If Sean Miller takes Arizona to the Final Four this year, the new answer to the question, "Who is the best coach without a Final Four appearance?" will become crystal clear... Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar. Romar is one of the most under-appreciated coaches in the country for his consistently great recruiting.
Though Romar's great recruiting has yet to translate to a Final Four for the Huskies, 2015 may very well be his best class, and best Final Four chance, yet.
Unlike most of the other classes we've looked at in these rankings, Washington's has six players, so there's no room to sign anyone else. What you see is what you get, here. They're right outside the top 10 on 247Sports at #11 in the country. Let's take a closer look.
Murray, a four-star shooting guard out of Seattle, Washington, is the best player in the state of Washington in this class. That's something Lorenzo Romar's always exceeded at: getting the best player in the state to come to his program. Murray, who was recruited by nearly every west coast program, has drawn comparisons to LA Clippers star Jamal Crawford, and if you watch him, it's easy to see why. For example, in December he dropped 52 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in his school's home opener (video below). With Arizona's incredible class (more on them next week) coming in next season, Pac-12 teams are going to need all the scoring they can get, Murray is definitely a good start for Washington.
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Chriss, a four-star power forward out of Elk Creek, California, wrapped up his recruiting process relatively early. He took an official visit to Washington on January 10, 2014. By January 13, he had committed to the program. There was a fair amount of interest in Chriss from all over the country, including Arizona State, Boise State, UCONN, and more schools. Undoubtedly, Romar & Company would like Chriss to put on a little weight before he gets to Seattle. He stands at six-foot-seven but only 190 pounds. If he put on 15-20 pounds, he'd be a force to be reckoned with. Below is his mixtape from this past summer. Chriss says he models his game after Rudy Gay, see if you agree.
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Crisp, a four-star point guard, originally from Seattle, Washington, is the second best player in the state of Washington and was Dejounte Murray's teammate before playing his senior season at the famed Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. Guys like Crisp and Chriss show what Lorenzo Romar was really trying to do differently this season than in years past. They both committed to the program in January 2014. In the past, Romar would wait until summer or early fall to try and secure commitments from guys that played in the McDonalds All-American Game instead of trying to get prospects earlier. He changed it up for this class, and, on paper, it's worked out very well for him.
Back to Crisp, he had offers from Nebraska, Boise State, and Texas A&M, but obviously with committing in January, his recruiting process was finished early on. It's worth pointing out that when he committed to Washington, he was a two-star player on ESPN and a three-star on Rivals. He's now a four-star on 247Sports, so his game has really grown over the past 12 months. Below is his tape from the NBA Top 100 Camp this past summer.
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Thybulle, a four star small forward out of Bellevue, Washington is the third-best player in the state in this class. So, in typical Lorenzo Romar fashion, Washington has the three best players in the state coming to join their program next season. I wrote, at length, about Thybulle when he initially committed to the Huskies right here. Check it out.
Dime, in addition to having one of the coolest names in college basketball, is a four star power forward, and also a JuCo transfer. He is originally from Sengal and has spent last season and this season playing basketball at Iowa's Indian Hill Community College. The Seattle Times did a fantastic Q&A with Dime when he committed to Washington, which you can find right here. In addition to Washington, Dime was also heavily recruited by Iowa State, Arkansas, and Rutgers. He's only been playing basketball for a couple years, so he's still very raw. As I often say in these recruiting posts, "You can't teach size". So you'll grab as many six-foot-ten guys as you can and hope to develop their skillsets based on their size.
Below is a video of Dime from last season.
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Finally we get to Duruisseau, a three-star power forward from Sylmar, California, now playing at the Fishburne Military Academy in Virginia. Duruisseau originally committed to San Jose State, but over the summer he re-opened his recruitment and Lorenzo Romar pounced. Duruisseau's high school coach called him "a poor man's Pau Gasol" because "He can play inside out and is very skilled" High praise.
Below is a video of Duruisseau from over the summer.
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