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Sports >  WSU basketball

Standout post Mouhamed Gueye to return to Washington State for sophomore season

June 7, 2022 Updated Wed., June 8, 2022 at 1:56 p.m.

Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye, left, stands on the court during a game against Eastern Washington on Nov. 27 at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman.  (Geoff Crimmins/For the Spokesman-Review)
Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye, left, stands on the court during a game against Eastern Washington on Nov. 27 at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman. (Geoff Crimmins/For the Spokesman-Review)
By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

Washington State fans waited anxiously for Mouhamed Gueye to make his decision. Now, the Cougar faithful can rest easy.

After spending a month exploring his professional and transfer options, the standout 6-foot-11 post from Senegal has elected to return to the Pullman school for his sophomore season, according to a report posted Tuesday to Twitter by CBS analyst Jon Rothstein.

Gueye declared for the NBA draft on April 24 and entered the transfer portal shortly afterward. He participated in the G League Elite Camp in April and worked out for the Portland Trail Blazers last week before withdrawing from the draft pool.

After backing out of the draft, Gueye remained in the transfer portal, but the Cougs wouldn’t be beaten in their second recruiting battle for the four-star (247) forward/center, who made an immediate impact at WSU as a true freshman in 2021-22 and enters his sophomore year as “one of the most promising returning big men in the country,” ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony wrote.

Last offseason, the Prolific Prep (Napa, California) product chose WSU over Kansas and became the Cougs’ third-highest rated recruit of the past two decades. ESPN reported that Gueye – the No. 4 player on its transfer rankings – had been “heavily pursued” over the last month by Arizona, UCLA, Florida, Mississippi State and USC, among others.

An “elite defender,” coach Kyle Smith said last season, with a fast-developing touch on offense, Gueye landed on the All-Pac-12 freshman team after starting 33 games and averaging 22 minutes, 7.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and just under one block per game for the 22-win Cougars, who advanced to the semifinal round of the NIT.

“I decided to go back to Washington State to help finish what we started and to keep getting better as a player and a person,” Gueye told Givony.

He emerged as an NBA prospect while still a rookie in college. So, what might Gueye accomplish as a sophomore?

“Next season will be different because I will have more responsibility,” he said, “and going through the draft process I learned and experienced a lot and I feel like my confidence went up and will carry to the season. I just want to get better in every aspect of the game and be the best version of myself.

“I think I will have more tasks offensively and defensively.”

Expectations will surround Gueye and the Cougars’ revamped frontcourt heading into the 2022-23 season. WSU brings back bruising center Dishon Jackson for his junior year, and the Cougs made key additions this offseason in four-star 7-foot freshman Adrame Diongue – who also hails from Senegal – and Mael Hamon-Crespin, a skilled post player from France.

“I have a high expectation for our team this upcoming year,” Gueye told ESPN. “We have some new guys and some that have been here before, so we’re going to try our best to be one of the best teams in the country.”

Efe Abogidi, who started for two seasons in the Cougar frontcourt and declared for the NBA draft in April, is reportedly expected to sign a contract with G League Ignite, thereby ending his college career. Even so, WSU will be well-stocked in the paint this year.

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