No power forward prospect in the country is more highly touted than Federal Way (Wa.) product Jaden McDaniels, and on Monday night, Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns took a significant step towards potentially earning his pledge.
A five-star prospect from just south of Seattle, McDaniels announced his top five schools and Texas still remains firmly in the mix, alongside Washington, Kentucky, San Diego State, and UCLA.
Top 5❗️ pic.twitter.com/q4IdqZ2kdW— Jmac (@Jmcdaniels7) September 25, 2018
McDaniels also holds offers from Arizona, Kansas, and Oklahoma, which were each left on the outside of his recruitment looking in.
Despite the close proximity to the Huskies and the presence of blue bloods such as the Bruins and Wildcats, it’s Texas and San Diego State that currently stand as the frontrunners, per his Crystal Ball, with each owning two projections. Rivals also has Texas as the consensus favorite, although McDaniels hasn’t publicly named an outright leader.
Meanwhile, San Diego State remains a factor as McDaniels entertains the idea of playing along side his brother, Jalen, at the collegiate level.
Generally speaking, though, information regarding McDaniels’ recruitment has come few and far between, as he has played his recruitment close to vest.
What is well known, on the other hand, is what makes McDaniels, who recently exploded up the rankings to No. 4 nationally en route to the top spot at his position, such an intriguing prospect. 247Sports analyst Evan Daniels recently dissected McDaniels game, via the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“When you look at him, you see his physical makeup. His size for the position. The length, the athleticism, how fluid he is,” Daniels said. “And then it’s the developing skill set that allows him to take guys off the dribble, that allows him to grab rebounds, that allows him to see the floor and make jump shots from mid-range out to three. I think he’s solid across the board. But if he turns into a knockdown shooter and continues to develop his footwork and offensive ability, we’re looking at a guy with the upside of a No. 1-type prospect in the class. I think his ceiling is that high. There’s a ways to go to reach that, but I think he has that level of talent.”
Unsurprisingly, at whichever program McDaniels ultimately picks, he’s expected to become a one-and-done, with NBADraft.net projecting him to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Thus far, Smart’s first two full recruiting cycles on the Forty Acres have netted a five-star one-and-done big man in Jarrett Allen (2016) and Mohamed Bamba (2017), and his 2018 class saw Texas add a Team USA U-18 member in Kamaka Hepa.
Will McDaniels be the one to continue that trend in 2019?