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Simon seals long-standing commitment to Cougars

This day had been a long time coming for Patrick Simon.

But Wednesday, Ephrata High’s 6-foot-8 forward signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Washington State University, fulfilling a commitment he made nearly four years ago.

“Since I committed when I was a freshman, I guess it was a long wait,” said Simon, who, at 14, was the youngest commit in WSU history. “With all that has gone, I’m kind of relieved and I’m excited that I’m officially going to be a part of Cougar basketball.”

Simon helped Ephrata to the State 2A title as a sophomore, but had to sit his junior season after breaking a bone in his foot. He’ll start his senior season next week.

“We’re excited about the signing of Patrick Simon,” WSU coach Ken Bone said. “He’s a very skilled player, who has good length to him, and he’s an outstanding shooter with good range.”

When Simon committed to WSU, Bone was the head coach at Portland State and Tony Bennett was in Pullman. After Bennett left the Cougars for Virginia last spring, Simon temporarily reopened the recruiting process.

But Simon quickly closed it after meeting with Bone.

“It was hard at first,” Simon said of the period. “I had a lot to think about. Once I got introduced to the new system, new style of play, it got me really excited and I like the transition.”

The Cougars, who lose only one senior, Nik Koprivica, after this season, are expected to sign at least one more player in the early period.

Faisel Aden, a 6-4 shooting guard from Hillsborough CC in Tampa, Fla., committed this week to WSU, but the school did not receive his letter of intent.

•The University of Idaho signed three Inland Northwest players, including Walla Walla High point guard Gary Winston.

The 6-1 Winston, a two-time All-Columbia Basin Big Nine selection, averaged 16.1 points and four rebounds a game last season.

“It is very important for our program to be able to sign area players with Gary’s ability,” said Idaho coach Don Verlin, whose team has six seniors on this year’s team.

North Idaho College teammates Renado Parker and Idell Bell also signed with the Vandals.

Parker, a 6-6 forward from Seattle, was the Scenic West Athletic Conference player of the year as a freshman, averaging 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds.

Bell played at Brevard Community College in Florida last season, where the 6-2 guard was a JC All-American after averaging 20.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He transferred to NIC this season.

•Washington signed Bay Area high school standout Desmond Simmons to a letter of intent.

Coach Lorenzo Romar said the power forward reminds him of energetic former Huskies team leader Bobby Jones.

Simmons is expected to enroll in time for the 2010-11 season.

Romar said the 6-7 power forward totaled 31 points and 19 rebounds for Salesian High School of Richmond, Calif., in the Northern California championship game last spring.

•Washington State’s women announced the signings of three front-line players.

Brandi Thomas, a 6-1 forward from Elma, Wash.; Hana Potter, a 6-2 forward from Edina, Minn.; and Sage Romberg, a 6-2 forward from McKinleyville, Calif., will join the Cougars next year.

•Kate Loper, a 5-11 guard from Post Falls, is headed to Hofstra, which is a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and is located in Hempstead, N.Y.

•Two high school seniors each from Washington and Oregon have signed to play women’s basketball at Eastern Washington.

The four are 6-2 post Laura Hughes from Hanford High School in Richland, 6-2 forward Morganne Comstock from Kentlake High School in Kent, Wash., 5-7 guard Meaghan Cichoke from Tualatin (Ore.) High and 6-0 guard Aubrey Ashenfelter from Beaverton, Ore.

Hughes averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds as a junior when she earned second-team 3A All-State honors and was a first-team All-Columbia Basin Big Nine League selection.

Comstock averaged 16 points and eight rebounds and was All-South Puget Sound League first team.

Ashenfelter earned second-team All-Metro League honors last season in the Portland area.

Cichoke was an honorable mention All-Pacific League selection as she helped her team to an 18-8 record and sixth-place finish at the State 6A tournament in Oregon.

•Chessey Thomas, the 2009 State 4A girls golf individual champion, signed a letter of intent to play golf at the University of Tennessee next year.

Thomas, a senior at St. George’s High School, plays on the Lewis and Clark High golf team, helping it capture the State 4A team title in May. She also won the Pacific NW Junior PGA Championship this year and played in the 34th Junior PGA Championships this summer in Ohio. She is ranked 23rd in the class of 2010 in Golfweek’s World Golf Rankings.

The Tennessee team is ranked in the top 10 by all three national polls – sixth in Golfweek, seventh in Golfstat, and 10th in the Golf World/NGCA Coaches’ Poll.

•North Idaho College softball player Amanda Krier signed to play for Adelphi University, a Division II school in New York where former NIC softball player and assistant coach Paige Smith serves as head softball coach.