Mar 12, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington State Cougars forward Junior Longrus (15) dunks against Stanford Cardinal forward Dwight Powell (33) and forward Josh Huestis (24) during the second half in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. The Cardinal defeated the Cougars 74-63. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been a while since we’ve talked both WSU men’s basketball and football in the month of March. Though the Cougars are not competing in the NCAA Tournament this year, WSU fans have felt the madness of March for the last two weeks ever since Ken Bone was let go.
Cougar nation is still anticipating on who WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos will hire as the next men’s basketball head coach. While Moos has kept quiet about who’s on his list, there have been reports that it’s looking like either former Oregon men’s basketball Head Coach Ernie Kent or former WSU/Oklahoma/Indiana men’s basketball Head Coach Kelvin Sampson.
However WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos would not confirm those reports on Monday and announced that he hopes to fulfill the coaching position in the next 10-14 days.
“I’m not going to talk about candidates until I introduce the new coach,” Moos said.
While I’m still crossing my fingers that Moos pulls the trigger and gives Arizona men’s basketball Assistant Coach Damon Stoudamire a chance to coach the Cougs, hiring Kent would not be a bad choice. The former Oregon coach not only knows the game of basketball inside/out, but he can RECRUIT. Before the money started pouring into University of Oregon, Kent was able to convince players like Aaron Brooks, and Luke Ridnour that they could win in Eugene despite the poor facilities.
Under Kent, the Ducks appeared in five NCAA Tournaments including two trips to the Elite Eight. He’s won a Pac-10 (now Pac-12) Conference Coach of the Year Award, and two (Pac-10) conference titles. He’s sat front row and watched the Cougars play all of last season since he’s a commentator for the Pac-12 Networks, and knows this team’s strengths and weaknesses. Moos will be busy and will think hard about this decision because the last thing he wants is to see another five years of not making the NCAA Tournament.
Switching to the football field, ladies and gentlemen Cougar Football is back. The WSU football team will take the field this Thursday for their first practice of the Spring. After leading the Cougars to their first bowl game in ten years, head football coach Mike Leach is expecting big things this upcoming season.
“We’re really excited about the spring,” Leach said. “Spring really is one of the funnest times of the year, because you can experiment and look at some stuff and see where your players are at. There’ll be some people that emerge.”
Players that will have to emerge this off-season will be found throughout the entire WSU secondary. WSU freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown is listed on the spring roster which is a good sign, but besides Brown only ONE other starter from last season will be returning to the secondary this season, free safety Taylor Taliulu. Defensive backs such as David Bucannon, Darius Lemora, Charleston White and Marcellus Pippins will need to take advantage of Spring ball and prepare themselves for the Fall.
For those who still have a fond memory of 2013 recruiting, former four star wide receiver and Texas A&M wide receiver Sebastian LaRue will be suiting up in Cougar gear on Thursday. LaRue is still waiting to hear from the NCAA if he’ll be granted eligibility to play this upcoming season or be forced to sit out for a year due to the league’s policy on transferring. Either way it’ll be exciting to see LaRue compete and learn the Air Raid offense this spring.
And finally we can’t forget the quarterbacks. After redshirting last season, WSU freshman quarterback Tyler Bruggman will finally get a chance to showcase his talents and compete for the starting quarterback job. Though WSU redshirt senior quarterback Connor Halliday will likely be the starter heading into camp, doesn’t mean anything’s guaranteed. Leach stuck with Halliday all of last season, but he’ll be keeping an eye on Bruggman.
–Evan Baron (Follow Me On Twitter: @Evan_Baron)