Isaac Bonton may be down to his final games in a Washington State uniform, but the Cougars are already bracing for the potential departure of their senior point guard.
One of the top 3-point shooters in Division II basketball from the 2019-20 season announced his transfer to WSU on Wednesday, giving the Cougars two incoming guards next season.
Tyrell Roberts, a former UC San Diego guard who led the Tritons to a 30-1 record in 2019-20 before opting out of the 2020-21 season – UCSD’s first as a Division I school – committed to WSU on Twitter, giving Kyle Smith’s backcourt a sharpshooter who should contribute immediately next season.
“Let’s rock,” Roberts tweeted.
During Roberts’ redshirt sophomore season at UCSD, the guard averaged 19.2 points per game to go with 3.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists . Roberts shot 46.4% from 3-point range – the eighth-best shooting clip among Division II players – and was also eighth nationally with 3.58 made 3-pointers per game.
UCSD went 30-1 during the 2019-20 season and finished the year on a 22-game winning streak. The Tritons won the CCAA Tournament and were scheduled to play Western Washington in the NCAA West Regional before the season was shut down.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound guard was an NABC All-American selection – the second in UCSD Division II history – in addition to being named the CCAA Most Valuable Player and CCAA Tournament MVP. Roberts set the school record for most 3-pointers made in a single season (111) and set a CCAA Tournament single-game scoring record when he scored 45 points against Cal State East Bay.
As a redshirt freshman, Roberts was named the CCAA Newcomer of the Year, averaging 14.0 points per game to go with 3.6 rebounds . He shot 35% from the 3-point line and started in 31 of 32 games for UCSD.
Roberts will join at least one other incoming player, Myles Rice, ahead of the 2021-22 season.
A native of Tyrone, Georgia, Rice is considered a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com and chose the Cougars over mostly midmajor Division I schools in the South.
The NCAA is awarding all players another year of eligibility, so Bonton will have the option to return to WSU for a second senior season, although most signs point to the high-scoring guard leaving college to pursue professional basketball.
Even without Bonton, the Cougars should have better depth in the backcourt next season. Robert and Rice project as players who could play immediately and WSU will also have the services of Jefferson Koulibaly, a combo guard who hasn’t played this season because of an injury.
The Cougars also expect to return sophomores Noah Williams and Ryan Rapp, along with versatile freshman TJ Bamba.
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