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Looking back at the San Jose St. game

Yesterday, the Cougars trounced San Jose State, 82-53.

Our story from the game can be read here.

Our follow-up post is after the jump.

Seahawks’ win makes our days a bit brighter

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I don't know about you, but today seems a little brighter to me. There seems to be a bit more sunshine. And it JUST seems as if it will be lighter, longer. Do the Seahawks really have that much power, or is it just a quirk of the calendar? Read on.

Ernie Kent Q&A: coaching confidence

Since arriving at WSU, Ernie Kent has said that the greatest barrier between the Cougars and success is a lack of confidence.

None of the players, who probably won a great deal in high school, have won much in their collegiate careers and Kent thinks that reminding them what it's like to dominate on the court will put them in a mindset to once again be successful.

But is confidence possible to coach? Kent says yes.

“A lot of what we do in our basketball program is to wrap our arms around these young men and give them the opportunity that we're in this together and have them grow internally,” Kent said during today's WSU press conference.

“A lot of them need to grow internally because of what they've been through in their lives, but at the end of the day the fact that they're on a Division I campus, for some of them and what they've gone through in their personal lives, are already a success,” he added. “And need to empty their backpacks of lack of confidence and guilt, fear, shame, whatever, and let's move forward. So, we spend a lot of time talking about that every day, to get them where they need to be mentally before we even get to the floor to practice or play a game.”

The Cougars sure looked more confident in a 91-71 pasting of Texas-San Antonio last week but will obviously face a much bigger challenge against No. 9 Gonzaga tomorrow.

Kent spoke about WSU's upcoming game and much more today. We've got video and a transcription, after the jump.

Looking back at the UTSA win

Washington State's 91-71 win over Texas San-Antonio on Saturday was insightful, but not indicative.

The Cougars are likely to win every game in which they shoot 60 percent on 3-point attempts and they are unlikely to come close to that success rate very often, so there's not a whole lot to be gleaned from yesterday's shooting performance other than that DaVonte Lacy appears to have found his shot and the team is shooting with more confidence.

But there is still a lot to dissect from yesterday's game and we'll do just that, and pass along the game book, after the jump.

Lacy and the Cougars get hot against UTSA

Washington State dominated Texas-San Antonio despite some struggles with turnovers. You can overcome a lot when you shoot like the Cougars did on Saturday.

My game story is after the jump.

Jordan Railey punctuates WSU win with a dunk

With less than a minute on the clock, most fans were hoping for one more 3-pointer to break the Washington State single-game record. Jordan Railey looked for a shooter, but sized up the defense and decided to take it himself.

Kent addresses first-half suspensions

Today Washington State men's basketball coach Ernie Kent answered questions from the media, including a few about his decision to suspend Aaron Cheatum, Ny Redding and Que Johnson for the first half of WSU's 71-43 loss to UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the Great Alaskan Shootout.

The players were late to a team meeting and Kent took the opportunity for a teaching moment, while acknowledging that the episode probably put the Cougars “out of whack” in that game.

Cheatum is a junior, Redding is a freshman while Johnson is a sophomore.

“The fact that they held up 22 other people, when you talk about players, managers, sports information director people that are in our team meeting and not come on time: No. 1 it's disrespectful, No. 2 you've got to understand the importance of this and what we're trying to get done out here,” Kent said. “The message was sent, it was received and probably cost us a game one way or another and if we learn something from it, that's OK.”

Johnson only played four minutes in WSU's next game, a 76-74 victory over Rice but that does not appear to have been influenced by the previous game's suspension as Redding started and played 30 minutes.

The entire transcript of Kent's press conference is after the jump.

WSU wins, can still finish fourth

Washington State beat Rice, 76-74, behind 27 points from sophomore forward Josh Hawkinson.

The Cougars will play at 2 p.m. on Saturday against Missouri State in the 4th play/6th place game of the Great Alaskan Shootout. After WSU (2-3) couldn't get anything fall in a 71-43 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, the Cougars' shooting numbers against the Owls were their best of the season.

We have box scores and notes from the game after the jump.

WSU at TCU: Stats, notes and final thoughts

Washington State didn't get on the scoreboard until TCU had scored 14 points and it never got better for the Cougars.

The game was a debacle and a strong indicator that the Cougars are in for another long season. Losing to a solid UTEP team in the opener was one thing, losing to a TCU squad that went 0-18 in conference play last season is another thing entirely.

The Cougars return home from their Texas swing 0-2 with a game against an Idaho State team that ranks somewhere near No. 300 nationally on Friday.

Final thoughts and the game book are after the jump.

ROOT picks up WSU at TCU

Washington State's basketball game at TCU tonight just got a little easier for fans in the Northwest to watch because ROOT Sports just picked up the 5 p.m. broadcast. Previously the game was only scheduled to be televised on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.

Ernie Kent and the Cougars (0-1) will try to pick up their first win tonight as they take on former Stanford coach Trent Johnson and the Horned Frogs. Last season TCU beat the Cougars 64-62 in Pullman.

WSU basketball: box score and a couple thoughts

Tonight I covered Washington State's NCAA Division One Soccer Championship game against Seattle University, so I didn't catch the men's basketball team's game against Utep. Because of that, my usual post game blog post will be brief. But I've still got a couple notes.

The box score is below, final thoughts are after the jump.

 

 

WSU basketball signs four

Today the basketball fall signing period began and new WSU coach Ernie Kent's recruiting class got its faxes in quickly.

All four expected signees sent in their National Letters of Intent by noon, giving the Cougars a class full of lanky, versatile players. Three players are 6-foot-7 or taller and only one of them is a traditional post. Two of WSU's signees were recruited out of junior colleges, while another will likely delay his enrollment by a year to attend prep school.

“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 during an afternoon press conference.

“They all can score the basketball, they all have a really high basketball IQ on the play, particularly in quick-thinking situations where they have to make split decisions in transition or in the half court. So their skill set is very good and we're very comfortable with the group we picked up.”

Follow the jump to see what Kent had to say about each individual recruit, as well as a Signing Day Q&A with the Cougars coach.

Highlights from each school’s Pac-12 media day session

USC: The Trojans have six new players this season, including highly-touted freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin. Head coach Andy Enfield expects McLaughlin, ranked No. 4 nationally among point guard recruits by ESPN, to contribute immediately.

“Jordan is a terrific student-athlete,” Enfield said. “He's a student of the game. He understands where his teammates need to be. He lead's by example, he's a very hard worker, he has an amazing attitude … We're expecting big things from him. I think he came to USC for that opportunity, to be relied upon as a freshman. He'll have that opportunity as a freshman.

WSU: DaVonte Lacy is known for feeling a kinship with the jungle's king. He has a huge lion tattoo on his left arm that reads “Soul of a Lion” and his philosophy on social media is that a “lion does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep.”

It sounds like new Cougars coach Ernie Kent may have found his spirit animal as well.

“Having been out of (coaching) for four years, the definition I use, I feel like I've been a big bear in hibernation and now you get a chance to come out and eat!” Kent said.

We have more Pac-12 media day highlights after the jump.

Ernie Kent and DaVonte Lacy at media day

Here is a transcript of Washington State basketball coach Ernie Kent and senior guard DaVonte Lacy's remarks to the media at Pac-12 media day:

Pac-12 men’s basketball media poll

The Pac-12 men's basketball media poll was released today and, as expected, for the fourth consecutive season Arizona was picked to finish first, followed by Utah, Colorado and UCLA. Washington State was picked to finish No. 11 and Oregon State is projected to finish in last place by a wide margin.

The poll is after the jump.

Pac-12 basketball: media day

The Pac-12 is having its annual media day get together of men's basketball coaches, players and media today and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. you can watch the action live on the Pac-12 Networks or right here.

At some point in the next few hours we'll also get the official results from the preseason Pac-12 media poll. This will consists of Arizona followed by the other 11 teams in one order or another.

For the record, here is how I voted: 1. Arizona 2. Utah 3. Colorado 4. UCLA 5. Stanford 6. Cal 7. Washington 8. Washington State 9. Arizona State 10. USC 11. Oregon State 12. Oregon

The schedule of player and coach appearances we'll be working off of today is after the jump.

WSU basketball adds junior college guard

 
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It's been a long grind and I been at the game for so long but it's just the beginning just wanna thank all the people who have been supporting me my whole life and special my parents and my siblings love all you and I'm proud to be committed to Washington state university!!! #holdthat #pac12 #family 🙌🙌🙌

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Shooting guard Rendard Suggs out of Gillette College in Wyoming, broke the news on Instagram that he intends to play basketball for Ernie Kent at Washington State in 2015. If his commitment holds Suggs will be the fourth known member of WSU's 2015 class, joining high school seniors Jeff Pollard and Robert Franks, as well as fellow junior college player Derrien King.

Suggs is the first backcourt player in WSU's 2015 recruiting class.

The guard is a sophomore this season so he will have two eligible seasons at WSU with a redshirt season available. He averaged 14.2 points per game last season while shooting 43 percent from the field.

The 6-foot-2 Suggs is originally from Woodbury, Minnesota.

Here are some highlights from his high school days.

Robert Franks joins WSU 2015 recruiting class

Yesterday Scout.com's Josh Gershon reported that Robert Franks, a 6-foot-7 forward from Evergreen High in Vancouver has given a verbal commitment to play basketball for Ernie Kent at Washington State. The above video shows Franks making what was certainly one of the most incredible shots in Washington high school basketball last season.

The All-State forward averaged 19 points and eight rebounds last season and was also believed to have a scholarship offer to play for Portland. According to this premium article by Braulio Perez, Franks is expected to be a face-up forward in Kent's system and will guard posts on defense.

Franks is the third member of WSU's 2015 recruiting class, joining Derrien King and Jeff Pollard.

WSU basketball lands 6-8 wing

Derrien King, a six-foot-eight wing from Los Angeles, California has given a verbal commitment to coach Ernie Kent to play at Washington State, according to multiple reports.

King's commitment appears to have been first announced on the Twitter page of his AAU team, the Compton Magic. It was later confirmed by recruiting websites such as Rivals.com and Scout.com.

King was apparently on campus this weekend for an official visit and gave his commitment to Kent during the trip.

Kent has now two known recruits in the 2015 class: King and power forward Jeff Pollard from Utah. DaVonte Lacy, Dexter Kernich-Drew, and Jordan Railey are all seniors on WSU's full roster, so unless there is some attrition Kent will have one more scholarship to offer in this class.

Here's an article on King from the Los Angeles Sports Journal.

Morning after links

Washington State overcame an early deficit to take a solid lead against Rutgers in Seattle yesterday, but was unable to sustain it, eventually falling 41-38.

Links from that game and from around the Pac-12 are after the jump.

Lunchtime Links: Meanwhile, in China …

While most of Pullman has been gearing up for fall sports season, DaVonte Lacy and the Pac-12 All-Stars have been barnstorming around China and beating up on professional teams. The All-Stars are 2-0, both blowout victories, and Lacy has been a solid contributor averaging 6.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and three assists per game.

The All-Stars will face their toughest test tomorrow in the Shanghai Sharks, former NBA All-Star Yao Ming's old team that he now owns. The Sharks have a couple former American college basketball stars in Quincy Douby and Darnell Jackson, so the All-Stars should get a good test. Unfortunately, it appears that the team will no longer face the Guandong Southern Tigers and former NBA lottery pick Yi Jianlian.

We have a couple links to pass along after the jump.

WSU will host Hawaii in Cougar Hardwood Classic

After a one-year hiatus, the Cougar Hardwood Classic is back. Idol Sports and Entertainment announced Tuesday morning that Washington State will host Hawaii on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 in WSU's annual nonconference game in Seattle's KeyArena. WSU is 8-0 in the Cougar Hardwood Classic, which began in 2005, beating teams like Pepperdine, LSU and San Diego State.

“(It) is an excellent opportunity to take our program to Seattle where there are so many great Coug fans ready to come out and support us,” WSU coach Ernie Kent said in a press release. “We are excited to have the chance to continue to grow the event as we battle and outstanding Hawaii team this year. It should make for a great basketball game for all the fans.”

The Cougars are 5-1 all-time against the Warriors, and have won the past four contests between the schools.

Kent lands first 2015 recruit

Ernie Kent has yet to coach a basketball game for Washington State but he's already made headway among recruits who won't be on campus until the season after next, receiving a verbal commitment from forward Jeff Pollard, a member of the class of 2015 who announced his decision with the above tweet. 

Braulio Perez of Cougfan.com spoke with Pollard ($), and the 6-8, 215 pound forward from Bountiful, Utah seems to value defense, telling Perez that it is the strongest part of his game. Southern Utah had reportedly also offered Pollard a scholarship and he told Perez that he was also being recruit by Weber State and the University of Portland.

According to MaxPreps.com, Pollard averaged about nine points and eight rebounds per game as a junior for Bountiful High. Here is a good profile of the newest WSU recruit from Utah's Deseret News.

Trevor Dunbar is headed to WSU

Braulio Perez is reporting that Trevor Dunbar out of St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco has committed to play basketball for Ernie Kent at Washington State. The 5-foot-10 point guard looks pretty crafty in the above video and chose WSU over scholarship offers from Cal Poly, Montana State and others.

Dunbar told Perez that he was planning to visit St. John's as well but has decided to end his recruitment. The diminutive guard scored 40 points against Serra earlier this year. Here is a good article on WSU's newest guard.

The school hasn't acknowledged receiving a signed financial aid agreement from Dunbar yet, but we'll expect a comment from coach Kent when they do. The Cougars still have one more scholarship left to offer, but I would expect them to save it unless they find a big man who can contribute.

(Update: This blog was updated on Monday to reflect that, because the spring signing period is over, Dunbar won't sign a letter of intent with the Cougars, but instead a financial aid agreement. Thanks to Twitter user 7lCoug for catching that.)

DaVonte Lacy heads back to China

Washington State senior guard DaVonte Lacy has been chosen to participate as one of 13 Pac-12 men's basketball players who will play in a four-game All-Star tour of China this summer. The tour is part of the conference's Globalization Initiative, which aims to market the conference to international fans.

Utah's Larry Krystkowiak will coach the team, which includes players from every member school except Oregon and UCLA. 

It will be at least the second basketball-related trip to China for Lacy, who led the Cougars with 19.4 points per game last season. He also competed internationally in Jamaica through Athletes in Action.

WSU's press release explains a bit about what the athletes will be doing abroad:

The Pac-12 All-Star team will face a Chinese university all-star team and play three games against teams from the Chinese Basketball Association, including the Shanghai Sharks. Eight-time NBA All-Star Yao Ming owns the Sharks. Max Zhang, a former CALIFORNIA student-athlete has been the center for the Sharks since his return to China in 2010. It will also play the Guangdong Southern Tigers, the 2013-14 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season champion. The Tigers' leading Chinese scorer is Yi Jianlian, who played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks under Krystkowiak during the 2007-08 season before returning to the CBA in 2012.

In addition to the competition in China, the team will participate in various youth clinics, as well as take in the culture and history of China with visits to various landmarks and historical sites in the cities of Shanghai, Nantong and Shenzhen. 

A full roster and tentative schedule is after the jump.

… 

Pac-12 announces a new championship game site, also links

For the next three years the Pac-12 football championship game will be held at an ostensibly neutral site: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. While fans are sure to point out that the location is a lot less neutral for some schools than others, it's a change from the prior practice of having one of the participants host.

The change was doubtlessly spurred by the desire to guarantee that the game will take place in a large, modern stadium. If UCLA hosts in the Rose Bowl that's fine, but when Oregon State or Washington State win the North, the conference could have had real logistical problems (read: not enough money) staging the event.

It should be quite a venue. Levi's is the new home of the San Francisco 49ers and is scheduled to host the 2016 Super Bowl, and the Fight Hunger Bowl starting this season. It seats 68,500 including luxury suites and club seats.

The conference issues a press release that said things like:

“Pac-12 football is among the deepest and best football conferences in the country,” said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. “Our Football Championship Game is important for selecting a team for the Rose Bowl and possibly the College Football Playoff, and we are thrilled to offer student-athletes and their fans the ultimate venue to culminate a successful season.”
And:
“This is a positive move for our institutions and fan bases,” said Scott. The neutral site location will allow us to showcase the Conference, our member institutions and important initiatives on a big stage, as well as treat fans to multiple events during championship week, concluded Scott.”

The Cougars have been in the news again lately so follow the jump for some links.