Happy Tuesday to you Cougar Nation!
Hopefully your Tuesday hasn’t been spent shoveling snow and scraping your windshield, but boy is it sure chilly and icy here in western Washington. Sort of like the Cougars shooting towards the end of the game on Sunday, huh? I’d say that’s an apt metaphor.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out why we were beaten at UW. We were dominated on the glass, to the tune of 44-20. In-fact, the Dawgs had more offensive boards (21) than we had total boards. Early in the game, our Zone Defense forced the Dawgs to take ugly contested shots, but in the second half (more like the final quarter) of the game, everything fell for them.
The good news is that some big men are headed our way beginning next year.
Coach Bone’s first three recruiting classes at Wazzu consisted of a dozen guys. Of that 12, Motum, Bjornstad, Simon, DKD, Brown, Shelton and Sequele were Forwards or Centers. Bjornstad hung his high tops up without ever really seeing the court. Anthony Brown, who was never really going to be a Forward for us transferred, and Greg Sequele wound up at a small school somewhere in Idaho. In addition to the departures, Charlie Enquist was never expected to hold his own against other legitmate guys down low and DeAngelo Casto left WSU for greener pastures. To further compound the issue, Dexter Kernich-Drew is probably a 3 Guard, Patrick Simon a 3 or 4, and Motum, while having an outstanding Junior campaign, is not a true Big Man.
So where does that leave us?
Well, with three recruiting classes down that means we’ve only got one guy on today’s roster that is a legit Big. After transferring in from a JuCo, Shelton wasn’t quite ready for the speed of big-time basketball. He was also suspended a handful of games for an alleged violation of team rules. I do recall seeing his name in the Pullman Police Log back in August, but this must have been something else. Shelton has picked it up considerably the last few weeks, but he still has a ways to go before he can become a starter. I have been impressed with his finishing at the rim ability the last few games, hopefully he can become an Ivory Clark type force for us on both ends of the floor. The good news is we have two more years of his service beyond this season!
Bone’s 2012 class should provide us some relief down low. We have a highly touted Center, in Toronto’s Richard Peters. Peters, who checks in at 6’10″, 260 lbs, chose the Cougs over offers from Auburn, Clemson, Seton Hall and UW, after decommitting from Oklahoma. You can follow him on Twitter, here.
In addition to Peters, Richard Longrus and Brett Boese will be part of the 2012 class, and both are currently listed as Small Forwards.
Let’s hope these guys can team with Shelton and provide some much needed help down low.
Moving on from basketball.
As I mentioned last week, a monster recruiting weekend took place Friday-Sunday for Mike Leach & Co. Official visitors were about a dozen, a handful of whom were already committed. Of those who were not committed, two have already made their Crimson pledges! I believe both were one-time SMU commits, but after June Jones flirted with Lisa Love at Arizona State, these guys began looking elsewhere.
One recruit is four-star WR Gabriel Marks, and the other is three star LB Kache Palacio. In addition to those two, LB Jeremiah Allison and Jake Eldrenkamp both reportedly enjoyed their time on the Palouse as well. ESPN is reporting WR Robert Lewis was close to giving a verbal commitment on the trip.
Here are some of the things those guys had to say about their time last weekend.
“I had the itch to commit several times but decided I wanted to wait things out and take the rest of my visits. Washington State has everything I’m looking for, though. Coach [Mike] Leach is a great guy and a great offensive minded football coach.”
Lewis told ESPN: “They have great facilities and are committed to building them up even more. Pullman is a real cool place and it’s a nice college town. On the plane ride over, it looked like I was flying in to the middle of nowhere but then you get there and I loved the city and the atmosphere. The people are great and there’s a lot of school pride there. Of course the offense is another big pull and I love how they plan to use me. They want me in the slot catching a lot of balls and returning punts and kicks, too. Me and Gabe (Gabriel Marks) are real close, having him there is huge because if I went there. I would have someone I’m close with and that I’m comfortable with. I know I would meet people no matter where I went, but it would be great to play with Gabe for sure and we would make a good combination.”
Palacio told Barry Bolton of Cougfan: “I really liked being there — I didn’t want to leave. I committed to Washington State, and I’m ready to play right now! It was because everything they said on the trip spoke to me. I had so much fun. We were really talking about football and things but then also about life and family.”
Marks was so excited, he called Bolton from the airport and said: “It was great, I just really felt at home here.”
Meanwhile, Eldrenkamp told Scout.com’s Jake Worthen: “The visit went really well.” It sounds as though he will be going quiet until after his visit this coming weekend to Montlake.
One final bit of news just coming in from Worthen, is Niu Sale, an OG from LA Harbor JC (man I sound like a rapper here), has narrowed his schools down to WSU and ASU. He really enjoyed his visit to Pullman, and the big guy will have three years to play two wherever he winds up. Take a look at Sale’s offer sheet: Auburn, Arkansas, Arizona, KState, Oregon State, SDSU and Utah. If I’ve learned one thing about Leach since he became our coach, it’s that he knows how to recruit!
Keep your eyes tuned over at Cougfan, it’s going to be an exciting three weeks until the fax machines get cranked up and the LOIs start rolling in.
That’s all I have for you today, have a great one!