HOOPS: Cougs sign point guard

IT TURNS OUT Cougar football coaches aren't the only ones in Bohler Gym with an eye on Texas. Tony Bennett this morning received a signed Letter of Intent from a Houston-area point guard who told CF.C moments ago that he's thrilled to be headed north. The 6-3, 195-pounder -- originally headed to the Air Force Academy -- tripped to Pullman over the weekend and said everything was picture perfect.

Stephen Sauls could arrive in Pullman as early as next month to enroll for summer school at Washington State.

"Yes, sir! I'll be out there in May or June," said Sauls. "I'll be out there for the summer. I can't wait. The weather was great. The scenery was crazy -- we don't have landscapes like they do out there. It was like something out of a painting."

On his way home to Marshall, 20 miles west of Houston, after this weekend's visit, Sauls called Bennett from the airport, telling him he was coming to WSU. After his mother affixed her signature to the Letter of Intent, it was faxed to Pullman.

"She faxed it to them this morning," said Sauls. "My parents are just as excited as I am. We've been working at this thing for a long time. We have faith that I can truly go on and play at the next level...I'm coming in with a chip on my shoulder, ready to go after the ultimate prize. Coming out of high school, I wasn't highly recruited at all but I feel I have just as much talent, just as much ability as the big names. I am ready to go to work. I am ready to get out there and prove myself."

Sauls originally signed with Air Force but after enrolling in the Air Force's prep school, decided the military lifestyle wasn't for him. Cougar assistant coaches Matt Woodley and Ben Johnson were then integral in his recruitment to Washington State, said Sauls.

Former Cougar point guard Mac Hopson, who is transferring to Idaho, didn't see extra minutes last season primarily because of defense. Sauls, says his former prep coach Gary Nichols, has a definite defensive mindset in addition to running the point and the ability to fill up the hoop.

"He has good size, and he can defend," said Nichols. "He can play the point. And he can shoot the ball well, also."

Sauls looks to step right in for Mac Hopson, a point guard who played in 21 games for the Cougs last season but is transferring to Idaho in quest of more playing time. Defense, which wasn't a Hopson strong suit, doesn't look to be an issue with Sauls according to Nichols.

"We all want to play big-time as kids but the thought that I'm going to Washington State, and I'm going to play against UCLA and Arizona and everyone, it's still settling in. I'm so anxious, and I'm working so hard right now preparing myself for when I get out there. I'm ready," said Sauls.

Sauls chose WSU over offers from Colorado, Saint Louis and Richmond.

Stephen Sauls profile

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