Washington was always a long shot to land all-star 2014 prospect Zylan Cheatham so it comes as little surprise the Huskies missed out on the 6-7 forward who verbally committed to San Diego State on Saturday night during the 15th annual Arizona Preps Fall Showcase in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Cheatham, who was also considering New Mexico, would have been the prize of a two-man class that includes Tacoma small forward Donaven Dorsey and Canadian power forward Tristan Etienne.
Cheatham is considered a four-star prospect by the three major recruiting sites. Rivals ranks him 73rd on its top 150 list. ESPN.com has him at 87 on its top 100 list and Scout lists him at 16 among the nation’s top power forwards.
“To Lorenzo Romar, I love you, I love that staff, but I felt like this was the best option for me,” Cheatham said during his press conference. “I felt really good about it and trusted coach (Steve) Fisher.”
Washington plays at San Diego State on Dec. 8. The teams will likely meet again during the 2014-15 season with Aztecs and Cheatham playing at Alaska Airlines Arena.
It’s another big swing and miss for the Huskies who whiffed on several high-profile recently including Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon, Oregon fifth-year senior Mike Moser and California freshman Jabari Bird.
However, losing out on Cheatham is different.
The Huskies finished second and likely third to a pair of Mountain West teams because New Mexico was considered the favorite. However, San Diego State pulled off the upset and assembled arguably its greatest class in school history. SDSU has emerged as a west coast powerhouse under Fisher. The Aztecs are one of six teams to land three recruits on ESPN’s top 100 list. The others include Louisville, North Carolina, Ohio State, Georgetown and Maryland. Washington doesn’t have one.
The Huskies don’t t have an obvious opening on the 2014-15 roster, but they were going to create a spot for Cheatham. It remains to be seen if UW pursues another high-school recruit or transfer after the early signing period Nov. 13-20 ends. The regular signing period is April 16-May 21, 2014.