WSU hoops recruiting: Ernie Kent offers Bellarmine Prep PG

THE ANSWER TO Washington State’s pressing need at point guard might be found as close as Tacoma. Washington State has offered point guard Malachi Flynn out of Bellarmine Prep. The 6-0, 165-pounder, recently named the News Tribune All-Area player of the year, talks to CF.C.

“WSU offered me about two weeks ago,” said Flynn. “They said they really need a point guard, someone who has the ball in their hands a lot and make good decisions, someone who is really skilled. They like my skill set and how I was with my teammates – always making the right decisions.”

Flynn is a point guard but averaged an eye-opening 29.9 points per game in 2015-16.  As a senior during the regular season, he shot 48 percent from the floor and 88 percent from the free-throw line.  A one-time verbal pledge to Pacific before decommitting in December, he holds offers from WSU, San Diego, Pepperdine, Cal Poly, UC-Davis, Montana State, Columbia, Pacific and Davidson, with SMU and Seattle also showing interest.

Flynn said he hasn’t scheduled any official or unofficial visits ahead of the signing period and isn’t leaning towards any one school,while noting that WSU and San Diego are recruiting him the hardest. The regular signing period in basketball runs April 13 – May 18.

“I’m starting to think about it, with my family, and will start to narrow down the choices but I haven’t done much of that yet,” said Flynn. “I don’t really have a time limit… if I feel somewhere is the right fit then I’ll go ahead and commit… I’m just looking for the right fit.”

Flynn said assistant Curtis Allen, also a Tacoma product and who starred at Wilson High, is running the recruiting point for Washington State.

“I think WSU is a good program, Coach Kent is a great coach and his track record is very good,” said Flynn. “He’s turned around the programs at St. Mary’s and Oregon so I definitely think it could be a great situation for me. Even though they’re not the greatest right now, he’s shown he can turn around programs, so that’s really big.”

WSU’s scholies are all currently spoken for but basketball analyst Josh Gershon’s sources tell him Kent is looking to bolster its ranks -- with the right point guard and/or wing.  

Kent has also hinted in recent weeks personnel moves beyond the two graduating seniors might be in the offing. WSU loses two senior forwards in Junior Longrus and Brett Boese, with incoming point guard Milan Acquaah and forward Jeff Pollard filling those spots during the early recruiting signing period.

Flynn, who played his AAU ball with Team Access, set the Bellarmine Prep single-season scoring record (743) this season, breaking NBA player Avery Bradley’s mark (722 in 2008). His 1,625 career points is second in school history behind Abdul Gaddy’s 1,985 -- with Flynn playing three seasons on varsity at Bellarmine Prep to Gaddy’s four. Flynn is also second in career steals and career assists at Bellarmine Prep.

Flynn said among the things that will go into his decision will be the style of play on both offense and defense, his relationship with the coaches and a staff that will help develop his game to the fullest.

“A style that’s fast paced, making decisions on the fly, pushing the ball in transition,” Flynn said when asked what style appeals most to him. “This year I think I really improved my defense a lot in guarding the best players on other teams.  The previous two years defense wasn’t really one of focuses. This year I think I definitely stepped up a lot and improved a good deal on defense.”

-Two other Washingtonians of note in the database remain uncommitted ahead of the regular signing period but WSU doesn’t appear to be targeting them. David Jenkins (6-1, 180) out of Wilson in Tacoma had a half dozen offers last spring, including one from Washington State, but told the News Tribune he’s leaning towards reclassifying to the 2017 class after spending this next year at a prep school (Brewster Academy in New Hampshire). Tony Miller, a 6-6 shooter out of Woodinville, continues to wait on his first offer, Gershon tells CF.C.

-“I’ve told all the college guys, if you want somebody like Steph Curry, there he is.”
-Bellarmine Prep coach Bernie Salazar in the News Tribune on who compares Flynn to

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