Oregon State)
F Stephen Thompson Jr. (Oregon State)
G/F Dorian Pickens (Stanford)
G Jordan McLaughlin (USC)
G Lorenzo Bonam (Utah)
F Matisse Thybulle (Washington)
F Josh Hawkinson (Washington State)

Five-star 2017 forward Porter Jr. releases top five schools

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As one of the top players in the Class of 2017, 6-foot-8 small forward Michael Porter Jr. has been on the receiving end of attention from many high-major programs. Monday night Porter, a native of Columbia, Missouri who’s ranked second in the class by Rivals.com, revealed his top five schools at this point in time.

The five schools that made the cut (in alphabetical order): Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Virginia and Washington.

"Top 5 Top 5 Top 5" 🙏🏽 #Blessed

A post shared by Michael Porter Jr. (@m1chael_porter) on

Of the five schools on Porter’s list Missouri and Washington may be the most interesting given the family connections. Not only is Missouri the hometown school, but Porter’s older sisters Bri and Cierra are members of the women’s basketball team.

And one of the assistants on that coaching staff was Porter’s father, who earlier this spring joined Lorenzo Romar’s staff at Washington. The elder Porter isn’t the only Washington connection either, with Michael’s younger brother Jontay being a commit in the Class of 2018.

Former UNLV signee commits to Washington

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With McDonald’s All-American Markelle Fultz and center Sam Timmins having signed, Washington added a third player to its 2016 recruiting class Thursday evening in the form of guard Carlos Johnson. News of Johnson’s signing with Washington was announced by the school.

As he’d already signed a National Letter of Intent with UNLV, Johnson only signed the grant-in-aid with Washington. The rule is that prospects are only allowed to sign one NLI during the recruiting process (there’s no such rule for the grant-in-aid agreement).

Johnson attended Findlay Prep, and with his skill and athleticism should make for a good fit for the uptempo style that Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar prefers. His addition gives the Huskies another piece on the perimeter, with the team having lost guards Andrew Andrews (graduation) and Dejounte Murray (NBA Draft early entrant) at the end of last season.

Johnson joins a backcourt that’s expected to be led by Fultz, with sophomore David Crisp also in line for minutes. On the wing the Huskies welcome back three options from a season ago, including rising sophomore Mathysse Thybulle. With Johnson’s ability to play either the two or the three, Washington has another versatile option to call upon on the perimeter.

In addition to the three freshmen, Washington will also add Auburn transfer Matthew Atewe to the mix next season. The 6-foot-8 power forward sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules.

No. 8 Oregon holds off Washington 83-77 at Pac-12

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LAS VEGAS (AP) Chris Boucher had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 8 Oregon withstood a late flurry to hold off Washington 83-77 in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals Thursday.

Top-seeded Oregon (26-6) built an 11-point lead midway through the second half, but Andrew Andrews brought the Huskies back with a quick scoring flurry. The senior guard scored 10 of his 19 points during the run, helping eighth-seeded Washington (18-14) pull within two late.

The Ducks held, though, hitting four free throws in the final 33 seconds to earn a spot in Friday night’s semifinals against No. 15 Arizona or Colorado.

Elgin Cook scored 19 points, Tyler Dorsey 17 and Dillon Brooks added 15 for the Ducks.

Marques Chriss scored 19 points for the Huskies.

The Ducks closed the regular season strong, winning their final five games for their first conference title since 2002. One of those finishing wins was against Washington on Feb. 28, when Cook scored 26 points in the 86-73 victory.

The Huskies put a dent in their NCAA Tournament hopes by limping to the finish, but kept a glimmer of hope alive with a rout over Stanford in the tournament’s opening round.

Washington got off to fast start against the Cardinal and kept rolling against Oregon, hitting 10 of its first 13 shots – four of those 3s – to go up 26-14.

Oregon was ragged early, forcing shots and passes in traffic, riling coach Dana Altman with numerous defensive breakdowns.

The Ducks settled down and started flying, harassing the Huskies into difficult shots, scoring in transition after turnovers and misses during an 11-0 run that helped them take a 39-38 halftime lead.

But after all the 3-pointers and soaring dunks, the second half turned into a defensive wrestling match, with bodies hitting the floor nearly every trip.

The Ducks gained a little separation midway through, when Dorsey hit a 3 and Dwayne Benjamin scored on a three-point play to put Oregon up 64-54.

Andrews brought the Huskies back. He hit a pair of 3-pointers and turned a steal into a pair of free throws that cut Oregon’s lead to 71-69 with 5 minutes left.

Washington kept the Ducks within reach from there, but never could catch them.

TIP INS

Washington: David Crisp, who made just four 3-pointers February, had three in the first half. … Dejounte Murray and Malik Dime had 13 points each.

Oregon: Boucher became the first player in Pac-12 history with 100 blocked shots and 30 3-pointers in a season. … The Ducks had a 46-33 rebounding edge.

WHAT’S NEXT

Washington will have to sweat out Selection Sunday to find out if it will get an NCAA Tournament invite.

Oregon will face No. 15 Arizona or Colorado in the semifinals Friday night.