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Fall signing period: WSU men’s coach Ernie Kent signs versatile quartet

The fashion these days is for college recruits to make the act of choosing a school as showy as possible.

Television cameras are called to watch players select a hat from a table and even simply signing the national letter of intent long after the decision has been made is treated as an event.

Robert Franks of Evergreen High in Vancouver will celebrate his decision to sign with Washington State’s men’s basketball team during a ceremony at his school on Friday. But on Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period, he simply signed his letter in front of his parents and faxed it to WSU.

His signature arrived before noon and put the finishing touches on a four-person recruiting class that is long on lengthy, versatile players. Three of the players – Franks, Derrien King and Scott Pollard – stand 6-foot-7 or taller and Renard Suggs is tall for a guard at 6-3.

“I feel like we need to be, for where we want to get to, we needed more length and size on this team,” new Cougars coach Ernie Kent said.

Only Pollard is expected to play the role of a traditional post in Kent’s offense. He will likely delay his enrollment by one year to attend prep school. While King and Franks have the size to play in the post, Kent said that both are primarily face-up players and that King has the ability to play point guard if needed.

“He said he wants me to play the stretch four because I can get up and down the court,” Franks said. “His offense is such a high-speed offense, he just wants me to get up and down and score inside and out.”

Kent did not rule out the possibility of adding to the recruiting class and the Cougars will have another opportunity to sign players in the spring. But while Kent had to scramble to round out the class of 2014 when he took the job last spring, the Cougars have already secured a 2015 recruiting class with which they are comfortable.

“The particular style of basketball that we play requires a certain skill level, and what I mean by ‘skill,’ the ability to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball at a fast pace, in a fast-paced system, and we feel like the four young men that committed to us, all of them fit our style of play,” Kent said.

King and Suggs are most likely players to make an immediate impact. Both attended junior colleges last year and will be counted on to replace senior scorers Dexter Kernich-Drew and DaVonte Lacy.

Gonzaga men

Jesse Wade, a 6-1, 175-pound guard at Davis High in Kaysville, Utah, followed up his October 2013 oral commitment by signing to play for the Bulldogs.

ESPN.com lists Wade as a three-start recruit (on a five-star scale) with a scout grade of 79 out of 100. He’s rated as the top recruit in Utah and the 36th-best point guard in the 2015 class. Wade will serve a two-year Latter-day Saints mission after high school and join GU’s program for the 2017-18 season.

“Jesse is a guy that we’ve seen at camp the last couple years and we really like his skill,” coach Mark Few said. “He’s a high-character guy who really fits the program. He’s got a great feel for the game, a really good shooter, and uses ball screens well to make plays.”

Wade averaged 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.4 assists per game as a junior, helping Davis reach the 5A state semifinals. He averaged 14.8 points as a sophomore.

Wade, who has a 3.9 grade-point average, also had offers from Utah State, San Francisco and UC Riverside.

Gonzaga women

Coach Lisa Fortier announced the signing of three players, including 5-8 guard Laura Stockton of Gonzaga Prep, daughter of NBA great John Stockton and sister of former GU men’s player David Stockton.

Stockton averaged 13.1 points, 4.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game as the Bullpups won the State 4A title last season.

The Bulldogs also signed 5-11 guard Zhane Templeton of Grand Prairie, Texas, and 6-1 forward Zykera Rice of Clover Park High in Lakewood, Washington.

EWU women

Eagles coach Wendy Schuller signed Alissa Sealby and Amira Chandler, both of Wenatchee. The 6-foot Sealby and 6-2 Chandler helped lead Wenatchee High to a pair of Columbia Basin Big Nine district playoff appearances.

Eastern begins its season Friday at Utah Valley.

Idaho women

Coach Jon Newlee announced the signing of 6-2 post Sue Winger, Mead High; 5-11 guard Mikayla Ferenz, Walla Walla High; and 5-7 guard Taylor Pierce, Carlsbad, California.

Winger helped lead Mead to the State 4A title as a sophomore and averaged 11.9 points per game last season.


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