Guard Yates kick-starts Washington’s 2023 class

Top-40 recruit Wesley Yates committed to Washington on Wednesday, giving coach Mike Hopkins a huge boost entering a crucial season for the Huskies.

Yates chose Washington over LSU, Texas, Auburn, Arkansas and Stanford.

“Coach Hop and staff have made me a priority,” Yates told ESPN. “He is an energetic person who is full of passion, and his passion is real. Coach Hop treats his players so well off the court, and that is important. He gets the best out of his guys. I want to play for him.”

Yates, whose father was born in Seattle, also has family connections to the Huskies: His cousin is Quincy Pondexter, the former Washington star who is now an assistant coach on staff.

“He has played where I want to go,” Yates said of Pondexter. “He has given me some great advice that has helped my game. He has helped me simplify the game. I took out a lot of extra dribbles. It’s not about dribble moves, it’s about reading the game. Situation basketball. He has made the game easier for me.”

A 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Beaumont United High School (Texas), Yates is ranked No. 37 in the ESPN 100 for the 2023 class. He slots in as the No. 10 player at his position.

Yates averaged 16.2 points and 3.2 rebounds on the Nike EYBL circuit last spring and summer. His overall body strength is impressive, and it allows him to effectively absorb contact and finish plays.

His skill level took another step over the summer. Yates shot better than 50% inside the arc and was effective in transition, although he shot below 30% from 3-point range. He gets to his spots off the bounce without getting bumped off the ball, and his shooting range is deep with noticeable body balance and touch on his midrange jumper. Yates handles the ball with power but needs to attack the rim more and create fouls.

Yates is Washington’s first commitment in the 2023 class. The Huskies are coming off their third straight season without an NCAA tournament appearance, but there is optimism in Hopkins’ program due to the addition of transfers Keion Brooks Jr. (Kentucky), Noah Williams (Washington State) and Franck Kepnang (Oregon).

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