Cougar hoops: Two signees and one question

THE EARLY signing period for national basketball letters of intent starts Wednesday and Washington State is expected to ink two players: Tacoma guard Davonte Lacy and Los Angeles power forward Greg Sequele. The two commits raise one big question: Where is Ken Bone getting the extra scholarship from? WSU, which has no seniors on the team, is currently one below the NCAA max of 13.

With two signees in this recruiting cycle, a second scholarship spot must be found.

Regular attrition is pretty common in college hoops, as WSU illustrated this past off-season with three scholarship players transferring (Xavier Thames to San Diego State; Michael Harthun to Portland State; and Anthony Brown to Eastern Oregon).

A look at the Cougars' current roster doesn't scream out potential attrition. But the fact the Cougars are bringing in two new players suggests that several factors could be at play.

First, that one or both of WSU's two junior standouts -- Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto -- may be closer than not to turning pro. Thompson of course seems destined for the NBA, be it this year or next. Casto's size would suggest his best pro path, at least initially, is in Europe. And now that he and his girlfriend are proud new parents, the notion of a steady paycheck could be a powerful draw.

Second, that Mike Ladd, a touted transfer from Fresno State who is not eligible to play and redshirting this season, isn't in line for a scholarship as presumed by many observers; or that Charlie Enquist's ever-moving conditional scholarship is coming back off the books.

And third, that sophomore center Steven Bjornstad's bad knees are very bad.

With all that uncertainty, or potential uncertainty, another question comes to the fore: will there be another signee -- either in this early signing period or the late signing period in April -- in addition Sequele and Lacy? Given the Cougars' lack of proven depth in the post, it wouldn't be beyond the pale.

AS FOR THE INCOMING SIGNEES, they are both about ready to launch their high school senior seasons.

Sequele (pronuounced Suh-kay-lay) checks in at 6-7 ½ and 225 pounds. "He's a very athletic kid, jumps out of the gym," Ribet Academy coach William Middlebrooks told CF.C over the summer. "He's developing into a strong 3-4 prospect, already has a college body. He's developing into a great player."

Sequele, according to Compton Magic assistant coach Chad Groth, picked the Cougars while on his official visit to the school this past weekend. Sequele is a 6-foot-7 combo forward who projects to do more of his work at the power forward position in college.

ESPN says Sequele's offensive skills are "very raw and he has very few fundamentals, but his physical attributes (runs hard with major bounce) are very impressive."

Sequele averaged a double-double last season, with 15 points 11.4 boards per game. Of his 341 total rebounds, 152 were on the offensive end. He shot 65 percent from the field (184-of-285), but just 48 percent from the line 83-of-173). He logged 52 blocked shots (1.7 per game), had 39 steals (1.3) and dished off 30 assists.

Sequele is originally from France and speaks four languages -- Spanish, Creole, French and English.

The Cougars have been interested in him for a long while, but their pursuit no doubt quickened when their prime target in the post -- 7-0 John Florveus of Hillsborough JC (Faisal Aden's alma mater) verballed recently to Georgia.

Lacy, who committed to WSU in June, also had offers from Tulane and San Diego. He is a 6-3, 192-pounder from Curtis High. He is a strong-bodied combo guard who not only scores, but passes with equal skill. Defense, he says, is a part of the game he needs to work on.

The Tacoma News Tribune calls Lacy "an emerging star" in the prep ranks and his numbers this past season look to bear that out. He led Curtis in points scored as a junior, splashing down 19.8 ppg. He also also averaged 7 boards and 2.5 assists per game. Lacy was named first team all-SPSL South Division his junior campaign, and just missed out on the league MVP by a single vote. He was also named second team all-area by the News-Tribune.

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