Examining Washington State’s new-look basketball roster after offseason personnel changes

BULLMAN – A dramatic off-season is receding and the dust settling in Washington State.

With only one scholarship place left to fill, the Cougars basketball roster has formed.

It can be difficult to keep track of all the appointments and visits at WSU over the past couple of months – so many players left, then Cougs welcomed the influx of talent – so we’ll catch up with you.

are back

The Cougars held five key pieces from their 2021-22 team, which racked up 22 wins and reached the NIT semi-finals to conclude the program’s best season in a decade.

Of course, the most newsworthy of the returnees is Mohamed Goui, the 6-foot-11 sophomore from Senegal, who tested the NBA water draft and gateway to the NCAA transfer this off-season, but decided at the time Earlier this month it ran again at WSU for its sophomore season. .

A superb protector with portability and improved jumping, Gueye has solidified himself as a sure-fire supporter and will take on extended responsibilities this year after his debut season in which he started 33 games and emerges as a conference participant. Prominent young players.

Efe Abogidi, a rookie player for two years at WSU, is said to be heading to G League Ignite to start his professional career. However, the Cougs’ first-team front field will not be reductive or inexperienced next season.

Gueye will pair up with 6-10 junior Dishon Jackson, a 250-pound bruise at the center with 19 starts under his belt. Jackson is a solid defender when he’s up against some of the more ferocious big men in the Pac-12, and he makes good use of his traditional serve moves to provide the occasional spark of scoring.

“Deshawn has to take a good step forward,” coach Kyle Smith said in May. “He should be a double-digit scorer.”

WSU’s first team front yard is perhaps the most reliable aspect of the team. The starting duo of Cougs down should not be outdone by any posted combos rushing Pac-12 opponents.

In the backcourt, TJ Bamba will reprise his role as WSU’s defensive cup – he’s become a fairly effective scorer in 3s and plays the breakout as well.

The 6-5 junior, a cougar in 20 games, broke the rotation as a true freshman in 2020-21 and joined the top five as a freshman last year, replacing Noah Williams in the lineup late in the campaign. Williams, a year after landing in his third season at WSU, has moved to rival Washington.

Expect Bamba to take on more recording duties and adopt a leadership position.

“He’ll probably be our captain next year,” Smith recently said of Bamba, the team’s returning top scorer (7.7 points per game).

Between veterans Andrej Jakimovski and DJ Rodman, cougars are settled in the ward, and players can move inside if necessary.

A rookie, Yakimovsky has started 24 games over the past two seasons and has proven to be a reliable 3-point shooter, ball forward and flexible defender who added another layer to his attack last year – starting driving towards the basket and finishing by calling frequently.

Rodman, the only senior player on the WSU roster, made 80 appearances and started at 12 in his career. Providing a powerful spark off the bench, he’s a solid defender who throws out bouncing balls and slack balls.

“DJ, he was an essential part,” Smith said.

“I feel good about our surroundings, because we got Bamba, Rodman and Andrej back,” added the Year 4 coach. “Our best show/minus last year was often times when we had Rodman and Andre on the ground in the front positions. The Bamba is getting better. I feel so good about all these guys.

“This is a good core to work with.”

Point guard Miles Rice and striker Carlos Rosario 6-7 are some of the best characters in the group. The WSU coaching staff sees great potential in Rice, the 6-2 Georgia producer who earned a red jersey as a freshman last year.

“He’s a good talent and he’ll be ready to go,” Smith said.

Rosario signed with WSU in 2020 as a highly regarded prep volunteer, but played sparingly during the junior season and used a medical red jersey last year.

New arrivals

For now, let’s make an informed guess and lock in the four returnees in the starting lineup – Bamba, Jakimowski, Jay and Jackson.

This will leave the point guard position ready to be grabbed. WSU may have found its new public floor, courtesy of Transfer Gate.

Justin Powell, a 6-6 junior from Kentucky, signed with Cogs on June 7 after spending two seasons on the SEC — first as a springboard at Auburn, then as a reserve combo guard at Tennessee.

He shone on the NBA radars before suffering a season-ending head injury early in his new year, but he couldn’t find his fit as a sophomore and played a secondary role with the Volunteers.

The Coggs hope that Powell will rediscover Mojo in Pullman. If so, it will enhance WSU perimeter shooting and ball movement. Powell wouldn’t shy away from driving down the lane, adding length to a backcourt that lacked volume last season and had game problems against taller guard units in the Pac-12.

Shortly before Powell joined the fold, WSU got a signature from another long combo guard outside the transfer gate at Jabe Mullins, a 6-6 junior from Snoqualmie. Mullins, Class 4A player of the year at Mount Si High in 2020, has made 53 appearances over the past two years at Saint Mary’s, starting 11 in his freshman season as a freshman and coming off the bench in every competition as a sophomore for the Gaels. . , who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship.

Mullins may not be a top scorer, but he will spread the floor and hit the treble in an effective clip.

WSU lost five keepers — the team’s three top scorers and two backups — after the season. Outstanding point guard Michael Flowers graduated, and shooting guard Terrell Roberts moved to San Francisco. But the Coogs have reignited optimism in their backcourt after a difficult start to the season, stocking up on volume and the first division with two instant transfers.

WSU also signed local high-potential producer Dylan Darling, an all-rounder from Central Valley High who was named 4A Player of the Year last year. So far, however, the favorites to watch guard play time are Bamba, Powell, Mullins and Rice.

WSU’s newcomers to the position have a bright future, although presumably they will begin their Crimson and Gray careers as highly-employed reserves behind Jackson and Gueye as they adjust to the strength of the Physical Energy Conference.

The Cogs made headlines on May 3, when they signed 7-foot-tall quarterback Adrame Diongue, a four-star recruit and a potential Top 50 in the 2023 Class (ESPN) from Senegal who warmed up at the Arizona Compass Academy.

“He’s a runner, a lob man, a shooter and a steady,” Smith said of Deung. “It’s kind of like if you (Gueye) and Efe crossed.

“We will try to deal with him accordingly. At the moment he is 198 pounds and it would be difficult to play a lot of minutes in this league with that weight.”

Approaching the front court of Washington State University, Smith said, is a real freshman Mile Hammon Crispin, a “huge guy clever of size.”

Hamon-Crespin, at 6-9 and 235 pounds, is nimble on his feet in the paint and smooth in the transition. He’s an accomplished passerby and has a light jump as well.

A French national, Hamon Crispin has spent the past three years playing against tough international competition. He trained at INSEP, an elite junior program based in Paris with a knack for producing future professionals.

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