The last couple weeks for Ernie Kent have been spent becoming acquainted with his new te..."/> The last couple weeks for Ernie Kent have been spent becoming acquainted with his new te..."/>

Ernie Kent’s Cougars Face Busy Late Signing Period


The last couple weeks for Ernie Kent have been spent becoming acquainted with his new team, and enjoying the glamour of being a recently hired Pac-12 basketball coach. But Wednesday marked an immediate change. The first day of the late signing period for 2014 recruits began Wednesday and the Washington State Cougars have work to do to round-out their roster for the 2014-2015 season.

WSU goes into the period with four scholarships available after the announcement was made that guard Royce Woolridge and forward James Hunter are transferring, while forward Jermaine Morgan was granted a release from his scholarship. The Cougars have already secured Garfield High School’s three-star guard Tramaine Isabell. The big question is, how will they approach filling these four remaining scholarships?

With the graduation of forward D.J. Shelton, the Cougars lose their leading rebounder and most athletic big man. The Cougars will return true big men Jordan Railey and Josh Hawkinson. Seven-footer Jordan Railey has the most experience of the duo, averaging more than 16 minutes a game last season. However, Hawkinson averaged less than seven minutes a game. With coach Kent’s high-octane offense, expect the Cougars to make an effort to attract an athletic big man that can run the floor and crash the glass.

In the backcourt, the Cougars return a strong core of their rotation from last season. Future senior guard DaVonte Lacy has proven to be one of the best scorers in the Pac-12. Soon to be a sophomore, guard Que Johnson showed flashes of his potential last season averaging 9.5 points per game. Johnson showed he can handle the bulk of the scoring as well, scoring 14.1 points per game while filling in for Lacy after he missed time with an appendectomy and a rib injury.

Guard Ike Iroegbu is set to return for his sophomore season after showing glimpses of his ability last season. With the arrival of freshman Tramaine Isabell, the Cougars will have a true point guard to handle the basketball and control the offense. An area they truly lacked during last season.

Coach Kent will need ball handlers in the backcourt and also look for Kent to focus on tough individual defenders. Kent’s teams may not play Tony Bennett team-style defense, but his teams have been known to have strong individual defenders that give opposing players fits.

The final weeks of the 2014 recruiting period will be one to watch for the Cougars. Coach Kent had time to relish his return to coaching, but now it’s time for him to act on his word and lead the Cougars back to the NCAA Tournament.