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Marquette Makes Three More Class Of 2022 Scholarship Offers

The Golden Eagles continue to work on new head coach Shaka Smart’s first official recruiting class.

Marquette v Xavier Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Jaret Valencia

247 Sports currently lists Valencia as a 6’8”, 175 power forward. The native of Colombia is attending Legacy School of Sport Sciences in Spring, Texas, which is just a little bit north of Houston. He is currently regarded as a three-star prospect by the 247 Composite system, which has him ranked at #164 in the country. That makes him the #33 power forward in the recruiting class and #17 amongst prospects in the state of Texas. When you consider 1) Texas is huge and 2) there are 12 top 100 prospects in the recruiting class in Texas, coming in at #17 isn’t too bad at all.

Creighton is one of the five high major programs that has already issued an offer to Valencia, at least according to 247 Sports. They’re joined in the parade by Mississippi State, Rutgers, Houston, and Washington State. If you want to go ahead and toss San Diego State onto the pile of notable offers, feel free. Same for Loyola Marymount, as our old friend Stan Johnson is running the show out there.

I can’t seem to find anything resembling statistical information for Valencia at Legacy. This may have to do with the fact that he has a Hudl page that has him in highlights for Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Tennessee as recently as November of 2020. I don’t know exactly what’s going there in terms of Valencia’s change in schools, but I’m seeing tweets in Valencia’s own feed that mention Hamilton Heights in October, but by December 11, he’s involved with Legacy.

Kam Craft

I don’t know if we’re allowed to say that Craft is flying under the radar at the moment. 247 Sports has a page for him, listing him as a 6’5”, 180 pound shooting guard out of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. However, they don’t have a Composite rating or ranking for him at the moment, although their internal system has him as a three-star prospect. 247 shows eight total scholarship offers for him at this point, with seven of them coming from high major programs, including our old friends at Xavier and three programs in the Big Ten, including Iowa Hawkeyes.

However, the offer from the Hawkeyes, along with spots from NC State, South Carolina, and Texas Tech have all come since the beginning of April. Craft doesn’t have the official ratings and rankings to justify all of that at this point, but it’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before the recruiting services catch up to what the high major coaches actually think about him.

That’s the kind of thing you’d expect for a guy who averaged 27.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.9 steals per game for Buffalo Grove High School this past season. Oh, and he shot 41% from beyond three-point range and 87% from the free throw line. Oh, and he became the first Buffalo Grove player to ever be named to First Team All-State in Illinois’s Class 4A. Seems good.

Here’s a 12 minute video of Craft scoring 30 points in a game back in November of 2019. You’re watching #12 in white here, and be advised: There’s no Craft highlights in the first three minutes. In fact, his team falls behind big time early.

If you prefer something more current, here’s five minutes of highlights that was published earlier this month.

He also has a Hudl page, and the most recent thing published on it is a five minute long junior year highlight reel.

Jalen Washington

As you can see, Washington is the most recent scholarship offer coming from the east side of the McGuire Center. He’s also the new leader for Marquette’s most prominent scholarship offer since Shaka Smart took over. Washington is listed by 247 Sports as a 6’9”, 210 pound power forward hailing from Gary, Indiana. He is currently the #19 player in the Class of 2022 according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings. He is, obviously, a five-star prospect, the #4 power forward in the class behind Jarace Walker, Kijani Wright, and Sadraque Nganga, and the best player in Indiana by a narrow margin over center Vince Iwuchukwu (#24) at La Lumiere.

I don’t know if it means anything serious in particular, but we have to note that both Kam Craft and Jalen Washington included the tag for Meanstreets EYBL program in their announcement of their offer from MU. Obviously this means they play together for that club team, but it’s up in the air as to the significance of Smart issuing offers close together to two guys on the same club team. Does the fact that one guy is a tippity top prospect while the other is still trying to break through to national renown mean anything here? Who can say?

I have to presume that the list of offers for Washington according to 247 is only a partial list, but given the pandemic affecting how recruiting happens, I can’t say that for certain. In any case, we know for sure that Washington already has 13 high major offers before the Golden Eagles even get involved. The big names that jump off the page at you for either local ties or national exposure are Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, DePaul, and North Carolina.

MaxPreps is weird in terms of what they know about West Side Leadership Academy’s high school team. They show the Cougars going 22-5 this past season, but they only have seven games worth of stats for anyone on the team. For Washington, they only have six games, showing him averaging 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. It appears to be a senior-heavy squad, so that’s not terribly surprising, even with Washington having such a notable recruiting profile. I’m also not sure it’s 100% accurate. This article from the Northwest Indiana Times in January notes Washington scoring 23 points (with four three-pointers) in a win, as well as a 14 point, 10 rebound double-double in another recent game. Of course, it also says that outing was his first double-double of the season AND that Washington was “working his way back” after an ACL injury that happened before the start of his sophomore season.

Here’s a 10 minute highlight package from that 14/10 game, and he had four blocks, too. BE ADVISED: While you’re watching #13 in white, he doesn’t even touch the ball in the video until the 1:30 mark.

Here’s 90 seconds of highlights from late April:

And three minutes of highlights from early May:

He also has a Hudl page that’s stacked up with clips.

And now, the scholarship chart!

We’ve got one guard, albeit one on the bigger side of things at 6’5”, and two power forwards with new offers from Marquette here. You can never have too many guards on a roster in my view, and with Greg Elliott potentially leaving the next after the 2021-22 season, MU is in need of at least one guard to replace him. Kur Kuath will likely get as many minutes as he wants to play this coming season in the middle for Marquette no matter what Dawson Garcia decides to do about the NBA Draft, but he’s only going to be a Golden Eagle for one season. That leaves a whole bunch of currently inexperienced chaps as Marquette’s most likely rim protector for 2022-23, as Garcia is even more of a question mark for that campaign in light of everything. That’s where recruiting more power forwards comes in handy, especially a top prospect like Washington. Of course, depending on freshmen to have the physical strength to defend the rim against seniors in the Big East can be a big ask, but hey, these guys have more than a year of development to go before they would even play a collegiate game.