WSU hoops: Kent announces one new signee in Tacoma's Malachi Flynn, anticipates more in coming weeks

ERNIE KENT announced one new signing to his 2016 class at Washington State on Wednesday: Tacoma guard Malachi Flynn. Kent, still with three open spots, said it is "very likely" the Cougs will add more players in the coming weeks.

Flynn, a 6-0, 165-pounder out of Bellarmine Prep, was the AP state 4A player of the year and the News Tribune All-Area player of the year. He averaged 29.7 points per game as a senior.

"Malachi really reminds me of the guard play that I had when we built those really good teams at Oregon," said Kent, who equated Flynn to former Ducks Luke Ridnour, Aaron Brooks and Tajuan Porter when they were freshmen.

Flynn joins G Milan Acquaah and F Jeff Pollard from the early signing period, with Kent still holding three more open spots. The regular signing period runs from today through May 18 and Kent indicated he doesn't plan to bank any of the scholies towards next class.

"We will continue to recruit, with the anticipation of filling all those scholarships...We are actively recruiting and quite frankly, we stay actively recruiting throughout the course of the year in anticipation of something like this (graduate transfers) happening," said Kent, who said he was looking across the spectrum at high school, junior college, overseas and transfer players to fill out this class.

Kent said Flynn, along with Acquaah, will help him cement the style of basketball he wants to employ at WSU.

"Ultimately, where I would like to take this program, is we need to play faster... these two players are excellent in those areas, they both play fast, they both see the game and have tremendous feel for the game... if I look at where our program is headed, we're transforming this program... these two players are going to be really good in getting us where we need to get to," said Kent.

Both Valentine Izundu and Que Johnson have announced their decisions to transfer in the last nine days.

"It's happening too frequently all over the country in all the conferences and a lot of the programs," said Kent. "I don't think you need to be concerned about it all... it's not necessarily leaving the program because they're disgruntled, leaving the program because they don't like the style of play -- it's playing time... That's not a negative for them. It ends up being a negative for all the programs in the country that have spent time developing players.

"The side I look at is our academics are outstanding, our APR has not taken a hit... What I would tell fans, if you take a look at college basketball, it's the norm. It's what is going on everywhere."

Kent also expressed confidence for the upcoming season with a senior group of Ike Iroegbu, Josh Hawkinson, Charles Callison and Conor Clifford.

"I've got a great nucleus coming back, with Josh and Ike and Conor, I think they can all really score. Obviously with Charles Callison, Derrien King, Robert Franks and Vionte Daniels, they're working extremely hard right now. And with what's coming in the door (it) will be a nice fit with them," said Kent.

Kent was asked if he put any restrictions on where Johnson could transfer to. "There are some issues there that I cannot discuss with the university and Que, that I don't need to discuss for that matter, and yes there are some stipulations there now but there are also over 300 Division I schools that he can attend. And I'll leave it at that for right now," Kent said.

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