FROM PULLMAN -- Some day, Richard Longrus -- everyone calls him Junior -- wants to help build athletic facilties.
That's why the Washington State freshman wanted to major in architecture. But conversations with others led him to believe the academic workload would be too difficult to balance with basketball, so Longrus is leaning toward a business degree instead.
"I figured if I could go into the business end of it and open athletic facilities, I can still kind of be in the same realm of what I want to do later in life," Longrus said.
It's that same maturity and sense of responsibility that has earned Longrus some important minutes already this season. He played only 11 minutes on Wednesday against Gonzaga, but played the final six minutes of the game and spent a good chunk of that time matched up against Bulldogs power forward Elias Harris.
It wasn't always easy. Longrus fouled Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk twice on made baskets in the final 2:36. But he also finished with four rebounds, including the offensive board that led to Brock Motum's key 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining.
Longrus knows his role on this team will feature defense and rebounding. He's fine with that, even if he was relied upon to score more in high school.
"I love being in there," Longrus said. "And I’m just here to help my team win, so if that’s in the first two minutes or the last two minutes, or two minutes in between, any minutes I get are good minutes.
"If I can come in, help my team stop guys ... I’m here to help the team, here to get Ws, so if that’s what they want me to do, that’s what I want to be a part of."
WSU coach Ken Bone was asked after Wednesday's game whether Longrus is becoming more reliable as the season's progressed.
"He’s been pretty reliable since the day we signed him," Bone said. "He’s a responsible, reliable young man.
"You just count on him. He’s that guy -- extremely dependable, he knows exactly what he’s supposed to do on the offensive end, on the defensive end. He just rarely makes a mistake and he’s a relentless player. He really brings it. Effort-wise, he’s there every possession."
Longrus credits Motum, a senior, for helping him understand the ins and outs of WSU's offensive and defensive schemes.
"Brock's been like kind of the older brother here for me," Longrus said.
The biggest adjustment for the 6-foot-7, 232-pounder -- and he's every bit of that -- has been guarding opposing power forwards on a regular basis. His junior year at Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Longrus was joined in the frontcourt by 6-foot-8 forward Brandon Ashley (a freshman at Arizona now) and 6-foot-6 forward T.J. Daniel (a tight end on the Oregon football team).
So Longrus was usually matched up on a small forward on the wing, though he moved around a little, too.
"it’s definitely fun, getting that type of matchup, that type of experience to broaden my repertoire of who I can guard," Longrus said. "That’ll help me out in the future."
Also of note ... Will DiIorio, who sprained his left ankle on Wednesday, will miss 2-3 weeks. ... DaVonte Lacy said he was emotionally drained after Wednesday's loss, but said he felt OK physically. Lacy's knee still isn't 100 percent, but he said he's "getting better every day" and going to great lengths to make sure he doesn't have any setbacks. He'll use hydroworx on days off, as well as plenty of ice throughout the week.