Bennett looking to add star PG to '08 class?

THE OREGONIAN reports that multi-sport Portland prep standout Paul McCoy, newly released from the basketball letter of intent he signed with Pepperdine, has received a scholarship offer from WSU. The No. 10-rated senior point guard in the land, his addition to Tony Bennett's heralded 2008 class of recruits would be the proverbial cherry on top. There's just one question that begs to be asked.

If the Cougs win him over, where's the scholarship going to come from?

Division 1A teams are allowed to have 13 players on scholarship. The Cougs will be losing seniors Kyle Weaver, Derrick Low and Robbie Cowgill after this campaign, Junior Taylor Rochestie is turning himself into a walk-on next year – a remarkable move that allowed Bennett to sign a fifth player, Marcus Capers, to his incoming recruiting class. In addition, freshman center Charlie Enquist came aboard this season with the understanding that his scholarship would go away next year.

That makes five openings for 2008-09 -- which perfectly matches the number of prep prospects Bennett inked in the early signing period back in November.

So how would McCoy fit in?

Some of the obvious – though purely speculative -- options are these:

• One of the five prepsters already signed isn't going to clear academic hurdles.

• Freshman point guard Stephen Sauls, sidelined with a concussion earlier this season and now back home in Houston, won't return in the fall.

• Some other member of the team doesn't plan to return.

Last year, similar speculation took hold when center Fabian Boeke verbally committed to the Cougs at a time when it looked like Bennett had no scholarships left for the 2007-08 season. Unbeknownst at the time, little-used guards Chris Matthews and Mac Hopson were planning to transfer. Hopson wound up at Idaho and Matthews at St. Bonaventure.

The Cougs' competition for the 6-0, 160-pound McCoy is intense. According to the Oregonian, the four-star prospect holds 20 offers. He plans to narrow his list to 10 and then will decide which ones to officially visit, the Oregonian said.

The spring signing period is in April.

"Washington State coach Tony Bennett was the latest to offer McCoy a full scholarship. Among the others recruiting McCoy as a point guard: Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Southern Methodist, UNLV and Hawaii," the Oregonian reported.

McCoy signed an LOI with Pepperdine in November but asked for and received his release after after Vance Walberg resigned as Pepperdine coach last month.

McCoy is averaging 16.4 points per game this season and went off for 41 against Wilson earlier this month.

The Cougars' 2008 recruiting class currently includes:

• 6-6 swingman Klay Thompson, the son of former NBA standout Mychal Thompson, who is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal per game this season for Santa Margarita High (Calif.);

• 6-3 combo guard Michael Harthun of South Medford (Oregon) High, who is averaging 22 points and four assists per game despite being slowed by a back injury sustained in the football season.

• 6-3 shooting guard Nick Witherill, a Scottsdale, Ariz., product who is averaging 16.9 points per game in his first year at Gilbert High. He transferred to Gilbert from Saguro High, where he was an All-State performer and led the club to the Class 4A-I state semifinals;

• 6-5 forward Marcus Capers of Montverede, Fla., a scoring and rebounding force who has been selected to play for Team Florida next month in the Florida vs. USA All-Star Game featuring some of the finest high school senior basketballers in the nation.

• 6-8 forward James Watson, a shot-blocking athlete from Stringtown (Okla.) High, a small-school powerhouse.

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