The early signing period for high school basketball players opened today and several local players officially committed to a college by inking their name on a national letters of intent.
The group was headlined by Shaqquan Aaron’s commitment to Louisville. Aaron is a 6-foot-7 forward from Rainier Beach High School who is rated a four-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. Scout.com ranks him the No. 11 overall small forward in the nation.
“Louisville’s a great program,” Aaron said. “Obviously, they’ve won a national title. Coach [Rick Pitino’s] a Hall of Fame coach. He’s going to get me ready to play at the next level. The fans are crazy, the arena’s one of the top arenas in the nation. I’m excited.”
Aaron said he had been getting calls from college coaches trying to change his decision up until Wednesday and was relieved to be done with the recruiting process.
As a tall and athletic wing, Aaron is talented enough to create his own shot or be a playmaker off the dribble according to Rivals.com. One of the big knocks on Aaron is his lack of strength. But he said today that he put on 10 pounds over the summer and is not worried about his frame.
On a side note, Aaron was putting his shooting ability from outside on display before he signed his letter of intent. Mindlessly shooting with a teammate about 15 minutes before the ceremony, Aaron easily stroked around 10 3-pointers in street clothes. The teammate finally prodded him to shoot left-handed, and he almost made that one.
The full interview from Aaron is posted below, but first here is a quick look at other local players to sign collegiately.
Eugene Artison Jr. (Franklin): The 6-foot-8, 185-pound forward signed with Fresno State. A three-star recruit by Scout.com, Artison reportedly had interest from Cal and Oregon State. Artison had given his verbal commitment to Fresno State about a week before the signing period opened.
Josh Martin (Bothell): Martin signed with Minnesota after also considering Florida State and Pittsburgh. Martin was named to the KingCo 4A Second Team last season in his first year at Bothell after transferring from Seattel Prep. Martin is a 6-foot-8 forward. Here is a story from the Star Tribune after Martin gave his verbal commitment in September.
Tramaine Isabell (Garfield): Isabell is expected to sign with Washington State tomorrow. The 6-foot-1 guard will play his senior season at Garfield after transferring from Lakeside. He will enroll in prep school for a year after completing high school according to Cougfan.com. Isabell averaged 19 points, five assists, five rebounds and five steals per game last year.
Jason Todd (Jackson): The reigning Washington Gatorade Player of the Year signed with Portland today. The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder averaged 21.5 points and 10.8 rebounds last season in leading Jackson to the state championship game. You can read Portland’s official release with more information about Todd here and our post last season after he won the Gatorade POY here.
Jacob Lampkin (O’Dea): Lampkin is one of two area players to sign with Pacific today. The 6-foot-8 forward/center averaged 15.2 points and 10.0 rebounds for O’Dea last season.
Kaleb Warner (Mercer Island): Warner will join Lampkin at Pacific. The 6-foot-6 guard/forward played on the same Emerald City Basketball Academy AAU team with Lampkin and averaged 16.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game a season ago for Mercer Island.
You can read about both Lampkin and Warner here in Pacific’s official release.
Will Ferris (Newport): Ferris signed to play with Eastern Washington. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard averaged 15.1 points per game as a junior and was named to the 4A KingCo second team. You can read more here.
A few local girls basketball players also signed with colleges today, headlined by Stanford-bound Brittany McPhee and UW signee Kelli Kingma.
Brittany McPhee (Mount Rainier): McPhee is the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Washington and was the state’s most coveted recruit. You can read about her decision to sign with Stanford in a blog post Sandy Ringer wrote here.
Kelli Kingma (Jackson): The younger sister of former UW star Kristi Kingma, the 5-foot-9 point guard is the 63rd-ranked player at her position in the nation according to ESPN. You can read about Kingma here.
Myzhanique Ladd (Cleveland): Ladd is one of two Cleveland players to sign collegiately today and will be playing at San Jose State.
Makala Roper (Cleveland): Roper signed on to play at UC Santa Barbara next year. Here is what ESPN has to say about Roper:
“Very solid guard player with a lot of strength. Nice pull-up jumper and will get to the rim and finish with both hands through contact. Sets up defenders well with change of pace and will continue to improve as she grows into her body.”
And finally, here is a transcript of our interview with Shaqquan Aaron after he signed his national letter of intent to play for Louisville.
On if it is nice to get the signing out of the way: “Relieved. I can focus on the season now. There won’t be any other coaches really trying to contact me now, trying to persuade me to go to their school. Now all focus is on this senior year. Trying to win another state title.’
On if he ever wavered after giving verbal: “Not really. When I chose Louisville last year, I chose them for a reason. I looked into it. I just didn’t pick a school because I thought it was cool. When I picked Louisville, Louisville was on their slump. They lost those four or five games in a row. At the time I thought about it and I thought it was a great decision.”
On what was attractive about Louisville: “Louisville’s a great program. Obviously, they’ve won a national title. Coach [Rick Pitino’s] a Hall of Fame coach. He’s going to get me ready to play at the next level. The fans are crazy, the arena’s one of the top arenas in the nation. I’m excited.”
On if the local ties of Peyton Siva and Terrence Williams played a role in decision: “Pey is considered, Pey is like family to me now. His dad, I’m really close with him. All those Somoans, they’re all cool with me. We’re all like family now. T-Will, obviously went to Rainier Beach, he comes up here and says what’s up to us sometimes, so I’m cool with him. Other than that, I’m proud to be part of the family. I’m really close with a lot of the guys up there already.”
On what he needs to improve upon before getting to Louisville: “Really what I need to improve upon was gaining weight, but that’s not really a factor anymore because I’ve been gaining weight. Really what Coach P told me, I have all the skills, just keep working on those skills, keep producing them and I’ll be … that next stage, I’ll be ready to step in, playing at the next level. Other than that, that’s pretty much it.”