DRICK BERNSTINE (USA Today Sports/Camporeale)

Hoops recruiting: Drick Bernstine enters grad transfer sweepstakes; WSU, which holds a family connection, believed on list

RUMORS AROUND the college basketball recruiting water cooler are circulating with news that 6-8 forward Drick Bernstine — son of former NFL standout Rod Bernstine — is leaving Big Sky champion North Dakota and will play next season as a graduate transfer. Washington State is one of the schools being bandied about as a possible landing spot for him.

Bernstine scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds against Arizona in the first round of the NCAA tournament earlier this year, no doubt fueling his interest in playing in a higher-profile conference. 

Here’s another intriguing piece to his background, courtesy of some serious and serendipitous web digging: His late grandmother was a Lacrosse native who graduated from WSU and, based on an educated guess from available information, his grandfather looks to be a WSU grad as well.

Bernstine apparently has become a hot commodity since announcing the other day that he plans other to play his final season of college ball elsewhere. As a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible immediately.

This past season he helped the Fighting Hawks to a 22-10 record. They won the Big Sky Conference regular-season and tournament championships and earned the school’s first-ever berth in the NCAA tournament. For the second straight season, Bernstein was the winner of the team’s Unsung Hero award.

He averaged 8.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 27.8 minutes per game.

In 2015-16, he averaged 9.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 30.1 minutes per game.

Looking at various highlights across the web, he would appear to be an excellent fit with Cougar coach Ernie Kent’s system. He can run and handle the ball and he clearly can rebound.

The Cougars were believed to be among the finalists for another 6-8 graduate transfer forward, Georgetown's Akoy Agau, but he last week announced he would be headed to SMU.

Bernstine redshirted at North Dakota in 2014-15 after transferring in from the University of Denver, where he saw limited action as a true freshman in 2013-14. He prepped at Cherokee Trail High in Aurora, Colo., and earned Class 5A  All-Colorado first-team honors after averaging 19 points and 9.7 rebounds as a senior.

His dad played tight end and running back for the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers in a long NFL career.

THE COUGAR HAVE THREE SIGNED PLAYERS in their 2017 recruiting class: 6-foot-5, 4-star forward Roberto Gittens out of Foss High in Tacoma; 6-11 center Davante Cooper; and  6-4 shooting guard Kwinton Hinson. Cooper and Hinson are both coming to WSU from Trinity JC in Texas.

WSU has two scholarship slots still available for the 2017 class, though it is conceivable one could be stockpiled for the 2018 class.

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