RICHMOND, Va. — For the second time in three seasons as LSU’s basketball coach, Will Wade mined one of the top players from his own back yard Wednesday when the early, one-week signing period began.
The first player to put his name to paper and officially join the 2020 recruiting class, Walker High School point guard Jalen Cook, was also the first to commit to Wade and his staff back on June 18.
Center Bradley Ezewiro, a Torrance, California, native who is playing his senior season at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia is expected to sign with LSU after committing in late October, but the school had no announcement on him.
Cook and Ezewiro are both three-star prospects on the 247Sports composite listing.
The No. 2-ranked player in the state behind Scotlandville standout and Virginia commitment Reece Beekman, Cook joins Javonte Smart as top local talents who have remained home to play for LSU.
Cook, a 6-foot guard who also plays wide receiver on the Walker football team, signed his letter of intent in the school gym Wednesday morning in front of teammates, family and a number of his fellow students.
“It feels good … this really is a dream come true,” he said. “When I committed, I said it was 110 percent and that never changed. I’ve been following LSU since I was little and it is great to officially be part of the program.”
Cook helped Walker to a Class 5A title as a sophomore, then enjoyed a breakout year in 2019 when he averaged 29.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.8 steals for the state runners-up.
The state’s Class 5A MVP, Cook also won the Farm Bureau/Mr. Basketball and USA Today Louisiana player of the year awards. He also was a finalist for The Advocate's Athlete of the Year honor.
“The thing is, I’m not satisfied; I’m always going to work to make my game better and my team better,” Cook said. “We’ve got a lot of young players (at Walker) this year. … The goal is to win another state title before I go to LSU.”
Ezewiro is ranked as the 222nd overall prospect in this year’s class. He’s ranked 10th overall in California even though he’s now playing at national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Mount of Wilson, Virginia.
He ranks as the 29th-best center nationally.
LSU is also believed to be a heavy lean for two other highly-rated prospects for the 2020 class.
Five-star guard Cam Thomas of Chesapeake, Virginia, and Oak Hill Academy, and four-star forward Mwani Wilkinson of of Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas, are the two who reportedly have high interest in LSU.
A 6-3 shooting guard, Thomas narrowed his choices to LSU and UCLA after listing those two schools, along with Auburn, NC State and Connecticut, as his finalists.
He is ranked 24th overall nationally on the 247Sports composite, the sixth-best shooting guard in the country, and is the second-ranked player in Virginia.
Wilkinson, a 6-6 power forward, is ranked 106th overall as the 20th-best player at his position nationally. He’s ranked fifth overall in Nevada.
Wilkinson’s final five, according to his Twitter account, are LSU, Texas Tech, UNLV, USC and Vanderbilt.