HOOPS: Peters and Que update

PULLMAN — Given the lack of big men on the WSU roster, center Richard Peters' arrival is one of the most anticipated of the 2012 basketball class at Washington State. How are things looking for him academically – is he on track to arrive this summer out on the Palouse? We asked his prep coach about that, plus more, and about his highly rated teammate and future Coug, Demarquise Johnson…

It would come as a shock to Westwind High head man Adam Desautels if Richard Peters isn't in Pullman later this summer. Indeed, he told CF.C there's no doubt in his mind Peters will be at WSU come fall semester and that whatever cyberspace academic rumors might be out there have little in the way of substance behind them.

"I have not heard anything about that -- and I think I would have because I hear most things that come out," Desautels said. "Richard was eligible I believe last year, so he chose to come back. His test scores and everything were all qualified. I'd be very surprised if he didn't show up in the fall ready to go."

Peters is currently in Toronto training, preparing for his WSU basketball career. Desautels said that both he and teammate Johnson, who goes by "Que", were allowed to leave the prep school after they, in good academic standing at Westwind, signed with WSU.

Desautels has worked closely with both players, and told CF.C that Coug Nation should be ready for two quality players – on and off the court.

Starting with Peters, he said that the 6-10, 250 pound center will provide the Cougars with what they've been lacking throughout the 2011-12 season -- size.

"He's just a big-big kid," Desautels said. "He's a very good rebounder who can also score around the basket very well. Nowadays, a lot of posts like to get out and shoot threes, Richard isn't like that. He likes the post and to bang down low. He likes to do the dirty work and he'll let everyone know when he does."

So what does Peters need to work on?

"He's got to be able to get up and down the floor better than he has in the last year or so," Desautels said. "When he was with us his conditioning improved a lot. But he's got to get into better shape, especially to play at that level. I'd say that would be number one on what he needs to work on."

As for Johnson, who chose the Cougars over Washington, Gonzaga and others, Desautels couldn't say enough about him, both on and off the court.

"He's going to be good for WSU and represent Washington State well," Desautels said. "He's a very laid-back kid who won't go out and cause problems. We loved him down here and I'd be surprised if the same didn't happen up there."

WSU, says Desautels, can expect a scorer, particularly with the Cougars losing senior shooter Faisal Aden to graduation this May. Desautels expects Que to step in and contribute right away.

"He's probably good for 10-15 points next season," Desautels said. "That would be if he was able to earn consistent playing time, which judging by the roster he should if Que does his work. He's there to have the ball in his hands, that's why he's going to Washington State."

Johnson is currently in Seattle working with his Team Eleate (Club team) Coach Clint Parks. Desautels told CF.C that offensively, Johnson is right where he needs to be.

"You know, he needs to get better defensively," Desautels said. "He needs to work harder off the ball and communicate defensively. It's just going to be consistent work on his defense in order for him to get better."

Desautels entered his first year this season as the Head Coach at Westwind for the Varsity high school team. He has been in Phoenix for the last three years: two years as an assistant, and one year as the head coach. The way it works at Westwind is that there is a high school Varsity team and a post graduate prep team that plays against Arizona Junior Colleges and national prep schools. He also runs the website http://westwindplayers.blogspot.com/ which he said is devoted to marketing his players and getting word out on their talents.

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