Highly touted point guard recruit TyTy Washington has taken the next step toward finding his college basketball destination, and Kentucky is still in the picture.
As promised, Washington announced his six finalists this weekend. As expected, UK made that list. The Wildcats’ competition for the player who has become the most coveted high school point guard recruit in the country will be Arizona, Baylor, Kansas, Louisiana State and Oregon.
Washington — a 6-foot-3 playmaker from Arizona — backed out of a commitment to Creighton last month following the racially insensitive comments of Coach Greg McDermott, and he immediately emerged as one of the most heavily recruited players in the 2021 class.
Kentucky extended a scholarship offer to Washington last week — on the same day as national champion Baylor — and UK Coach John Calipari has been in regular contact with the star prospect as he searches for more point guard help for the Wildcats’ 2021-22 roster.
Washington is the No. 31 overall recruit in the 2021 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, but he’s expected to rise on that list — possibly into five-star territory — once the senior class rankings are finalized later this spring.
Few players enjoyed a better high school season than Washington, who averaged 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists per game, earning Arizona player of the year honors from MaxPreps.com and leading AZ Compass Prep to a 27-1 record and a spot in the Geico Nationals, the de facto national championship tournament for high school basketball teams. Compass Prep advanced to the semifinals of that event, losing to eventual national champion Montverde Academy (Fla.).
Montverde also defeated Compass Prep in overtime in January, the only team to beat Washington’s squad all season.
Earlier in the Geico Nationals tournament, Washington faced off with Kentucky point guard signee Nolan Hickman, tallying 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while leading his team to a victory over Hickman’s highly ranked Wasatch Academy (Utah) team. Hickman, a Seattle native, is longtime friends and competitors with Washington and has been actively recruiting him to Kentucky over the past few days, a good sign for the backcourt dynamic if Washington does indeed pick the Wildcats.
There is no timetable for Washington’s final college decision, but he’s expected to move relatively quickly now that he has narrowed his list to six schools. He is not expected to wait for the end of the NCAA’s current recruiting dead period, which expires June 1, meaning he will make a college commitment without being able to take an official visit to Kentucky or any of his other finalists.
UK’s three high school signees — Hickman, power forward Daimion Collins and small forward Bryce Hopkins — are expected to arrive on campus for summer school and offseason workouts June 1.
The Cats are clearly looking to add another point guard for next season, something that was expected even before the recent departure of Devin Askew, who has transferred to Texas. That point guard addition was expected to come from the NCAA transfer portal, but Washington would give Kentucky another intriguing freshman playmaker for next season to pair with Hickman, and both players are projected to be instant-impact point guards in college.
Though new names are emerging on a regular basis, UK’s other top point guard option appears to be Minnesota’s Marcus Carr, but he will explore his NBA Draft opportunities before deciding on whether to play another season of college ball, so any transfer decision from Carr is likely months away. College players have until July 7 to remove their names from draft consideration, and the NBA Combine doesn’t start until June 21.
In addition to earning state player of the year honors from MaxPreps.com, Washington was also named one of five first-team All-Americans by the website. The other four players to make that team are all ranked in the top 15 nationally (including UK signee Daimion Collins).
There are no predictions yet on Washington’s 247Sports Crystal Ball page, though that could change soon, now that the star point guard has narrowed his list of college options.