PULLMAN – Nearly a month ago, he stood next to Kyle Smith, wrapped his arm around Washington State’s recently-introduced coach and expressed excitement about the opportunity to become a foundational piece for the new era of Cougar basketball.
Now Marvin Cannon is reconsidering his future with WSU.
Cannon, a springy junior college transfer who held the second-best free throw percentage in the Pac-12 last season, has entered the NCAA transfer portal, The Spokesman-Review learned Tuesday through a source.
The Richmond, Virginia, native originally signed with WSU and fomer coach Ernie Kent, but unlike a few of his teammates, Cannon seemed deadset on returning to the Cougars in 2019-20 amid the coaching transition.
When Smith was formally introduced in a press conference on April 1, Cannon and guard Jervae Robinson were invited to speak with reporters about the coaching change. Both affirmed their commitment to Smith and seemed enthused about the “Nerdball” style the coach was bringing to Pullman from San Franciscso.
They also talked proudly about being two of the eight returning players who’d lay the foundation for the new regime of WSU basketball.
“You can tell off the gate that his energy is really good,” Cannon said. “He wants to be here and he wants to help us. So I’m going to welcome him, we all – the ‘Elite Eight’ as he calls us – welcome him with open arms and just here for him and just ready to work for him.”
Now, at least two members of that original eight-player group could be playing somewhere other than Pullman in 2019-20. On Tuesday, The Spokesman-Review confirmed a CougCenter report that 6-foot-7 wing Chance Moore had left the basketball program.
While losing Cannon may not be considered a substantial blow to the program, the 6-foot-5 forward was WSU’s third-leading scorer in 2018-19, averaging 7.9 ppg and 8.7 in Pac-12 play, and his free throw percentage of 84.4 was second in the conference behind only teammate Robert Franks. Cannon played in all 32 games for WSU, made 20 starts and would’ve been the team’s second-leading returning scorer, presuming CJ Elleby comes back for his sophomore season.
Cannon, a sophomore who had three seasons of eligibility at WSU after transfering from Barton Community College, showed glimpses of his potential throughout the season, erupting for a career-high 25 points against Washington while grabbing eight rebounds. He also scored 20 points against Rider and led the Cougars in blocked shots, with 23 on the season.
With Cannon’s potential departure, it’s possible that as many as five non-seniors from the 2018-19 team won’t be returning this fall. Moore and sharpshooter Carter Skaggs both transferred out, while two other former junior college players – Isaiah Wade and Ahmed Ali – have entered the NCAA transfer portal. Cannon, Wade and Ali are all still listed on WSU’s roster.
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