Some news out of Pullman that you might have seen elsewhere, but I finally got confirmed this evening. We have a short, unedited story on the link, so read on.
• Here is the unedited version of our story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R …
PULLMAN – Two freshmen on Washington State University’s basketball team have decided to transfer, though neither has solidified future plans.
Guards Xavier Thames and Anthony Brown plan on leaving the school at the end of the year.
Thames, from Sacramento, Calif., and Brown, who starred at Shadle Park High, committed to the Cougars and former coach Tony Bennett. Both decided to honor their commitments after Bennett left for Virginia a year ago and was replaced by Ken Bone.
Thames started four games at guard for the 16-15 Cougars and appeared in all 31, averaging 4.6 points and 1.2 assists as the team’s top substitute.
Thames said Sunday night his decision revolved around basketball and that he enjoyed his time in Pullman.
“It is basketball related but I really don’t want to get into it right now,” he said Sunday, adding his choice wasn’t based on playing time.
Thames said he hasn’t decided where he will end up and he’s just beginning to look into other schools.
Brown appeared in three games, playing a total of five minutes. He said his decision to transfer was based on a desire to play more.
“I talked to coach Bone on Wednesday and he kind of told me he didn’t see me playing on the team, so I had to make a decision to leave, do what’s right for me,” said Brown, who said he planned to finish out the school year. “Right now I’m just exploring my options and seeing what I have to work with in terms of schools that are interested.”
A report on Cougfan.com Sunday night, citing sophomore Michael Harthun’s father, said the guard had also decided to transfer, though there were no other details. Attempts to reach Harthun were unsuccessful.
Under NCAA rules, players are free to contact schools if they wish to transfer, but must receive a release if they want to accept a scholarship. As of Sunday, none of the players had asked for their release a school spokesman said.
• There are a couple other things that didn’t make it into the story. … Thames seemed to be very early in the process, saying he wants to look around and see which schools are interested. He will ask for his release and knows he’ll be sitting out a year. … Contrary to rumors that have surfaced, he’s not contacted anyone at Virginia (that was also confirmed on the Virginia end) and has no plans to do so. … Brown may transfer to a lower division school so he would not have to sit out a year. Unlike Thames, his decision to transfer doesn’t come as much of a shock, considering Brown rarely traveled this year and didn’t seem to fit Bone’s system. … As for Harthun, the many people I talked with Sunday were uniformly shocked about the Cougfan report. None had any first-hand knowledge of Harthun’s future plans and numerous attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. … Harthun played sparingly as a freshman under Bennett, appearing in 14 games, but saw more time this season, averaging 1.7 points in his 26 games. … Here’s the link to that Cougfan story.
• That’s it for tonight. We’ll be back in the morning. Until then …