Another player transferring out of UW men’s basketball program

The path is now cleared for the Huskies to sign their entire recruiting class

SEATTLE — Washington Huskies sophomore guard Bitumba Baruti will be granted his release from the team, a university spokesman told The News Tribune on Tuesday.

He becomes the second player to transfer from UW in the last 24 hours, joining freshman guard Michael Carter III who announced Monday evening he would also leave the program. Between Baruti, Carter and sophomore guard Carlos Johnson transferring in late March, it gives the Huskies three transfers.

Baruti’s departure was a widely-expected move that should be the final transfer for the Huskies. The 6-foot-6 guard, who is from The Democratic Republic of Congo, played high school basketball in Virginia. He was a three-star prospect who also had offers from Utah and Utah State. Baruti averaged 0.6 points in 17 games in his freshman season under then-coach Lorenzo Romar.

A year later, he did not log a single minute under first-year coach Mike Hopkins which signaled Baruti was set to transfer at the end of the year.

Baruti’s transfer is the final domino to fall in UW’s race to free up the scholarships necessary to potentially sign its entire five-member 2018 recruiting class.

Sorting out its scholarship situation was one of the issues plaguing UW going into the offseason after the team finished 21-13 and reached the NIT second round under Hopkins, who was named the John R. Wooden Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

The Huskies had three early signees with four-star small forward Jamal Bey, three-star point guard Elijah Hardy and three-star power forward Nate Roberts. UW also has an additional two players who are committed but have not yet signed with four-star forward Bryan Penn-Johnson and three-star forward Ed Chang.

Wednesday marks college basketball’s National Signing Day when players can sign their National Letter of Intent. Players will be allowed to sign through August 1 should they want to enroll prior to the 2018-19 season.

UW’s class is rated by 247 Sports to be the No. 5 class in the Pac-12 Conference and the No. 27 group in the nation.

Hopkins and the Huskies entered the offseason accounting for at least seven scholarships. The team returns senior point guard David Crisp, sophomore shooting guard Jaylen Nowell, senior guard Matisse Thybulle and junior center Sam Timmins. UW also brings back sophomore guard Nahziah Carter, senior guard Dominic Green and sophomore forward Hameir Wright.

The Huskies are waiting to see what happens with forward Noah Dickerson. An All-Pac-12 selection, the former four-star prospect declared in late March for the NBA Draft but chose not to sign with an agent to retain his eligibility. Dickerson, or any player who explores their draft options, have until June 11 to decide if they want to enter the draft or go back to school.

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