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Top basketball recruit Roberto Gittens to attend JC, not WSU this fall

Washington State coach Ernie Kent won’t have the services of four-star recruit Roberto Gittens this season. (Young Kwak / AP)

PULLMAN – The crown jewel of Washington State’s 2017 basketball recruiting class won’t suit up for the Cougars this season.

Roberto Gittens, a four-star small forward from Tacoma’s Foss High School, failed to hit academic standards and will attend junior college, WSU announced Tuesday morning.

“Roberto worked hard this summer and unfortunately came up a little bit short and will be attending junior college,” coach Ernie Kent said. “We wish him well.”

Gittens said Tuesday on Twitter he remains committed to a future with the WSU’s basketball program.

At 12:55 p.m., he posted the following tweet: “Takin a different route to WSU u guys will c me on campus soon! thanks so much to WSU & FOSS HS coaching staffs..still committed #GoCougs

Most expected Gittens to start as a freshman for a Cougar team that lost four of its five starters to graduation. The 2A Washington Player of the Year was WSU’s first four-star prospect since Klay Thompson.

Gittens led the Falcons to the State 2A title after averaging 22 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and two blocks last season.

The one-time Boise State commit reopened his commitment in April and inked with the Cougars in May.

The Cougars have two scholarships remaining with the possibility of adding more student-athletes for the coming year. The current incoming class includes graduate transfer Drick Bernstine (6-8, 220, Aurora Colorado/North Dakota), junior college transfers Davante Cooper (F, 6-11, 233, Atlanta, Georgia/Tyler JC-Texas) and Kwinton Hinson (G, 6-4, 215, Fairmont, North Carolina/Tyler JC-Texas) and walk-on TJ Mickelson (G, 6-1, 160, Olympia/Capital HS).

WSU went 13-18 overall last year and 6-12 in Pac-12 Conference play. The Cougars bowed out of the conference tournament with a 73-63 loss to Colorado.