“We are lightyears ahead of where we were a year ago,” Kent said. “You had 14 guys (last year) that you had to coach and teach a completely new system. Now you only have six new guys, but you have seven extra coaches" in the form of returning players.
The Cougars were moving at an up-tempo pace during the portion of practice reporters were allowed to watch. And the ball movement was impressive.
In terms integrating his six new players with his seven returnees, Kent said, “I think the biggest thing is we recruited a lot of good character guys. That takes care of all the off-the-floor chemistry issues.”
Kent said an issue initially last year was finding an identity for the team. “I think we’ll have an identity(this season) just because of how big, physical and athletic we are,” Kent said.
CLICK THE VIDEO ABOVE FOR KENT'S FULL COMMENTS AFTER DAY ONE.
The Cougars' seven returnees are Ike Iroegbu, Josh Hawkinson, Ny Redding, Brett Boese, Junior Longrus, Que Johnson and Valentine Izundu, who sat out last season after transferring from Houston.
The six rookies are JC transfers Conor Clifford, Charles Callison, Derrien King and Renard Suggs, and true freshmen Viont’e Daniels and Robert Franks.
The Cougars host two exhibition games: on Oct. 30 at 8 pm vs. Lewis-Clark State and Nov. 6 at 6 p.m.vs. Pacific of Oregon. The Nov. 6 game will be ‘Flashback Friday’ honoring legendary WSU coach George Raveling, who recently was inducted into the national basketball hall of fame. WSU opens the regular season on Nov. 13 at home against Northern Arizona at 5:30 p.m.