There is something to be said about keeping the best talent at home. Our staff takes a look at most important in-state signings in the West for the class of 2021.
It’s not a secret the depth of talent year in and year out coming out of the state of California. And it’s not a secret that UCLA can go and get some of that elite level talent and keep them hom.
Long Beach wing Peyton Watson is the highest rated Californian to commit to UCLA during the Mick Cronin era. When the Bruins were at their very best, they’ve had terrific in-state talent on the team. Watson should give the team the dynamic type of player that we’re talking about here.
Watson has a terrific first step and can make shots. He’s a good defender and versatile enough to play multiple spots on the floor. Of the five-star commits in the class of 2021, I think he’s the most understated one in the bunch.
Tad Boyle and staff have a terrific group coming to campus in the 2021 class. Landing the state’s best senior Julian Hammond. The 6-foot-2 guard had a great junior year, posting 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists a game.
The two-sport athlete was also the starting quarterback for his team’s 2019 state title squad. Ironically, he isn’t the only two-sport star joining the team. Oregon native Drew Carter is a CU football recruit who is also planning on joining the basketball team.
Dating back to 2010, there have been 20 players from Bishop Gorman that have gone on to a Division I school, according to the 247 Sports database. Only two have gone to Bishop Gorman. Stephen Zimmerman picked UNLV in 2015 and Demetris Morant did in 2012.
Enter Zaon Collins. The Las Vegas native is now the third player since 2010. Neither Zimmerman or Morant played longer than a year for the Rebels. Collins is a talented unifier of talent and should be the perfect guy at the college level in the similar role. He’s battle-tested and brings big game energy to the lineup.
The state of Oregon doesn’t produce too many high-level basketball prospects. And when the state does yield a high-level player, the national programs come a knocking. Look back at the last decade and a half. Kevin Love went to UCLA. Kyle Singler went to Duke. Terrence Ross and Terrence Jones both left the state in Kyle Wiltjer left a year later. Landon Lucas left for Kansas.
However, Payton Pritchard stayed home in 2016. The West Linn point guard has proven to be one of the most important in-state recruits in college hoops over the last decade.
Take a look at Nate Bittle in 2021. He’s a monster recruit for the Ducks. Absolute monster.
Sure, Bittle is now in Napa at Prolific Prep. But he’s still an Oregon native. The Southern Oregon star left Crater HS to compete for the Bay Area national power. So far, he’s been the MVP of Prolific’s squad this fall. He’s shined for coach Mark Phelps and has consistently produced.
Pair Bittle’s high basketball IQ with Dana Altman’s smarts and you have a scary pair. The Ducks add all kinds of athleticism and skill at the other positions. Bittle should thrive at Matthew Knight Arena just like Pritchard did. That’s a high standard.
Potter turned down some heavy hitters, including an offer to Nebrask, to stay home and be a part of Mark Madsen’s program. The in-state big man is an important score for the long term growth of what the Wolverines are trying to accomplish.
After two years of a church mission, Potter could come back and be a big, strong and hard post player to guard as a freshman. He’s a terrific finisher and a producer in the paint. Don’t be surprised if he becomes one of the best players in the WAC.
The Zags recruit all over the world and the Huskies of Seattle, more times than not, score the top international prospects that come over to the United States to play NCAA ball. And they’ll land good players from their own state.
But Perry may be a different kind of in-state recruit. The Battle Ground, WA native is 365 miles away from Spokane but an important in-state recruit. He’s a top 45 ranked player in the country in our eyes and one of the most athletic players in the class.
He has a frame that should thrive with strength and conditioning at the college level. Perry has a chance to develop into a Thomas Robinson type of player in college and beyond. You could argue he’s the best in-state recruit for the Zags in over a decade. Maybe even the best coming out of high school since Adam Morrison.