With last night's news that 4*, national top-100 SF Ishmail Wainright gave his verbal pledge to Scott Drew and the Baylor Bears, you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from Baylor fans everywhere not exactly used to going this late in the recruiting season without a big fish. We've become spoiled by Scott Drew's successes on the recruiting trail to the point that those successes are not expected rather than lauded. It's certainly understandable given the talent Baylor has brought in recently, but it's not altogether rational; Drew was bound to have a down year recruiting and we'd just have to weather the storm. Everyone not named Calipari does at some point.
But that may not be this year anymore. One of the star recruits Baylor brought in to last week's Moonlight Madness gave his much-anticipated commitment last night after being rumored for several days to be close. Fans were told that if it wasn't publicly announced by Friday they should be worried. I think we came in about two hours ahead of that deadline.
The recruit I'm talking about is Montrose Christian Academy's Ishmail Wainright, a 6-6 shooting forward who graces all of the national top-100 lists that matter and is considered by any measure one of the best players in the country. He chose Baylor out of a final four that included rival Texas, Ohio State, and St. John's and an offer list with such names as Duke, Florida, Kansas, and UCLA. Wainright was actually committed to hometown school Missouri at one point before re-opening his recruitment, and this commitment thankfully came on the even of a scheduled trip to Austin this weekend for an official visit. That visit will now not occur. Instead he joins fellow 4* Johnathan Motley in Baylor's 2013 recruiting class, and he in turn will probably be joined by at least one, if not two or three, more recruits.
According to the ESPN Insider ($$) story about his commitment, Wainright cited his faith as one of the major reasons he chose Baylor:
"Psalm 37:23: 'the steps of a good man are ordered by The Lord and he delighteth in his way'", Wainright told ESPN.com. "Also proverbs 3:5 and 6: 'Trust in The Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.' He directed me."
ESPN has Wainright as the #26 player in their 2013 Top 100 while other services are a bit less bullish. 247Sports puts him 60th, Rivals 50th, and by 247's composite rankings of every service, he's 45th. His strengths appear to be finishing plays at the rim and in transition, on-ball defense, and passing in the open court. ESPN calls him a "tremendous" defender on the ball with great size and strength for his position. If he has a weakness it is his jump shot, he apparently varies his release point considerably and is prone to extended bad streaks. From all accounts, it sounds like we just acquired a bigger, slightly more polished version of Deuce Bello.
I'll update this thread throughout the day with tidbits from scouting reports, reactions from twitter, and other news about the Wainright commit. For now, check out this highlight video courtesy of Youtube.