To say that the state of Alaska hasn’t produced a ton of basketball talent through the years would be an understatement – you can pretty much count on one hand the number of big-time players who’ve come from the state. Trajan Langdon. Carlos Boozer. Mario Chalmers. Kamaka Hepa, a former Top 50 recruit who just finished his first season at Texas. Maybe one or two more, but that’s really about it.
Even so, it seems as though we’ll all soon be able to add another name to the list: Daishen Nix. The five-star guard in the class of 2020 is originally from Alaska, moved to Las Vegas a few years ago and has now seen his college recruitment blow up in the last year or so because of it all. A point guard widely considered to be the best passer in this entire class, Nix is ranked in the Top 15 nationally by both 247 Sports and Rivals.com with virtually every school in America after him. That list ranges from some of the biggest programs in college basketball like Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona, Gonzaga and Kansas, to others like Maryland, Alabama and plenty more. At this point it’s hard to find many programs anywhere in America who aren’t interested in the 6’5 guard.
Nix spoke to KSR last week at the Pangos All-American Camp in Los Angeles, chronicling his wild journey. It all began in Alaska where he spent his childhood, before his family decided to move to Las Vegas. Ironically, the decision had little to do with basketball. His mom simply visited her cousin who lived in the area, and the family liked it enough that they decided to make the plunge.
One very nice side-effect however, is that the decision has unquestionably helped Nix’s basketball career.
“I think it [the basketball] is way better,” Nix said. “The competition is better.”
Asked how he likes living in Las Vegas, Nix laughed and said “it depends on the time of year,” as he’s still adjusting to those insanely hot Vegas summers. But again, from a basketball perspective the move has worked out well.
Nix was a relatively unknown player throughout the early portion of his high school career, before a strong summer last year launched him into the national spotlight and up the recruiting rankings. That continued this past season when he averaged 19 points, six rebounds and five assists per game at Trinity International High School in Las Vegas, and this spring, he was invited to a Team USA combine at the Final Four in Minneapolis. He also appeared at the Pangos All-American Camp earlier this month, an event which featured virtually every big-time player across high school basketball.
In terms of his recruitment, Nix’s wide-ranging list of schools reflects a player who is still just now starting to get comfortable with all the attention. As of right now 247 Sports doesn’t have a single Crystal Ball prediction in his recruitment, and his offer list seems to expand by the day. Schools like Maryland and Alabama were perceived to be early favorites, while in the last few months, more traditional powers like Kansas, Arizona and Gonzaga have gotten into the mix. Nix just took an unofficial visit to UCLA last week, and Washington is another emerging West Coast program who Nix says he’s been in touch with.
Then there’s Kentucky. While they haven’t officially offered Nix yet, they visited him a few months back. And he liked what he heard from assistant coach Joel Justus.
“He liked my passing, getting my other teammates involved, getting everyone involved on my team,” Nix said. “He also talked about my shooting, my defense is getting better. I liked that [the constructive criticism].”
So that’s the good news on Nix, as his star continues to rise. The bad news is that for any school hoping to get a commitment from him soon, well, good luck.
Nix said that as of right now he doesn’t even have a formal list, and probably wouldn’t even begin to cut things down until the middle of his senior season. While he said that he doesn’t plan to wait until the last minute like Cole Anthony or Jaden McDaniels, Nix probably won’t commit until the spring.
Ultimately that’s not really all that surprising though.
From Alaska to Las Vegas and a rise up the recruiting rankings, Nix’s journey is just getting started.
And it will be fascinating to see where it all ends up.
Below is some video of Nix, and here are some other 2020 prospect profiles:
Johnny Juzang (before he committed)