Top international basketball prospect Andrej Jakimovski has committed to Washington State, he told ESPN on Sunday.
"Since I was a kid, my dream was to play basketball in the U.S., the country that has the best basketball players and coaches," Jakimovski told ESPN. "I believe that Washington State will help me achieve my childhood dream of becoming a great basketball player. They're offering me the opportunity to build myself as a person, athlete and student."
The Macedonian-born Jakimovski, 19, is considered one of the top European recruits committing to the college route after leading the FIBA U18 European Championship B in scoring at 18.4 points per game. He has significant experience at the international level both against professionals and with his national team.
Jakimovski played on an amateur contract this season, mostly in the Italian second division, and was the most productive player in the Italian NextGen Under-19 competition, averaging 28 points, 14 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3 steals per game.
"It was a wonderful experience playing for Basket Torino," Jakimovski said. "I had offers from other Italian and European teams, but I truly believe that the best option for me is to join the Cougs. I also had offers from other universities, but I knew from the beginning that WSU was the right choice for me. I am determined to work harder than ever and help my new team reach new heights."
Having made three appearances for the Macedonian junior national teams at the FIBA U16 and U18 European Championships, Jakimovski debuted with the senior national team in February as part of the FIBA European qualifying window, seeing a handful of minutes against Russia and Estonia -- a rarity for a teenager.
Jakimovski joins a Washington State team entering its second season under coach Kyle Smith, who came from San Francisco. Jakimovski is one of four international players in the Cougars' 2020 recruiting class, along with Nigerian Efe Abogidi, Canadian Jefferson Koulibaly and Carlos Rosario from the Dominican Republic.
"I believe I can bring new energy to the team, and I'm highly motivated to help the team improve their winning record," Jakimovski said. "I work very hard every day to become a better basketball player. My favorite position is shooting guard. I like to control the ball and be able to either score or assist my teammates. Rebounds are another strength of mine. I always give my best on the basketball court, and I would like to be recognized by my play, not for my words."