Hoops: Cougs' winning ways show in recruiting

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW the power of winning, look no farther than Pullman -- where Tony Bennett's No. 9-rated Cougars are 22-4 and staring down a high NCAA Tournament seed -- and south-central Los Angeles, where a 6-6 junior power forward is blocking shots and rebounding with abandon. Many schools want the youngster. And Washington State is one of his leaders.

Tyrese Breshers hails from Frederick Price High and is getting overtures from Nebraska, Iowa State, Washington and many others.

He's the type of player Washington State could have used -- but never had a chance of getting -- over the last 10 years.

Until now.

Breshers says he's looking to make a college choice sometime after the summer and three schools -- Washington State, New Mexico and Miami (Fla.) -- are his favorites.

That's right. Washington State. Among the early favorites for a hoops standout from south-central L.A.

When was the last time a prep power forward from L.A. -- the West Coast's single-biggest hotbed of hoops talent -- was this high on the Cougs? Steve Harriel, the Pride of Compton, back in the Raveling years?

Whether or not Breshers actually ends up in Pullman remains to be seen. But the fact the Cougars are on the inside track with him at this stage is testament to the power of winning -- and to the recruiting prowess of Tony Bennett.

A team that's nipping on the heels of UCLA on the eve of March Madness, with a coach as personable as Bennett, should have a chance with a player like Breshers. And it speaks volumes about the progress Tony and his dad, Dick, have made in four short years on the Palouse.

Scout.com analyst Greg Hicks calls Breshers one of the most underrated prepsters in the nation. An Iowa newspaper, writing about the Cyclones' recent offer to Breshers, says the power forward/center isn't drawing more internet buzz simply because he hasn't played AAU ball -- the wellspring of considerable prospect forecasting.

"His big body and long arms allow him to play bigger than his height," says Hicks, noting recently that he has big-time hops and excellent timing as a shot-blocker.

"He's got soft hands, great feet and he's very quick off the floor," says Hicks. "He's an exceptional shot-blocker and has the potential to become an excellent low-post scorer."

Breshers has yet to set up any official visits. We asked last month if he has any schools in mind that he'd like to visit, he said, "I'd like to visit Washington State and Miami for sure," said Breshers.

Breshers has a 3.5 GPA.

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