Hoops: Five expected to sign w/ WSU this week

THE EARLY SIGNING period for national basketball letters of intent starts Wednesday and Washington State coach Tony Bennett is expected to land five highly athletic, versatile prep seniors. Among them will be one of the top-ranked shooting guards in the nation and a forward with some serious bloodlines.

Marcus Capers, Michael Harthun, Klay Thompson, Nick Witherill and James Watson are all expected to fax in their signed Letters of Intent to Washington State tomorrow.

CF.C coverage of the basketball early signing day will include commentary on the class by Bennett once all the players have signed.

The Cougs' recruiting strategy for '08 becomes apparent when looking over the list. With standout seniors Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver set to graduate next year, the recruiting class' emphasis was on versatile perimeter players. (Granted, Watson and Thompson are 6-8 and 6-6, respectively, but the '09 class is expected to focus more on the bigs.)

Harthun, a sharpshooter, is the highest ranked of the class by Scout.com, checking in as a 4-star prospect and the No. 20 shooting guard in the nation.

Thompson is the son of former Blazers and Lakers standout Mychal Thompson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft. Thompson is listed as a forward by Scout.com but already owning a fairly polished game, his potential as a perimeter player under Bennett's tutelage is sky high.

The Cougs were able to find room for the uber-athletic Capers, a southpaw with solid defensive skills, when Taylor Rochestie went to Bennett and volunteered to give up his scholie for next year. You can read more about it here.

Witherill, who has a nice stroke from the perimeter, starred at Saguaro High, where he was a first-team All-Class 4A selection this past season, before transferring to Gilbert Highland this year.

Watson, from tiny Stringwater, Okla., plays sound defense, loves to run the floor and has some block-and-hop to his game.

Barring something unexpected, the quintet of future Cougs signing tomorrow likely means the WSU class would be complete and no else would be coming on board during the later signing period next spring. But the unexpected and unforeseen is also a way of life in college athletics -- it was thought Washington State would not sign any players in last year's late signing period.

And they signed three: Fabian Boeke, Stephen Sauls, Charlie Enquist.

The strange NCAA case of Boeke, whose eligibility is in doubt for this season unless WSU can successfully appeal, also has yet to be determined. See here for the details on Boeke.

  • Unlike football, college basketball has split signing periods. The early signing period runs from Nov. 14-21, the late signing period from April 16-May 21 of next year.

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