Jan 18, 2014; Berkeley, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Que Johnson (32) passes the ball to center Jordan Railey (20) against California Golden Bears forward Richard Solomon (35) during the second half at Haas Pavilion. The California Golden Bears defeated the Washington State Cougars 76-55. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Ernie Kent now has his full staff ready to hit the recruiting trail after officially hiring Curtis Allen as his third assistant at Washington State.
Allen has serious recruiting ties to the Seattle area and has been a key cog in the recruiting wheel over the past five seasons. That span of course runs the course of the Ken Bone era, where recruiting seemed to take a substantial dip.
In fact you may be saying to yourself, why would we want to retain a coach that’s been part of these past five or so classes? After all WSU is largely undermanned when it comes to Pac-12 caliber talent in the current program and Bone had Seattle ties. How does this hire make sense?
The most important aspect still works out to be that Allen has strong connections on the West side. Yes, I’ve mentioned that before but it bares repeating because while Bone wanted to make inroads in Seattle, Kent wants to build a venerable farm-system. Allen’s continued commitment to holding important and talented Coug-commit Tremaine Isabell (perhaps the best point guard in the state of Washington) to his letter of intent gives great credence to just how in-tune Allen is.
Isabell is ranked 3-stars, the second-best prospective PG and the fifth overall prospect in the state of WA by ESPN. With Creighton, Oregon, Gonzaga, Seattle U and Providence lurking, it would have been easy for Isabell to move on when the coaching change took place. Instead, though Kent didn’t technically recruit him, Isabell will likely be the gem of Kent’s first class. Curtis Allen is to thank, and thank him Kent has.
More of the importance of retaining Allen is the personal connection he holds with Rotary, where Kent coached Allen back in the day, before Allen went on to play for the University of Washington. Plenty of talent has come out of Seattle, currently no less than 15 NBA players hail from the Emerald City.
The list includes (not limited to) Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry, Nate Robinson, Luke Ridnour and Aaron Brooks (both of whom Kent coached at Oregon), Brandon Roy, Quincy Pondexter, Spencer Hawes and Jon Brockman (the final four went to the UW).
Not a single NBA baller from Seattle hails from Washington State University and clearly Kent aims to change that. Retaining Allen and his connections with the one of the most influential basketball prep-destinations in the city Kent aims to take over was obviously too key to avoid. Kent put into perspective just how excited he is for his new coaching addition in the WSU press release.
"“I feel like it’s important to have someone on staff who knows the players, the academic and campus communities and the recent history of the program, and Curtis Allen provides that. I feel like with the experienced coaches I’ve brought to the staff in Silvey Dominguez and Greg Graham, along with Curtis, we have the opportunity to be very successful here.”– WSU Head Coach Ernie Kent"
Allen’s understandably excited as well to have his job back under a new coach:
"I’m really excited to join Coach Kent’s staff. He’s been successful at the highest level and his style of play is very exciting. I look forward to representing Coach Kent and to continue to represent Washington State University, while helping the young men in this program grow as both players and people.”– WSU Asst. Curtis Allen"
With three spots left to fill in the 2014 class, it’s time to get (back) to work for Kent, Allen and the rest of the Cougar coaching staff.