THE EARLY SIGNING period in basketball took a mountain of prospects off the board back in November, which makes the digging and speculating around how Ernie Kent will fill his four open slots at Washington State that much tougher in the regular signing period that began today. This much we do know from talking with Kent yesterday: He does plan to fill all four spots in this recruiting cycle.
The signings may come later than sooner, and when it's all done the Cougs will be a much different looking team.
The spring signing period runs a little more than a month, from April 16 - May 21, so Kent has some time to delve into what's still on the table.
So where to start? There are two logical places to begin the process of spit balling where Kent will head. The first is team need and the second is Kent's geographic history of mining talent.
In regard to team need, it takes no rocket scientist to proclaim that the Cougs are desperate for help in the post. They've been thin there for years and D.J. Shelton's graduation exacerbates the situation.
The other vexing spot for the Cougs over the last two years has been point guard -- and while Royce Woolridge
has been no Marcus Smart at that position, his departure only serves to further highlight the team need there.
In addition, a team as woeful on offense as the Cougs were this past season can always use a shooter, especially so in light of the fact DaVonte Lacy
will gone in a year.
In terms of geography
, Kent's years at Oregon were defined by his success recruiting the West Coast and Midwest. A quick look at the hot lists compiled by Scout.com and ESPN shows precious few highly regarded players still unsigned -- but of those that are available, several are from traditional Kent hunting grounds.
6-10, 220-pound center Idrissa Diallo of Los Angeles. He decommitted from Cal yesterday after Cuonzo Martin was hired as head coach and subsequently landed a commitment from center Kingsley Okoroh of Phoenix. Scout.com rates Diallo the No. 30 center prospect in the nation.
6-8, 255-pound center Terrell Carter of Redondo, Calif. A tenacious rebounder, this 3-star Scout.com prospect has been under the radar a bit but has been a workout fiend since last fall and has dropped 20 pounds to become more agile. He has reported offers from Tulane, San Jose State, and Cal-Northridge with interest from Boise State and Gonzaga.
6-7, 180-pound forward Josh Cunningham of Chicago. This ESPN top 100 pick has offers listed from Indiana, Creighton and others, but if his name doesn't come across the wire today -- the first day of the spring signing period -- perhaps he waited too long to jump on those opportunities.
6-5, 165-pound shooting guard Elijah Stewart of Los Angeles. ESPN ranks him the 94th-best prospect in the nation and No. 15 in the region, but his only listed offer is Loyola-Marymount. That could suggest some academic concerns or it might simply be a case of not tracking him since the early signing period.
6-1, 165-pound point guard Shaquile Carr of North Las Vegas. When he verbally committed to UTEP in January, Scout.com dubbed him one of the best point guards available in the 2014 class. You'd have to think the call of the Pac-12 might be pretty enticing.