HOOPS: JUCO PG talks about WSU offer

WSU HEAD MAN Ken Bone recently extended an offer to a quick ball handler from the JUCO ranks. He was a walk-on for an Ohio Valley Conference school last season, but oh how a year has changed things. The point guard now has 12 offers, including two from the Pac-12. Here's what he had to say about the Wazzu offer, recruiting, timetable and more...

It's said that hard work pays off and for Central Arizona point guard Deandre Mathieu, truer words couldn't be spoken.

The 5-11, 165-pound point guard, originally out of Knox Central High in Tennessee, is coming off a strong season with Central Arizona. The sophomore poured in 17 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game and has his team one win away from reaching the NJCAA National Tournament.

That success led to a recent offer from the Cougs, who first started recruiting the nifty passer in mid-February.

"They offered me on Saturday night and it was very exciting for me," Mathieu said. "I was getting a lot of looks from some mid-major schools, but to get that Pac-12 offer felt great. My coach said I had been on their radar and then they came out and saw me play in a game about three weeks ago."

WSU ASSISTANT Ray Lopes is running the point for the Cougs in Mathieu's recruiting.

"I've been in contact with Coach Lopes and he told me he likes how I'm able to control the game and lead by example," Mathieu said. "Washington State likes my ability on the floor and that I'm a true point guard.

"He told me they need someone to come in and play right away. Their current guy at the ‘1' is a combo guard, so he said they want me to lead the team on the court and distribute the ball."

Mathieu added that he is yet to set up any official visits, but is hoping to make a college decision 2-3 weeks after his season with Central Arizona comes to a close.

The regular signing period for class of 2013 prospects is on April 17.

Mathieu has three years to play two at the next level, but said there's no doubt in his mind that wherever he decides to suit up next season, he will make an immediate impact.

"I'll come in and help out a team right away," he said. "In picking a school, being able to play right away interests me a lot. I haven't narrowed down my list to any schools yet and I'm focusing on helping my JUCO team make a deep run in the tournament, but I want to go somewhere where winning is everything. I want to win games and play in a family environment."

COMING OUT OF high school, Mathieu didn't hold any scholarship offers. He decided to walk-on at Morehead State and made a deal with then Coach Donnie Tyndall (left for Southern Mississippi this season) that if he finished in the top eight in minutes, he would be offered a scholarship.

Mathieu said he was ninth on the team, and although he started the final seven games of the season, he wasn't promised a scholarship for the 2012-13 campaign.

"I had to transfer because my mom just couldn't afford to pay the tuition for another year," Mathieu said. "I thought I'd make it, but I ended up enrolling at Central Arizona and knew if I played well enough, D-I schools would notice and I'd earn a scholarship. It's been a great experience because it allowed me to work on my game and improve. It's helped me have the ability to lead my teammates as well."

Schools have certainly noticed.

In addition to WSU, Mathieu holds offers from UCLA, Pepperdine, Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado and seven other programs. His leadership skills, coupled with his ability to bring the ball up the court and score, has college coaches intrigued about his potential to play right away.

"I'm just a sound player," Mathieu said. "I work hard and I think I'm more athletic than most point guards. My coach puts pressure on me and he's helped develop my confidence. I put a lot of effort in the gym and my leadership skills are what people like about me. I think that's what's drawing in so much attention for me right now."

  • The Cougs signed guard Ike Iroegbu and forwards Tanner Lancona and Josh Hawkinson for the class of 2013. Iroegbu has long been projected to be the point guard of the future for Washington State, but he could also play the ‘2' for the Cougs next season. Regardless, going after another ball handler makes sense because of the lack of depth for Washington State at the PG position.

  • With those three incoming, if every undergraduate on the current roster also returns, the Cougs are full-up on scholarships. So if Mathieu were to come on board, WSU would have to find a way to make room for him.

  • Cougfan Top Stories