Arizona State lands top-10 senior Josh Christopher

Jeff BorzelloESPN Staff Writer3 Minute Read

Top-10 senior Josh Christopher announced his commitment to Arizona State on Monday, becoming the Sun Devils' highest-ranked ESPN 100 recruit since at least 2007.

Christopher chose Arizona State over a final group that included Michigan, UCLA, USC and Missouri.

A 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Mayfair High School in Lakewood, California, Christopher is one of the more explosive offensive players in the 2020 class. He's ranked No. 10 overall in the ESPN 100, slotting in as the No. 2 shooting guard in the country.

The projected 2021 first-round NBA draft pick put up big numbers on the Nike EYBL circuit last spring and summer, averaging 21.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists for Vegas Elite.

Christopher had a whirlwind recruitment that included a number of schools seemingly taking the lead. Kentucky was considered the favorite for Christopher in the summer, but the Wildcats landed commitments from five-star perimeter players B.J. Boston and Terrence Clarke, essentially taking themselves out of the mix for Christopher.

UCLA seemed to be in the driver's seat in the fall, but the Bruins began to fade, and in January, Shareef O'Neal, Shaq's son and Christopher's friend, announced his intent to transfer. Christopher also has family ties to Missouri; his cousin is the director of athletic performance for the Tigers.

Michigan entered the mix last summer, when Juwan Howard took over for John Beilein as coach. Christopher included the Wolverines in his final five and took his official visit to Ann Arbor in late November. Buzz started to grow in late January that Howard might have positioned Michigan as the favorite for Christopher's commitment, and down the stretch, it was an Arizona State vs. Michigan battle.

Arizona State was a constant in Christopher's recruitment because his brother, Caleb, plays for the Sun Devils. But while coach Bobby Hurley's program was thought to be a factor in Christopher's recruitment since early in his high school career, it was rarely regarded as the clear-cut favorite, despite Christopher's official visit in January.

Hurley reacted to the news late Monday on Twitter.

Christopher is the second commitment of the 2020 class for Hurley, joining ESPN 100 small forward Marcus Bagley, the younger brother of Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III. Arizona State also landed a pledge from Portland State transfer Holland Woods last week. Woods, a first-team All-Big Sky guard, averaged 17.7 points and 5.2 assists last season and hopes to be eligible immediately next season.

Christopher is the first top-10 prospect to commit to Arizona State since the ESPN recruiting database started in 2007. He is the highest-ranked prospect to pledge to the Sun Devils since James Harden committed in 2007. Former Arizona State guard Luguentz Dort was rated as a five-star prospect in the 2018 class, but because he played high school basketball outside the United States, he wasn't in the ESPN 100 rankings.

Christopher is a noted Kobe Bryant fan. He wore a No. 2 jersey in his first game after Bryant's death, in honor of Kobe's daughter Gianna, and he has a "Mamba" tattoo on the inside of his wrist.

Arizona State was the first team left out of the first edition of ESPN's Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings. The Sun Devils are expected to bring back at least three starters from the 2019-20 team that finished 20-11 and was on the verge of a third straight NCAA tournament appearance. Starting point guard Remy Martin entered his name in the NBA draft but could withdraw and return to Tempe for his senior season. If Martin decides to come back, Hurley will have one of the most explosive perimeter units in the country.

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