Basketball: Miami Hurricanes signing class gets a ratings boost

Chris Lykes (left) and Deng Gak. (UM)

Chris Lykes (left) and Deng Gak. (UM)

The best recruiting class in Miami history just got better.

Well, sort of.

ESPN boosted its ratings for each of the Hurricanes’ three high school signees in 2017. That moved Miami’s class up to No. 7 nationally, its highest-ever ranking by the outlet.

Shooting guard Lonnie Walker, a McDonald’s All-American, jumped one spot to No. 18 on ESPN’s list. Point guard Chris Lykes (No. 46) moved up seven. Power forward Deng Gak (No. 92) climbed two places.

UM also has New Zealand forward Sam Waardenburg, who is already on campus. He is considered a four-star talent who could have cracked the rankings, but ESPN includes only North American high school players in its top 100.

ESPN’s take on the class:

The Hurricanes were already in good shape with a pair of ESPN 100 products on board in Chris Lykes and Deng Gak while they simultaneously built their pipeline into the Australia and New Zealand corner of the world with a commitment from Samuel Waardenburg, who is expected to join the team at mid-year. But a commitment from five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker punctuated Jim Larranaga’s best recruiting class yet. Wardenburg was one of the biggest International standouts from last summer’s Adidas Nations event and is a skilled 6-foot-9 forward who specializes in shooting the 3 and spacing the floor. Lykes may be just 5-foot-6, but he is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the country with the ball in his hands and certainly won’t be bad for season ticket sales. Gak is an undeniable talent, yet more of a long-term option, who should grow into an impact player down the road. Walker is the gem as he is a big guard who can make shots in bunches from behind the 3-point line and is an athletic playmaker in the open floor.

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