WSU Basketball Recruiting: Mike Leach Sends Special Alley-Oop to the Hard-Court in Canty


Jan 26, 2014; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars marching band performs before a game against the Oregon Ducks at Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

It’s official, even Mike Leach knows the basketball program needs an assist and he was all too willing to accommodate that need to find his defensive line a diamond in the rough. Turns out over the past couple weeks of recruiting that many teams found this particular gem, notably Oregon and Vanderbilt, but they were too late to the party. Or perhaps they just weren’t willing to offer what Leach was willing to offer.

As you know, the Washington State football team got a big commit last night to help out on the field in Martin Stadium, but basketball got the best news they’ve had since the Pac-12 season began almost a month ago as well. This trumps the 49-46 slug fest victory over Utah by about… well, more than 50 points, which would be a nice number to reach these days. Back to relevance though, 6’8, 270 pound power forward Jalen Canty is a 3-star prospect as a bballer according to scout and he’ll be given the opportunity to double up as a baller on the hard-court in Beasley. That’s the happy news.

The sad news is that Canty would probably walk onto the floor sight unseen and start right now, which doesn’t say much for the bball big-men as the roster stands, especially a certain senior. But don’t let that comment fool you into thinking that he wouldn’t deserve to come in and play immediately anyway. WSU basketball rarely gets guys with Canty’s ability to get interested in coming to Pullman. He would be a big coup for any team we’ve ever had here on the Palouse.

Remember when Shaq was a ‘skinny’ dude? Canty’s athleticism is reminiscent… though he hardly has Shaq’s height. This may lead to me referring to him as “#BabyShaqDaddyCanty” for the length of his career, assuming he plays the way this mixtape suggests that he can when he hits the court next winter.

I can only shake my head after watching that ridiculous nonsense, because this is exactly the type of kid at the rim that I always envisioned when DJ Shelton signed, but I think it’s safe to say we’ve been let down and it’s a darn shame. Shelton has become a mid-range to perimeter player who rarely attacks the basket and seldom puts fear into the eyes of a guard driving into the paint. He is strong on the glass, one of the best in the Pac-12 actually, but only when he stays close enough to it to go and get the ball when it caroms off of the rim. It’s a frustrating thing to watch really.

So we have to go back to the likes of Ivory Clark and DeAngelo Casto to get a clearer picture of what this kid could be in a Wazzu uniform.

Pretty easy to get excited about what amounts to the best big-man recruit the Cougs have gotten since the Ken Bone era began. I mean no disrespect to the big kids on campus, but as far as potential, hype and just natural talent coming in, Canty has got to be at the top. There’s no question about it really. Washington, Santa Clara, Nevada, NMSU and others had him on their basketball radar and had extended an offer.

To be completely honest, he’s everything the coaches have avoided in their recruiting of big men; Nasty, ferocious, dirty, blue-collar and best of all, freaking aggressive with a will to finish. He doesn’t hope for a bounce. He doesn’t pray for a roll. He puts it away. I’m sure I don’t have to tell Cougar basketball fans that we don’t know what any of that looks like under the current coaching regime. Canty is in fact exactly the type of player that I have been clamoring for Bone to recruit and I’m fairly certain I’m not alone.

Of course more schools wanted him for football and we may never know just how many would have allowed him to play both, but WSU is in no position to turn him down. Especially when you figure he won’t count against the scholarship total since players are always required by NCAA mandate to count on the football side if they play it. Unfortunately that means the Cougs can’t make him their final available scholarship in basketball to help the football team in their numbers. But it also means the basketball team still has a spot left.

Should be interesting to see which way the Cougars go with that particular offer, now that another big-man is in the fold. It should also be interesting to find out who will be making the final offer with what we know about the state of our basketball program. Will it be Ken Bone, or another coach? (By the way I know you’re wondering if that is a joke or a rhetorical question, but I mean it is possible that Bone would sign someone before his term ends, whether that be at the end of this season or before).

Either way, Canty is a large addition for the basketball team and whoever the coach becomes next season can give a big dap-dap to Leach and the football coaches for the alley-oop. Speaking of which, we might now be able to see an actual alley-oop for the first time since Faisel Aiden to Reggie Moore… you already know of which I speak. Oh lord where have these days gone?:

Go Cougs!