2019 five-star power forward Jaden McDaniels has never been one to eat up attention or go out of his way to make headlines for anything outside of basketball. Even when it comes to basketball, he doesn’t like talking about his recruitment, he doesn’t goof off around his teammates, and he really doesn’t try to be flashy.
He goes about his business, makes as much of an impact on the court as he can, and moves on. Nothing more, nothing less.
At the Jordan Brand Classic Media Day, reporters huddled around McDaniels to ask the ever-popular question about his recruitment: When is a decision coming and where will that be?
Even with the signing period opening on April 17, the 6-foot-11 forward is still more than willing to push it all the way to the May 15 deadline in a little less than a month.
“I’m still just taking my time and taking it slow,” he told KSR this afternoon.
Other than the obvious required signing deadline in May, is there any personal deadline or or specific timetable on the table to make a final decision?
“No, I really don’t…” he said.
A man of many words, he is not.
When asked if he had an update on his final five schools or wanted to cut his list even further before making a decision, McDaniels said he didn’t and that he was pretty content with those five.
The final schools in contention? Kentucky, Washington, San Diego State, Texas, and UCLA.
“Coach Cal, he’s a real good dude,” McDaniels said of his significant interest in Kentucky. “He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear, he just keeps it real.”
As for the hometown Washington Huskies, the perceived co-favorite with the Wildcats, the five-star forward said that playing in front of his friends and family is definitely a positive for him.
“With Washington, there’s nothing better than being at home,” he said. “I have a really good relationship with (assistant coach Will) Conroy, love the staff there.”
For Texas, the draw there is to play for head coach Shaka Smart.
“Texas, I had a real good time there on my visit,” he said. “(Shaka) Smart, he’s not going to tell you what you want to hear, he’s going to get on you too.”
With his brother, Jalen, playing for San Diego the last two years, he said that he’s very comfortable with the Aztecs because he has visited there so many times.
“San Diego State, it’s like a big family because my brother went there,” he said. “I always go down there to visit and stuff. I feel like I’m comfortable there too.”
While the first four schools McDaniels rattled off each seemed to be in solid position, his thoughts on UCLA really didn’t seem to indicate they had much of a shot at all.
“And then UCLA, I had a good relationship with Steve Alford, but he’s not there anymore unfortunately…” he said. “But they’re still in my five.”
After competing in the Jordan Brand Classic tomorrow, McDaniels will then head to Philadelphia next weekend to compete in the Iverson Classic, his final high school event of his career.
From there, McDaniels will head home and come up with a plan moving forward over the next few weeks. As much as he’s wanting to wait it out and make a decision at the last possible minute, the clock is ticking.