Nickname & wingspan: Robert Franks tells all

WASHINGTON STATE freshman forward Robert Franks, who stands 6-foot-7 and possesses a 7-foot-2 wingspan, told Matt Chazanow on the Ernie Kent Coach's Show Tuesday night that his doctor tells him he's not done growing.

When Chazanow suggested 6-8 or 6-9 could be in Franks' future, Kent motioned to him to keep counting.

Height aside, there's no getting around the fact Franks' stock is climbing.

In the Cougars' recent road trip to Arizona State and Arizona he played a combined 40 minutes, scoring 19 points and pulling down 8 rebounds. Up to then, he had yet to play in a Pac-12 game and in the nine previous contests where he did see action he only averaged seven minutes of playing time.

Kent said Franks' work in the desert was impressive because he's been on the bench the entire season but when his number was called he responded with confidence and poise. That confidence has carried over into practice this week, he added. And it also holds true for JC transfer Derrien King, who turned in solid work in Arizona as well.

Franks, who is from Evergreen High in Vancouver, Wash., can score inside, from mid-range and downtown, Kent said. He added that when Franks realizes how good he can be he's "going to be a joy to watch." He's blossoming right now -- ahead of the schedule Josh Hawkinson was on -- and is becoming unstoppable in practice, Kent said.

Hawkinson played sparingly as a true freshman and then turned into a double-double machine last season.

Franks said coaches are constantly telling him to shoot in practice.

As for his nickname, "RoBo," Franks said it was given to him by his coach in middle school who was trying to praise him for delivering a pass that was worthy of NBA point guard Ricky Rubio, but "RoBo" came out of the coach's mouth instead of "Rubio." The name stuck and Franks said he decided to "roll with it."

UP NEXT:

WSU hosts Utah on Thursday (8 pm/Fox Sports 1) and Colorado on Saturday (6 pm/Pac-12 Networks). Kent said the Cougars must correct their deficiencies on defense -- and bring greater passion and energy to that side of the ball -- if they're going to defeat the 13-5/2-3 Utes and 14-4/3-2 Buffs. The Cougs (9-8/1-4) surrendered an average of 90 points in their last three games, all losses. Kent said the absence of injured Valentine Izundu -- who has played just one minute in the last four game -- has been costly. He is averaging 2.7 blocks per game -- 15th-most in the nation.

NOTABLE NOTES FROM THE COACH'S SHOW:

  • Kent said kids today can't be coached the way they were 20 years ago. They won't come to your school, he said, because berating doesn't motivate.

  • Kent said he loves to get mic'd up during games because it gives fans an up-close view of the program and the interactions with the players.

  • While on the road, Kent said, flight attendants and others compliment him on how well-mannered the Cougars are. Now, he said, they need to turn in that kind of outstanding performance on the court.

    THE HAWK FLIES HIGH:

    Hawkinson leads the Pac-12 and is fifth in the nation with 13 double-doubles this season. He's averaging 16.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. His 21 points and 20 rebounds against Washington marked the first time a Pac-12 player hit 20/20 since California’s Leon Powe in March 2006.

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