Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Well. I've committed to play for the cougars. #Wazzu— Jeff Pollard (@jpollard43) June 26, 2014
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.
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.)
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.
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:
The Cougars have been in the news again lately so follow the jump for some links.
I have been granted my release from Washington State University. Best of luck to coach kent & the team!— Tramaine Isabell (@oTrillMaine) May 14, 2014
Tramaine Isabell has been granted a release from his National Letter of Intent and will not enroll at Washington State, the school confirmed on Wednesday. The point guard was considered in recruiting circles to be the jewel of WSU's 2014 class and was expected to contribute next season.
Isabel was the only remaining signee to original sign under former coach Ken Bone. The class now consists of three players, forward Aaron Cheatum and guards Ny Redding and Jackie Davis.
"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."
WSU still has two scholarships available in the class of 2014.
Today, the NCAA released its Academic Progress Rates, a metric for calculating a team's academic performance. Teams are recognized for high APR achievement but also punished for low scores, including potential ineligibility from postseason play.
The APR rates used to determine academic consequences are based on a four-year rolling average. The current scores are the average calculated from the end of the 2012-13 academic year.
The Washington State women's volleyball team faces a Level One penalty after receiving a multi-year APR of 929. That score would be enough to declare the Cougars ineligible from postseason play, but because the team has shown significant academic progress they were granted a lesser penalty. According to the NCAA, "Level One penalties focus on practice restrictions, allowing teams to use that time to focus on academics. Teams facing this penalty lose four hours and one day of practice time per week in season, replaced with academic activities. This year, 42 teams face this level of penalty."
In this case the Cougars are still paying for the performance of the team under the previous coaching staff, which scored and 837 in 2010-11, their final year. The volleyball team posted a perfect score of 1,000 in the 2012-13 academic year under coach Jen Greeny. In fact, nine WSU programs posted perfect scores of 1,000 this year, although only women's basketball has a perfect 1,000 four-year average.
They were followed closely by women's cross country (991), men's golf (986) and women's golf (981).
"“I am very appreciative and proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff for their continued dedication and efforts in reaching for academic success, and the most recent NCAA data fully supports their hard work,” WSU athletic director Bill Moos said in a press release. “They place their academic pursuits on par with their athletic endeavors and I continue to be pleased at what they are able to accomplish and how well they represent this fine university.”
More on WSU's APR performance after the jump.
Ernie Kent landed his third basketball recruit at Washington State on Tuesday, and the Cougars fourth in the class of 2015 when Nyaires "Ny" Redding sent in his National Letter of Intent. Redding is a 6-foot-2, 180 pound guard from Solon Ohio via Westwind Prep in Arizona.
"Our system requires us to have very heady guard play and we are continuing to put together a group that we think is going to be outstanding for the future of Washington State basketball," Kent said in a press release. "In Ny we have a player that is not only smart, but also is very skilled on both ends of the floor."
Nyaires Redding – The son of a D-I coach and is a very athletic and strong wing. He is an outstanding ball handler and controls the tempo of the game. He averages 5.7 assists to every 1 turnover he makes. He is a mid-major player that has a high ceiling. He is a lock-down defender. The negative aspects of his game include his court vision; he tends to make the hard pass instead of the easy one. He is an NCAA qualifier and carries a 4.0 GPA.
Men's basketball player Jackie Davis signed a national letter of intent with Washington State today, becoming WSU's 11th scholarship player and new coach Ernie Kent's second signee. Here is what we wrote about Davis when he gave a verbal commitment to play for WSU back in April.
Davis is the third player to sign with WSU in the class of 2014, joining junior college forward Aaron Cheatum and point guard Tramaine Isabell from Seattle's Garfield High School, who originally committed to previous coach Ken Bone. The 6-foot-3 guard from Rolling Hills High School in Long Beach, California averaged 23.6 points, 3.6 assists and 5.4 rebounds after transferring from Allen High School in Allen, Texas.
"Jackie Davis is a very versatile basketball player that can play multiple positions," Kent said in a press release. "He fits perfectly in our system because of his skill set, his ability to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball, and play the game in the open court. He is a very gifted athlete and I'm sure Cougar fans will come to enjoy his athleticism and his ability to play the game."
From Pullman — Well, the 2013-14 Washington State football season is in the books. Or maybe we've just finished the first chapter of the 2014-15 one. The "chicken or the egg" of college football.
The Cougars had practice No. 15 yesterday, kicking off the offseason. Here is our practice report and our story on Graham Harrell, the newest member of the coaching staff. We've also got a baseball notebook.
A look at some Oregon State salaries … Which Pac-12 players might go in the NFL Draft's first round … Former Cal quarterback Zach Kline won't be heading to Oregon State after all … Next year the Pac-12 Networks show The Drive will feature UCLA.
From Pullman — It was a return to the spotlight for the Washington State football team, which played its spring game yesterday in Spokane in front of a few thousand fans and anyone who wanted to watch it on TV (except you poor DirecTV subscribers). As far as spring games go, it was another one. The Crimson appeared to be the better squad but the game made a game of it once it stopped turning the ball over. I wrote a game story and put up a blog post with some additional thoughts from the game. John Blanchette says that WSU's secondary proved its mettle during the game. Hard to argue with four picks.
We're about to start the spring game here in Spokane but I wanted to pass along the news that Ernie Kent appears to have secured another recruit for the men's basketball team. Jackie Davis has passed on scholarship offers from Tulsa and Penn State according to Josh Gershon of Scout.com.
ESPN rates Davis the No. 92 point guard in the class of 2014 and a two-star player. A scouting report on the ESPN site says that:
Davis is physical point guard with a Chauncey Billups type of frame. Due to his strength and solid handle, he can carry defenders on his hip and make plays with his head up. He is best in the open court where he separate from pressure…
From Pullman — Yesterday Washington State had a good, old-fashioned Friday news dump. Funny thing was, none of the news were bad. Ernie Kent got his first two recruits as WSU basketball coach. The first was a forward, Aaron Cheatum, who signed his NLI yesterday. The second was a coach, Curtis Allen, who will remain at WSU as Kent's third and final assistant. Yesterday we had another live chat and put up our Five Questions segment with River Cracraft.
From Pullman — The third and final member of men's basketball coach Ernie Kent's staff is a familiar face. Curtis Allen came to WSU as an assistant under former coach Ken Bone and will remain in the same capacity under Kent. Allen was named the team's interim coach by athletic director Bill Moos during the coaching search and has been on the road with Kent recruiting for the past week.
More after the jump.
From Pullman — Multiple recruiting websites are reporting that East Los Angeles CC power forward Aaron Cheatum (6-7, 240) made a verbal commitment to Washington State last night, making him the first recruit for new basketball coach Ernie Kent at WSU. Assistant coach Greg Graham reportedly took the lead on Cheatum's recruitment.
He joins Tramaine Isabell as the second member of WSU's class of 2014. According to Cougfan.com's Braulio Perez, WSU sophomore guard Que Johnson and Cheatum were AAU teammates in high school.
According to Cheatum he chose the Cougars over scholarship offers from Central Florida, Tulane, Idaho and others. He becomes WSU's 10th scholarship player, meaning Kent has three more spots available should he choose to use them.
Cheatum was a sophomore this past season and will have two seasons of eligibility at WSU as well as a redshirt year available. The 2013 South Coast Conference Player of the Year averaged 15.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
From Pullman — Some good news for the Washington State football team came down last night when Austin Joyner announced his intentions to play for the Cougars. Joyner is listed as a four-star running back but it appears he'll play cornerback at WSU. Yesterday we also posted some notes following an interview with athletic director Bill Moos.
In other Pac-12 news Washington unveiled its new football uniforms and they sure are uniforms … An Arizona basketball recruit's prep career is ending with a bang … A departing Oregon assistant is going to get a quarter million dollars every year from the public employee pension fund … Gonzaga added a head-to-head series against UCLA.
UPDATE: Somehow I missed John Blanchette's column on the Gonzaga series. Forgive me.
From Pullman — Yesterday we reported that the Washington State men's basketball team will play Gonzaga in Spokane again next season as part of a three-year contract. The news drew a wide range of reactions from people like our own Vince Grippi, to CougCenter's Jeff Nusser to Barry Bolton ($) of Cougfan. Today I caught up with Bill Moos and we chatted about the series with Gonzaga, as well as some other items.
Those notes after the jump.
From Pullman — Football practice meant that I couldn't get this blog post up until now, but earlier I tweeted the news that Washington State will play Gonzaga in Spokane for the second straight year next season as part of a three-year contract. The terms of the contract say that Gonzaga will host WSU the first year (this past season), the teams will play a "neutral site" game at Spokane Arena in the second year (next season) with a game in Pullman during the third and final year.
It's likely that the schools will split the revenue from next year's game but I haven't been able to confirm that. I should have more tomorrow.
From Pullman — There weren't any signing day surprises for Washington State basketball fans on Wednesday, but new coach Ernie Kent still has more than a month left to fill out his four remaining roster spots. It was a somewhat slow day for WSU news but we held another live chat and put up our Five Questions blog post with defensive lineman Xavier Cooper. CougCenter has a good look at WSU scholarship situation. We're getting closer to the NFL Draft and Deone Bucannon is visiting teams.
Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis gives his take on Cal's coaching hire … A pair of Bruins make their decision to go pro official … As did Arizona State's Jahii Carson … Washington receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow received his sentence yesterday.
Bonus Link: This story on Yasiel Puig's defection from Cuba is great.
From Pullman — Today got a lot more interesting with the news yesterday that a pair of players will transfer from the Washington State men's basketball program. Their open scholarships, along with that of signee Jermaine Morgan who will be released from his National Letter of Intent, mean that WSU could sign as many as four players in the late signing period, which runs from today until May 21.
The football team practiced yesterday and we have a practice report and a story on Sebastian LaRue's transition to cornerback. We also put up a Q&A with strength coach Jason Loscalzo this weekend. The baseball team beat Gonzaga in Spokane and Chris Derrick was on hand to write the recap … Cal has found its new men's basketball coach … The NCAA has agreed to let athletes have unlimited meals … The Ducks have been moving at an unusually slow pace.
Join us at 11 a.m. for a live WSU chat.
From Pullman — Royce Woolridge and James Hunter will transfer from the Washington State University basketball program, the school announced on Tuesday. Additionally, signee Jermaine Morgan has been released from his National Letter of Intent and will not enroll at WSU.
From Pullman — If you can make it out to Martin Stadium today you'll have a chance to watch Washington State's first football scrimmage of the spring. More on that here. The team got a new addition yesterday when former Boise State running back Aaron Baltazar announced he was transferring to WSU.
Washington's freshman point guard is seriously considering whether or not to turn pro … Arizona State is trying to put a positive spin on a new fee for students … UCLA's record number of basketball championships could be in jeopardy.
Also, Todd, the winner of our tournament challenge, has made his email on Yahoo! private. Please contact me Todd so we can get you your prize or we'll have to move to the next highest scorer.
If you're in Spokane tomorrow, April 9, and would like to get to know WSU's new men's basketball coach drop by the Davenport Hotel in Downtown Spokane from 7-8:30 p.m. for a free reception. It sounds like there will be some food provided, but make sure to RSVP here.
From Pullman — We have a new champions in college basketball, and it's Todd, winner of our tournament bracket challenge. Todd finished with 79 points and 40 correct picks. Congratulations, Todd, I'll reach out to you on Yahoo about your prize information but if for some reason I can't get ahold of you, shoot me an email at email@example.com.
The rest of you will have to settle for some links as a consolation prize.
- The WSU baseball team moved to 6-3 in Pac-12 play with a series sweep of California.
- Andrew Crookston takes a look at what unionization could mean for WSU.
- Arizona is still waiting for a quarterback to take control.
- Oregon senior point guard Johnathan Loyd has joined the football team.
- Although other positions are in flux, Washington should be set along the defensive line.
From Pullman — Lot of news following a lengthy introductory press conference for new Washington State men's basketball coach Ernie Kent.
- Here's our story on WSU's buzzy hire.
- We've got some reaction from WSU signee Tramaine Isabell.
- Here's some video, notes and quotes from the press conference.
- Here's Bud Withers' on the column from the presser.
- And here is one from SportsPressNW's Howie Stalwick.
- And in football news here are five questions with Sebastian LaRue.
From Pullman — While the excitement of a new basketball coach had Washington State students in a tizzy this afternoon, it's been a bitter few weeks for WSU signee Tramaine Isabell. The point guard out of Garfield high school in Seattle committed to coach Ken Bone originally and signed a National Letter of Intent in the fall.
More after the jump.
Ernie Kent was introduced to the media today. We've got a lengthy story for tomorrow's paper but here are some addition details:
- Kent's contract will be for five years at $1.4 million per year. It begins with a $2 million buyout, which "dwindles" in each subsequent year. At the end of each year athletic director Bill Moos will have the option of adding an additional year.
- Moos added that he doesn't always add the year, saying, "To tell you the truth, with Ernie at Oreogn we had a couple of off years and I didn’t roll it. And I’ll never forget that he said ‘I’ll earn that back’ and that was 07 when they won the Pac-12 tournament and went to the Elite Eight and lost to Florida, so he got that year back."
- Kent runs a continuity motion offense. In that offense the guard positions are interchangeable as are the post positions, hopefully mitigating WSU's lack of a point guard on the roster.
- Here's Royce Woolridge on the hire: "Extremely excited, once we finally heard who our new coach was we were ecstatic because we were waiting for about a week and a half. There was a lot of anxiety but now that we know it’s coach Kent I’m extremely excited, the whole team is excited."
Follow the jump for videos from Kent's introductory press conference, courtesy of the Pac-12 and WSU athletics.
From Pullman — Just like that the Cougars are 20 percent of the way through spring football practice. They're also just a few hours away from officially introducing Ernie Kent as the new men's basketball coach. Keep an eye out for our coverage from that. Today we'll be having another live chat at noon to talk about both football and basketball. Brush up with yesterday's practice report and our story on WSU's visitor. We've also got our weekly college baseball notebook featuring coach Donnie Marbut's return.
From Pullman — Lots of links following yesterday's big news that Ernie Kent was hired as the WSU men's basketball coach. Follow the jump and we'll direct you to the news in bullet form.