It’s Washington: Top-5 recruit Isaiah Stewart picks Huskies over Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky

Percy Allen

The Seattle Times

It’s Washington: Top-5 recruit Isaiah Stewart picks Huskies over Duke, Michigan State, KentuckyIsaiah Stewart, the Huskies’ top 2019 recruiting target, is going to play at Washington next season.

Stewart, a 6-foot-9 and 245-pound forward from Rochester, N.Y., made the announcement Sunday night on ESPN.

He chose UW over Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky and Syracuse.

Landing the 5-star prospect, who is the No. 5 overall recruit in the country according to ESPN, is a huge recruiting coup for the Huskies and coach Mike Hopkins.

“Me and Coach Hopkins go way back from when I was a freshman,” said Stewart, who is playing his final prep season at La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind. “I’m a big relationship guy and relationships played a major role in my recruitment. He’s a coach that I trust to push me hard and help me accomplish my goals.

“I’m looking forward to going there, winning games, being a sponge and soaking up everything and just working my hardest.”

Stewart is a projected as a top-10 pick in the 2020 NBA draft and would likely play just one season at Washington.

Last year, Stewart averaged 18.0 points and 11.1 rebounds for the Albany City Rocks on the Nike EYBL circuit, while shooting 57.0 percent from the field.

Stewart won a gold medal last summer for USA Basketball with the U17 World Cup team, averaging 11.1 points and 8.4 rebounds in Argentina.

During his second year with the Huskies, Hopkins, the longtime Syracuse assistant, has landed three New York-area prospects, including Nahziah Carter and Hameir Wright.

“A lot of people were saying he was going to take the head job at Syracuse, but coach Mike Hopkins, he was different,” Stewart said. “He wanted to go out west and start his own legacy. And that’s the type of player I am. I’m a different type of player. I take my own path. I like to work hard and prove people wrong.”

With Stewart in place, Washington potentially becomes a more attractive destination for Federal Way star Jaden McDaniels. He’s ranked No. 6 on ESPN’s top 100 list and is reportedly considering the UW, San Diego State and Kentucky.

“Since I’m committed, I plan on going after Jaden McDaniels,” Stewart said. “We trying to build something out there. … If we get him, man, game-changer.”

Last November, Washington signed 2019 guards RaeQuan Battle and Marcus Tsohonis. Since then, the Huskies added 5-star Kentucky transfer Quade Green and Stewart.

Next season, the Huskies starting lineup could include guards Jaylen Nowell, Carter and Green alongside Stewart and McDaniels.

Nowell may forgo two years of eligibility and leave early for the NBA draft.