SEATTLE -- California prep standout Darnell Gant was added to the group of players who signed letters of intent to attend the University of Washington, fifth-year men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romar announced Thursday.
A 6-foot-8 forward from Los Angeles, Calif., Gant helped Crenshaw High School to a 21-5 record last season. Crenshaw posted a 9-1 record in league play.
“We’re just excited to have Darnell in our program. He’s a great kid,” said Romar. “We’ve got a 6-foot-8, athletic forward here that has a really good touch. He can shoot the basketball from the outside, can really run the floor and is another guy that can guard multiple positions.”
Gant came on strong during the end of his junior prep season and he was impressive during spring and summer tournaments. Those performances dramatically raised his recruiting stock and he vaulted to the No. 1 position on Scout.com’s ranking of West Coast power forwards.
“He just has so much upside that I think people recognized that and began to give him a little notoriety,” Romar explained. “Darnell is one of those players that when you watch him run up-and-down the floor and watch him shoot the ball, right away he grabs your attention.”
Gant was listed at the No. 12 prospect in the Best in the West poll conducted by the Long Beach Press-Telegram. He is the nation’s No. 50 recruit in ratings published by USA Today. Gant is listed No. 85 in the national rankings produced by PrepStars.
Gant is the third player to commit to Washington, joining a pair of athletes who signed their letters of intent Wednesday. Matthew Bryan-Amaning, a 6-9 forward from South Kent (Conn.) School was ranked No. 34 nationally by USA Today and 6-6 forward Justin Holiday from Campbell Hall (Calif.) High School was No. 23 in the Best in the West poll.
“We’re extremely pleased with this class,” Romar concluded. “It has been a five-year building project and this class gets us close to where we have as solid of a foundation as we need to have here in this program.”
The trio of stellar recruits is another boost for a Washington program that brought in classes rated among the nation’s best in each of the previous two years. UW is coming off three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including back-to-back Sweet 16 berths. The Huskies registered a 26-7 record last season, finishing second in the Pac-10 for the third straight season with a 13-5 conference mark.
The early signing period continues through Nov. 15. After that time, prospects can’t sign letters of intent until the late signing period that runs from April 11 to May 16.
Washington begins its 2006-07 regular-season schedule on Sunday, Nov. 12 as host of the three-day Basketball Travelers Classic. The Huskies open the four-team tournament at 7:30 p.m. against Pepperdine at Bank of America Arena. Northern Iowa and Nicholls State meet in Sunday’s opener at 4:30 p.m.
2007 Washington Men’s Basketball Letter of Intent Signees
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Forward, 6-9, 220, Surrey, England (South Kent School, Conn.)
Darnell Gant, Forward, 6-8, 210, Los Angeles, Calif. (Crenshaw)
Justin Holiday, Forward, 6-6, 180, Chatsworth, Calif. (Campbell Hall)
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