PULLMAN – Seven of the 13 players on Ernie Kent’s 2018-19 roster came to Washington State after brief stints at junior colleges scattered throughout the country.
The Juco influence on this particular WSU team is heavy and it’ll be even more so in 2019-20 after Kent inked two JC players Wednesday, getting signatures from Daron Henson of Salt Lake Community College and Ryan Murphy of New Mexico Junior College.
But both also have playing experience at the NCAA Division I level.
Henson is a 6-7, 210-pound power forward who transferred to SLCC this season after spending two years at Utah State. He should be a nice additon to a team that loses a pair of seniors in its frontcourt next season: 6-7 Robert Franks and 6-11 Davante Cooper.
Murphy, a 6-2, 192-pound guard, chose the junior college path after two seasons at Conference USA program Charlotte. The Cougars lose one guard, senior Viont’e Daniels, to graduation.
A Pasadena, California, native, Henson played at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles alongside Milan Acquaah, the former WSU guard who transferred to Cal Baptist this offseason. Cathedral High has also produced a trio of Cougar football players: Renard Bell, Jamire Calvin and Halid Djibril.
Through four games at SLCC this season, Henson is averaging 14 points per game and 6.3 rebounds. He fits Kent’s prototype of a big man that can shoot and has made 10-of-25 (40 percent) shots from behind the arc.
Henson redshirted for the USU Aggies in 2016-17, but appeared in 33 games and made one start last season. He posted seven double-figure scoring games and had a season-high 18 points against Fresno State and had a game-winning 3-pointer to beat the Bulldogs. Henson made 38-of-99 3-pointers for 38 percent, but shot just 46-of-133 from the field.
Through six contests at NMCC this year, Murphy is leading his team with 17.2 ppg and making 47 percent of his shots from the field. The Thunderbirds are currently unbeaten at 7-0.
The Calabasas, California, native made five starts in 19 games at Charlotte last season after redshirting in 2016-17. Murphy averaged 6.7 points and 1.2 rebounds for the 49ers and had his season-high against Old Dominion, with 27 points on 6-of-6 from the three-point line.
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