El Tesoro’s Tanner Lancona, from Las Flores, CA has decommitted from Washington State hoops yesterday. This according to Braulio Perez, senior correspondent at CF.c, who took a brief comment from Lanconna stating that he has indeed decommitted.
The addition of Junior College point guard Danny Lawhorn had put the Cougars over the limit for available scholarships, but I think it was almost pre-meditated by Cougar faithful that someone already in the program was losing their spot, not that someone coming in was going to bail or be squeezed out. To be fair, according to the Perez report, the decision was mostly “mutual” so maybe there was something that the coaching staff saw that told them that Lancona wasn’t going to be a solid piece for at least a couple years in their rotation.
I question that. I question it right now and I might question it for the next 5 years.
Maybe I’m not watching the same game film. Maybe I haven’t seen enough basketball. The prevailing thought among WSU coaches is that Tanner Lancona would have been a “developmental” prospect. But I have to be honest, at 6’8″, 225 lbs Lancona looks much more polished than Josh Hawkinson (6’9″, 235 lbs) who is another big man the Cougs have committed and the coaches are VERY high on Hawkinson. Not only that but Lancona’s competition in California was probably higher than the competition in Washington and the stats were pretty identical between them.
He also looks like a better, more explosive scorer than both Brett Boese and Junior Longrus, who are the other options at power forward on the roster after DJ Shelton graduates next season. Mind you, Longrus seemed to be finding his Pac-12 level stride late in the season in extended minutes, so that’s still to be determined, but the point remains that this kid can score and has a lot more range than either of those previously mentioned players. Lancona reminds me of Brock Motum, less deliberate, less polished in college-level one-on-one ability, but more explosive around the rim and the same type of scorer from all over the court. He’s a lefty to boot, which will make him more difficult to guard.
I wonder exactly what didn’t stand out about that to Ken Bone and his assistants to make them fight for his services? Obviously, originally they were very excited about his role in the program. Maybe Lancona wanted immediate playing time because he feels (as do I) that he’s ready to contribute and maybe the coaching staff sees more than what I’m seeing in Brett Boese and/or James Hunter. Even if he redshirted his first year with Shelton and Longrus and Boese in the rotation, once Shelton graduated he was going to become a big part real quickly, but Bone maybe didn’t see it like that.
Hopefully, the Cougs didn’t totally miss out on a star here. Personally, I think they might have. And not that I don’t like what Hawkinson brings to the table, I just think WSU had a productive forward both offensively and defensively that could have made a fast transition, and now he’s gone… “mutually.”
Before his original commitment Lancona had received a lot of interest from Clemson, Hawaii, USC and others. Now Scout.com has him interested in several schools, including USC, Cal and Utah. Wouldn’t it be horribly ironic if he still ends up in the Pac-12 and terrorizes the Cougs for the majority of the next 5 seasons? Just hope that doesn’t happen.