Marcellus Pippins (5-10.5, 175) is one of the four -- along with Markell Sanders, Olito Thompson and Dylan Hanser -- who agreed in February to delay enrollment to WSU until January 2014.
But Pippins, who CF.C spoke with this week, said that he and WSU are in the process of possibly having him arrive this fall and take classes at WSU. Pippins, who would cover the expenses on his own dime and wouldn't be able to join the team, said that if that doesn't work out he'll continue to take classes at Los Medanos Junior College and arrive at Wazzu in January. That's when his scholarship would kick in.
Pippins has been working out at El Cerrito High and at Los Medanos, where he is also currently taking a couple courses. A full qualifier out of high school, Pippins said he wanted to make sure he's ready to be a standout academically in addition to on the football field.
"Right now I'm taking an English and college success class to help me get ready," Pippins said. "I'm earning college credit for them and although I don't need too, I'm happy to be taking them. I want to keep my mind fresh and make sure I'm not dumbfounded when I get to Washington State."
Editor's Note: Pippins' academic clock has not started. As long as he doesn't become a full time student at a junior college, he can take classes without it affecting his 5-year eligibility timetable.
THE FACT THAT Pippins is working so hard on and off the field was music to assistant Eric Russell's ears, Pippins said. The two continue to have a strong bond, which Pippins said is a main reason why he chose the Cougs over Utah and Nevada (final three) back in January.
"We talk on Facebook quite a bit and I call him a lot," Pippins said of his relationship with Russell. "This spring (three or four times) he checked in on me and see how I was doing. He gets along great with my parents too. They talk with each other and I feel like he's connected with my family."
THERE'S A POSITIVE tone these days in Pippins' voice. I spoke with him several times during the recruiting process and the normally shy Pippins spoke to CF.C this week with a new energy that wasn't there before. His class of 2013 teammates are already in Pullman and Pippins said he's dying to join them.
"I'm already counting down the days," Pippins said with a laugh. "I'm ready for it. I want to get up there and show everyone what I can do."
Until that day comes, the El Cerrito, Calif. product isn't wasting any time in trying to get his body Pac-12 ready. For some grayshirt prospects, it's easy to lose focus during the summer months without having leadership from coaches. The opposite can be said for Pippins.
"I want to get bigger and stronger," Pippins said. "I'm doing a little bit of everything to help get me ready. I'm lifting weights and doing a bunch of upper body workouts and using dumbbells. For my legs, I'm running a lot and doing a lot of hills. It's all about getting bigger and keeping my agility using different drills."
PIPPINS' ARRIVAL IN Pullman could also provide some intrigue to WSU basketball fans. As a senior this season, Pippins averaged 13 points for El Cerrito and said that he's hoping to walk on for Ken Bone.
"My hoop game is nice," Pippins said with conviction. "I'm working on setting up a tryout and Coach Leach told me he'd be okay with that. They're leaving that door open for me and if I make it, that'd be great. If not, then that's OK too."
ALTHOUGH HE REMAINS a recruitable atudent-athlete, Pippins said he decided long ago there are no other options besides Washington State.
"My full commitment is with them," Pippins said. "I'm 100 percent a Coug all the way."
He sounded plenty upbeat about that, too.