Stanford Finalizes Deep 5-Man Class

    
November 18th, 2009

STANFORD, Calif.- Stanford men's basketball head coach Johnny Dawkins has announced the signing of five incoming student-athletes to national letters of intent. The group will join the Cardinal for the 2010-11 campaign.

The class is recognized as one of the best in the country, currently ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation by Rivals.com and No. 13 by Scout.com. According to Rivals.com, Stanford's recruiting class ranks as the best in the Pac-10.

The class includes: Aaron Bright, a 5-11, 175-pound guard from Bellevue, Wash., (Bellevue HS), Anthony Brown, a 6-7, 190-pound guard/forward from Huntington Beach, Calif. (Ocean View HS), John Gage, a 6-10, 210-pound forward/center from Vashon Island, Wash. (Vashon Island HS), Josh Huestis, a 6-8, 210-pound forward from Great Falls, Mont. (C.M. Russell HS) and Dwight Powell, a 6-10, 215-pound forward from Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy).

"We are excited about these five individuals and their families joining our basketball family and the Stanford community," said second-year head coach Johnny Dawkins. "During the recruiting process, we built great relationships with this group as players, but even more importantly as people. They will represent Stanford University in a first-class manner both on and off the court. They all have an amazing support system. This class will certainly provide a strong foundation and become an integral part of our program's success."

Bright is currently ranked as the No. 135 player overall by Rivals.com and offers the Cardinal a true floor general. A four-year letterwinner, he guided Bellevue High School to a third-place state finish as a junior, earning first team all-state and league MVP honors. Bright was also named team MVP last year, averaging 18.0 points and 7.0 assists per game. He was tabbed a first-team all-league selection and all-state honoree as a sophomore, following up a second-team all-league freshman campaign.

"Aaron is the type of point guard that everyone would love to have the fortune to play with and call him a teammate," said Dawkins. "He has a magnetic personality and makes everybody around him better. Aaron is also a very good long range shooter who has the ability to stretch a defense."

"The chance to play for Coach Dawkins attracted me to Stanford," said Bright. "I felt that the coaching staff would help take my game to the next level. And at the end of the day, I would have the opportunity to earn a Stanford degree."

Brown checks in as the No. 7-ranked small forward, No. 41 player overall and a four-start recruit by Scout.com. A three-year letterwinner, Brown was named CIF Southern Section Player of the Year and a first-team all-state pick as a junior. In 2008-09, he guided the Seahawks to a CIF Southern Section championship and state runner-up finish. Brown averaged 14.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game last year, while being named league MVP. A first team all-league recipient as a sophomore, he led Ocean View High School to a quarterfinal finish.

"Anthony is a versatile perimeter player who we believe fits perfectly with our style of play," said Dawkins. "With Anthony's size and skill set, he can contribute at all three perimeter positions. We are really looking forward to working with Anthony and his continued development."

"I expect to work hard, on and off the court," said Brown. "I am excited to be part of this great class. It's a dream to play Pac-10 basketball at Stanford."

The third member of the 2010 class, Gage is ranked No. 17 among centers by Scout.com and will add depth to the Stanford frontcourt. A three-year letterwinner, Gage led Vashon Island High School to a state championship as a junior, averaging 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Along the way, he garnered league MVP and team MVP honors while being named a First-Team All-1A State selection. One year earlier as a sophomore, Gage was honored as the league MVP.

"John has great potential and is actually a year young for his class," said Dawkins. "He has a weapon in that he is a tremendous shooter, especially for his size. John hasn't played nationally to the extent of a lot of other high school players, and we believe him to be a big sleeper as a result."

"The opportunity to receive a first-class education and be a part of this great recruiting class attracted me to Stanford," said Gage. "I am excited to be a part of next year's team."

Listed as the No. 21-ranked small forward by Scout.com, Huestis is another impressive post player who is expected to contribute at either the 3 or 4 positions. As a junior, Huestis averaged 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game to lead C.M. Russell High School to a 21-2 record and the Class AA state title. Named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Montana and tabbed the state tournament MVP, Huestis also earned AA All-State and Great Falls Tribune Super State honors. During his sophomore season, he earned first team all-conference, all-AA tournament and second team East All-State honors.

"We started recruiting Josh later in the process, but he has been somewhat of a late bloomer and flew under the radar nationally," said Dawkins. "He is very athletic, and we believe his best basketball is ahead of him. Josh is developing into more of a perimeter player, and we look forward to helping him make that transition."

"Stanford was the perfect fit for me," said Huestis. "It presents the perfect blend of academics and athletics, and both are very important to me. I am proud to be a part of this class, and look forward to playing with such great players."

The impressive class is rounded out by Powell, ranked by Rivals.com as No. 7 among power forwards, No. 23 overall and rated as a five-star prospect. Originally from Toronto, Powell made the move from Canada to Bradenton, Fla., where he has prepped at IMG Academy the past three years. This past summer, Powell was one of two high school players invited to train with the Canadian National Team.

"Dwight is a very versatile forward that we also believe fits perfectly with our style of play," Dawkins said. "With his ability to play all over the court, he can be a constant matchup problem for opposing teams. Dwight reminds me of some of the most versatile players I have been able to coach, and we are excited to utilize and enhance his talents."

"Everything about this decision felt right, so I knew Stanford was the perfect fit for me," said Powell. "The combination of world-class athletics and academics was too hard to pass up. I liked the environment and felt comfortable with the coaching staff."