May 15, 2014 in Sports

Washington State releases Tramaine Isabell from letter of intent

By The Spokesman-Review
Eagles land forward

Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford announced the signing of forward Bodgan Bliznyuk of Federal Way on Wednesday /Story, B6

Just weeks after reaffirming his decision to enroll at Washington State, Tramaine Isabell has been released from his national letter of intent, according to Cougars coach Ernie Kent.

It comes as a surprise that the Cougars would release the point guard, who was widely considered to be the jewel of their recruiting class, from the binding scholarship agreement.

Isabell was the only remaining signee to be originally recruited by former coach Ken Bone. He expressed displeasure and uncertainty following Bone’s firing in March and one of Kent’s immediate priorities after taking the job was to make sure Isabell remained a Cougar.

After multiple visits and discussions with Kent, Isabell publicly announced his decision to stick with WSU in April, citing the effort the new WSU staff spent in re-recruiting him as the principle reason. Now he is free to sign with whatever school he chooses.

“We wish Tramaine the very best,” Kent said in a press release. “The future of Cougar basketball is bright. I like the group of young men we have in place now, as well as what we will add in the near future with our available scholarships.”

Isabell was expected to immediately contribute on a WSU team that won just 10 games last season and ranked last in the conference in scoring by a wide margin.

He was named the MVP of the State 4A basketball tournament after leading Garfield High to a state championship, scoring 34 points to knock off previously undefeated Richland in the championship game.

But there were also red flags. There were concerns whether or not Isabell would qualify academically to enroll at a Division I school, and he still may need to head to prep school for a year.

He also admittedly developed a reputation for having a bad attitude early in his high school career, although that dissipated after he transferred to Garfield from Lakeside High.

Isabell’s release increases the need for Kent to sign an impact guard before next season.

He has already inked guards Ny Redding and Jackie Davis, and junior college forward Aaron Cheatum.

With few remaining unsigned prospects, the Cougars’ best chance for a signee of similar impact is undoubtedly Lincoln High’s Ahmaad Rorie, who signed with California but was released from his letter of intent when coach Mike Montgomery retired.

Rorie reportedly visited WSU last weekend and has been offered scholarships by both Washington and WSU.

The Cougars have two scholarships available for the class of 2014.

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