The week-long early signing period for college basketball doesn't get nearly the amount of attention that college football's National Signing Day receives every February, but it's nonetheless a significant week on the recruiting calendar for coaches. Months of observing players, campus visits and oral commitments lead up to Wednesday, when class of 2017 recruits are officially allowed to sign a national letter-of-intent with a college.
As usual, the Washington area will produce a number of Division I prospects this year. And while seven of the top 10 recruits in the country remain uncommitted, according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings, most of the top local prospects have already decided on a school since the summer basketball circuit ended in early August. But whose signing will carry the most weight? Here are six players to pay attention to this week, and potentially for years to come.
DeMatha G D.J. Harvey — Notre Dame
One of three DeMatha seniors expected to sign a national letter-of-intent this week (forward Josh Carlton is headed to Connecticut and guard Ryan Allen is orally committed to Delaware), Harvey's decision to commit to Notre Dame was not only significant because he's the highest-rated player in the area this year, according to the major recruiting services. He will also become the latest addition to the DeMatha-to-Notre Dame pipeline. Both Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey and associate head coach Rod Balanis are DeMatha graduates and former Stags standouts such as Sid Catlett, Adrian Dantley and Jerian Grant have all gone on to play for the Fighting Irish over the years.
Gonzaga G Chris Lykes — Miami
The reigning Washington Catholic Athletic Conference player of the year is one of three prospects from the area headed to the ACC next year, but that's not why he's an important signing. The 5-foot-7 Lykes might be the rare undersized recruit to have a huge impact at the high major level. A dynamic scorer and athlete, Lykes could thrive in the Hurricanes' pick-and-roll system in much the same way Shane Larkin did a few years ago.
Eleanor Roosevelt G Naji Marshall — Xavier
When Eleanor Roosevelt won its first state title under Coach Brendan O'Connell in 2013, none of the team's top players garnered high-major interest. But Marshall's recruitment was different, particularly over the past year when he emerged as a force locally and a top 75 recruit nationally while leading the Raiders to another state championship. Though he's spending this year at Hargrave Military Academy, Marshall is technically the highest-rated public school recruit in the area this year and his multidimensional skill set should make him a name to watch in the Big East for years to come.
Maret F Luka Garza — Iowa
The 6-11 forward should be a good fit in Iowa's system because of his ability to both shoot from the outside and play with his back to the basket. But Garza's signing is significant because he's the first Washington area recruit to sign with the Hawkeyes since former DeMatha guard Jeff Peterson in 2007. Garza also represents the rise of Maret boys' basketball as the rare (at least in recent memory) high-major basketball recruit from the Woodley Park private school.
H.D. Woodson F Antwan Walker — Georgetown
The Hoyas have long mined the Washington area for basketball talent and Walker will be Coach John Thompson III's latest local recruit. The two-time D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association player of the year elected to head to the Hilltop after spending a prep year this season at Hargrave Military Academy. Walker, a 6-foot-7 All-Met with a developing jump shot and athleticism to spare, will become the first Washington area recruit to sign with the Hoyas since Marcus Derrickson (Paul VI) in 2015. Former St. John's guard Tre Campbell is also on the current Georgetown roster.
O'Connell F Nate Watson — Providence
The 6-foot-8 Watson emerged as a force in the low block during his first season in the WCAC last winter and he continued that progress this past offseason. His commitment to Providence carries more weight because of what it means for the Friars coming off a season in which they won their first NCAA tournament game since 1997. Watson becomes the third top-100 recruit in three years to join Providence Coach Ed Cooley, and the first from the Washington area.
Other local Division I commits
G Ryan Allen, DeMatha — Delaware
F/C Josh Carlton, DeMatha — Connecticut
G Kyle Copeland, Tuscarora/Philips Exeter — Holy Cross
F Zion Cousins, Douglass — Howard
F Lewis Djonkam, O'Connell/West Springfield/Hargrave Military — Duquesne
G Anthony Duruji, St. Andrew's — Louisiana Tech
G Quinton Drayton, Bowie — Towson
G Reggie Gardner, DeMatha — North Carolina Central
G Deion Hammond, Riverdale Baptist — Monmouth
G Emanuel Hylton, St. John's — San Diego
G Jahlil Jenkins, Virginia Academy — Farleigh Dickinson
G Bryan Knapp, Jewish Day — Cornell
G Matt Lewis, O'Connell — James Madison
G George Mawanda-Kalema, Episcopal — Brown
G Jamir Moultrie, McNamara — La Salle
F Ejike Obinna, Virginia Academy — Vanderbilt
F Nana Opoku, Potomac (Va.) — Mount St. Mary''s
F Jamarko Pickett, Eastern/Massanutten — Mississippi
G Eddie Scott, Gonzaga — Pennsylvania
G Denmark Slay, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes — High Point
G Aaron Thompson, Paul VI — Pittsburgh
G Chyree Walker, Bullis — Delaware
G James West IV, Freedom-Woodbridge — Mount St. Mary's
G Jelani Williams, Sidwell Friends — Pennsylvania
G Tyler Williams, North Point — Howard
NUMBER CRUNCH: 9
Goals scored by the Gonzaga water polo team in its 9-8 victory over The Hill School this past weekend to win the Prep Easterns, an annual tournament featuring the top prep school water polo teams from the East Coast, for the second time. It was part of a banner weekend of athletics on Eye Street, as Gonzaga's football team beat St. John's, its soccer team upended longtime nemesis DeMatha in double overtime to capture the WCAC championship and its cross country team took home the D.C. State Athletic Association championship.
- Here’s The Post’s latest high school football top 20 poll ahead of the playoffs featuring Episcopal’s rise, Stone Bridge’s return and Maret’ debut
- Be sure to check out how our panel of local high school football coaches ranked the teams this week
- Prince George’s football notebook: With a new look up front, Potomac (Md.) powers into the playoffs
- District football notebook: Tyron Robinson is more than a fill-in quarterback for H.D. Woodson
- Montgomery County football notebook: Sam Pagella nabs two of Northwest’s four pick-sixes in win over Wootton
- Northern Virginia football notebook: Longtime rivals Lake Braddock and Robinson buckle up for first-round playoff matchup
- Loudoun football notebook: With a bit of good fortune, Loudoun Valley gets back to the postseason
- Anne Arundel football notebook: Broadneck earns another playoff meeting with undefeated Old Mill
- Howard County football notebook: Howard regains its confidence heading into the playoffs
- Flint Hill sweeps Holy Cross to win fifth consecutive Metro City volleyball title
- Patuxent, Glenelg see their seasons end in Maryland state field hockey semifinals
- We had a wild weekend of high school sports that decided championships and playoff fields. Here are the highlights
Here's the latest episode of AllMetSports Top Football Plays . ..
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Postseason soccer
It's Election Day, so there isn't much going on athletics-wise with most Washington area schools not in session. But The Post's Dillon Mullan will be at the Maryland 2A South girls soccer championship game between Calvert and Southern. Calvert has beaten Southern by a 1-0 margin in the region final the past two years. Follow Dillon on Twitter (@DillonMullan) for updates on the action tonight.
The D.C. State Athletic Association girls' and boys' soccer quarterfinals also get underway this afternoon. The championship games are scheduled for Saturday at Catholic University.