Feb 27, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ernie Kent (right) interviews Southern California Trojans guard Jio Fontan (1) after the game against the Arizona Wildcats at the Galen Center.USC defeated Arizona 89-78. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jump aboard Cougar fans, news just broke not too long ago that Washington State has hired Ernie Kent as its next men’s basketball coach, replacing the embattled Ken Bone. News was first reported on CougFan and on College AD.
There was little doubt that Kent was always on the short-list of WSU’s athletic director Bill Moos, but there was lots of chatter that he wasn’t actually atop the list. Or at least, a lot of Cougar fans were hoping that wasn’t the case, though I still can’t figure out why.
Dive a little deeper than your preconceived notions of Ernie Kent as a broadcasting analyst for the Pac-12 Networks and a coach that was previously fired from his last job at Oregon. Go back to the previous years of success; two NIT Final Four appearances, five NCAA Tournament appearances (including a couple trips to the Elite 8) and always fun basketball in Eugene.
Now let’s look at what the Cougs have on the roster, then match it up with Kent’s style of basketball. I don’t know about you, but I see a great fit! This should also convince Tremaine Isabell from Garfield High in Seattle to stick around along with Jermaine Morgan, the Moberly JC (Alabama) power forward. While that’s not good enough, the Cougs still have a spot available and are also bringing in Jalen Canty, who is going to be scholarshiped on the football team but playing two sports for the Cougs.
Personally, I think the Cougs are a bit more talented than it has looked in the past couple years, especially at guard. We kind of knew that Bone was never going to get the most out of his players after years one and two, when the talent should’ve easily landed WSU in the Dance, then the NIT the year after. Instead, it was the NIT, the CBI and down to the bottom of the Pac after that.
But enough of that drama, onto the future of Cougar basketball! Despite throwing a few high-profile names into the bucket, Kent was and is one of the most quality names one could have expected in this race. He’s got a great track record as a recruiter (Luke Ridnour, Fred Jones, Luke Jackson and Aaron Brooks all got drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft and other names like Malik Hairston and Bryce Taylor were a huge part of Oregon basketball for years). He’s also got a great track record as a quality individual and is well respected within the Pac-12 community.
All of it adds up to a fantastic hire for Wazzu.