Bennett looks to tap more Oregon talent

WASHINGTON STATE basketball coach Tony Bennett is aiming for the second straight year to strike recruiting gold in Oregon. This time he has his sights on a four-star shooting guard from Medford who will be in Pullman later this month for an unofficial visit. The Cougs are pushing hard, but others loom.

Six-foot-three Michael Harthun, who will be a senior at South Medford High this fall, is a solid ball handler who is considered one of the better shooters in the West.

Besides WSU, he has offers from Oregon State, Pepperdine and Montana. And Oregon, while not in the mix with an offer yet, is staying in frequent contact.

He is rated No. 22 by on its list of the nation's best prep shooting guard prospects for the class of 2008.

"I've been talking a lot lately with Oregon and Washington State," said Harthun. "I was hearing a lot from Gonzaga last year, but not quite as much this year. Oregon State, Pepperdine and Montana have all been talking to me as well. But, lately, I've been talking the most to Oregon and Washington State."

He plans to take an unoffical visit to Pullman on May 25.

"I've been to Oregon and Oregon State for games," said Harthun. "But I haven't taken any (official) visits. Oregon wants me to come up and play with their players. I'll probably do that in the near future ..."

The Cougars, known for defense first and offense second, offer an interesting option for Harthun, who professes a desire to "to play someplace that plays fast, where they run and gun."

He adds, "There's a time to play slow, but I don't want to be in a program that walks it up.

He has other preferences on his list as well. "I want to go to a good school, with a good atmosphere. But it's kind of hard to know that stuff until you visit the school. Also, I want a coach that is in it for the players and not just for themselves."

In terms of time frame for making a decision, Harthun isn't in a rush.

"I've been talking with my Dad and coaches about it," he said. "I think I want to play in as many things as possible this summer, since I didn't play much on the (AAU) circuit last year in the spring and summer. So I just want to play, see how I do, and see if any other schools might get involved."

Harthun said his GPA is around 3.0.

ANOTHER OREGON PRODUCT, 6-7 forward Abe Lodwick of Bend, signed with WSU this year and will be joining the Cougs in the fall. He is one of three members of Bennett's 2007 recruiting class. The others are 6-10 forward/center Fabian Boeke of Germany and 6-3 point guard Stephen Sauls of Missouri City, Texas.

For the 2008 recruiting class, the Cougars have made five known scholarship offers. One of those recipients, guard Nick Witherill of Scottsdale, Ariz., verbally committed to Bennett a year ago. The others are Harthun; guard Devoe Joseph of Ajax, Ontario; forward Tyreese Breshers of Los Angeles; and center Edgar Garibay of Compton, Calif..

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