When reporters pointed out to Ken Bone on signing day the Cougars were committed to three players over the NCAA scholarship limit of 13, Bone pulled out an answer he's used before. By the start of the school year, he said (though I'm paraphrasing a bit), Washington State would be at or below the limit. With the announcement today freshman guard Dre Winston Jr., would not be back for his sophomore year, the Cougars are at 13. And there may be more to come. Read on.
• Let's see, in the past month or so, Klay Thompson withdrew from school and declared for the NBA draft (and his stock continues to rise), DeAnglo Casto dropped out of school and declared for the NBA draft (though playing overseas seems to be the most likely option) and, today, Winston's transfer was announced. So the Cougars are at 13, just like Bone said they would be. But there could be one more change, with the health status of sophomore Steven Bjornstad still to be determined. Bjornstad, the 6-foot-11, 240-pound center from Vancouver, has had troubles with his knees for the past couple years. With Casto gone, WSU is still looking for a big for next year if possible and, failing that, for the year after for sure. By the way, I've been told Winston already has a Big Sky school picked but don't know the exact one. The announcement from his new school is expected to come next week. We will have a brief about Winston in tomorrow's S-R and we'll share the link when we can. But back to Winston. His biggest handicap last year, it seemed to me, was his size and strength. He was listed at 166 pounds and that's really light for a Pac-10 point guard. His quickness was fine, but he seemed to struggle against physical play when he got his chances during the conference season. And that seemed to be his undoing, as his playing time diminished to almost nothing by the end. He worked hard at practice and was probably as dedicated as anyone on the defensive end, but a point in Bone's system can't turn the ball over to the extent Winston did in conference play. Winston, the state's 3A co-player of the year as a senior, should be able to contribute and play for a lot of Big Sky schools, so the change is probably the best thing for him. Every college athlete wants to play. He should get his chance now.
• That's all for now. As usual, we'll be back when events warrant. Until then ...