PULLMAN – Ernie Kent took the first steps toward rebuilding his Washington State basketball roster on Wednesday, signing small forward Aljaz ‘Jaz’ Kunc out of Impact Basketball Academy (Sarasota, Florida) and junior college transfer Isaiah Wade, a power forward who most recently played at Iowa Western Community College.
“We are excited for the additions of Jaz and Isaiah,” Kent said. “This is a very good recruiting class and we are looking forward to building on it in the near future.”
Kunc is originally from Ljubljana, Slovenia, and becomes the first international player signed by Kent, other than Canadian-born guard Jamar Ergas. He stands 6-foot-8, weighs 190 pounds and projects as an inside-out player who can give the Cougars a vertical presence in the post and step outside to shoot the 3-pointer.
Kunc competed for Slovenia in the 2016 FIBA U-18 European Championships and spent three seasons (2014-17) playing for Jance Prit in Slovenia.
Wade has a similar build but should provide a little more muscle in the paint at 6-7, 220 pounds. The Minnesota native was a regular double-double producer as a sophomore at Iowa Western, averaging 12.1 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game. He scored 20 points in four games and notched a season-high 16 rebounds in a 108-87 win over Northeast on Jan. 17. Wade had 16 double-doubles on the season.
The Cougars likely need to replace five scholarship players from the 2017-18 roster. Graduate transfer point forward Drick Bernstine and former walk-on guard Steven Shpreyregin both ran out of eligibility. Ergas and fellow guard Malachi Flynn both elected to leave the basketball program and leading scorer Robert Franks, a versatile forward, declared for the NBA without an agent but has hinted that he’ll forgo his senior season to pursue a pro career.
WSU also signed Cleveland (Seattle) High small forward CJ Elleby (6-7, 220) in November.