The present may look bleak for the Stanford men's basketball team at this moment in time. The future, however, brings the things that high expectations are made of.
While the final results won't be known for five years, the current group of five recruits who signed letters of intent has already been rated as one of the best in the country, ranked as high as No. 8 by Rivals.com and No. 13 by Scout.com.
Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins, known for his recruiting ability while an assistant coach at Duke, announced the class that includes Aaron Bright, a 5-11, 175-pound guard from Bellevue, Wash., (Bellevue HS), Anthony Brown, a 6-7, 190-pound guard/forward from Huntington Beach, Calif. (Ocean View HS), John Gage, a 6-10, 210-pound forward/center from Vashon Island, Wash. (Vashon Island HS), Josh Huestis, a 6-8, 210-pound forward from Great Falls, Mont. (C.M. Russell HS) and Dwight Powell, a 6-10, 215-pound forward from Bradenton, Fla. (IMG Academy).
"We are excited about these five individuals and their families joining our basketball family and the Stanford community," Dawkins said. "During the recruiting process, we built great relationships with this group as players, but even more importantly as people. They will represent Stanford University in a first-class manner both on and off the court. They all have an amazing support system. This class will certainly provide a strong foundation and become an integral part of our program's success."
Bright is rated 135th overall by Rivals.com and offers the Cardinal a true point guard. He guided Bellevue High School to a third-place state finish as a junior, earning first team all-state and league MVP honors.
"The chance to play for Coach Dawkins attracted me to Stanford," said Bright. "I felt that the coaching staff would help take my game to the next level. And at the end of the day, I would have the opportunity to earn a Stanford degree."
Brown is the No. 7-ranked small forward, 41st overall and a four-star recruit by Scout.com. Brown was named CIF Southern Section Player of the Year and a first-team all-state pick as a junior. In 2008-09, he guided the Seahawks to a CIF Southern Section championship and state runner-up finish.
"Anthony is a versatile perimeter player who we believe fits perfectly with our style of play," said Dawkins. "With Anthony's size and skill set, he can contribute at all three perimeter positions. We are really looking forward to working with Anthony and his continued development."
Gage is rated 17th among centers by Scout.com and will add depth to the Stanford frontcourt. He led Vashon Island High School to a state championship as a junior, averaging 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds per game.
"The opportunity to receive a first-class education and be a part of this great recruiting class attracted me to Stanford," said Gage. "I am excited to be a part of next year's team."
Huestis is another impressive post player, rated 21st among small forwards, who is expected to contribute at either the 3 or 4 positions. As a junior, Huestis averaged 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game to lead C.M. Russell High School to a 21-2 record and the Class AA state title. Named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Montana and tabbed the state tournament MVP, Huestis also earned AA All-State and Great Falls Tribune Super State honors.
"We started recruiting Josh later in the process, but he has been somewhat of a late bloomer and flew under the radar nationally," said Dawkins. "He is very athletic, and we believe his best basketball is ahead of him. Josh is developing into more of a perimeter player, and we look forward to helping him make that transition."
Powell, ranked by Rivals.com as No. 7 among power forwards, No. 23 overall and rated as a five-star prospect. He was one of two high school players invited to train with the Canadian National Team.
"Everything about this decision felt right, so I knew Stanford was the perfect fit for me," said Powell. "The combination of world-class athletics and academics was too hard to pass up. I liked the environment and felt comfortable with the coaching staff."
Stanford coach John Kosty announced the signing of six players to letters of intent: four hitters, a middle blocker and a libero.
"We are excited about this class and where it can take us in the future," Kosty said. "It's one of the best recruiting classes in the country. This group has some of the best players at their positions in the country."
Outside hitter Brian Cook of Santa Cruz, middle blocker Denny Falls of New Lenox, Ill., outside hitter Steven Irvin of Pacific Palisades, outside/opposite hitter Eric Mochalski of Manhattan Beach, libero Scot Sakaida of Honolulu, and outside hitter Daniel Tublin of Pittsburgh, Pa. signed letters.
"We're graduating five guys and we had the ability to re-load," Kosty said. "We took advantage of that."