BREAKING NEWS: Cougs land touted point guard

IN ANALYZING THE younger talent on the Cougars' basketball roster, what jumps out most is the sheer versatility and athleticism in the group. But there is also one thing that Tony Bennett could use to really tie it all together -- and that's a pure point guard. On Tuesday evening, Washington State found their man, a 6-3, 177-pounder rated in the top 20 nationally at this position.

Xavier Thames called up Tony Bennett to let him know he was coming to Wazzu.

"I committed earlier today to Washington State, " said Thames. "I told him I wanted to come to WSU and he was really happy, he said he doesn't have to look for more any more point guards in '09."

One drawing point for Thames and why he chose the Cougars was that with the athleticism infused into the Cougar program this incoming freshmen class, the Cougs are expected to get up and down the hardcourt a bit more while still playing their trademark stingy defense.

"We talked about how they're going to look to get up and down a lot more with guys like Klay (Thompson), (DeAngelo Casto and James Watson) coming in -- even with playing the defense that they do," said Thames.

THAMES SAW HEAVY interest late Marquette and other schools and he also liked Iowa State but in the end, it was the coaching staff that sold him on Wazzu, he said. Indeed, assistant Ron Sanchez and the WSU coaching staff were also a big factor in Thames' decision.

"Coach Bennett and coach Sanchez, those guys, I have a lot of faith in them. They're good people. And it's a good program. They said they're looking for me to come in and play right away, if not starting then to get a lot of minutes and help the team out and he said he was excited about that, and I'm really excited too."

THAMES AVERAGED 23.7 PPG and 4.3 assists this past season -- while his quick hands and feet accounted for 61 steals.

Washington State's recruitment of him went into overdrive in May, when he tore it up in AAU tournaments in Houston and Vegas against top flight competition.'s Greg Hicks says Thames, a three star prospect rated the No. 19 point guard in the nation, has great physical tools for the position and his basketball skills took a large leap forward between his sophomore and junior years.

Thames is the second verbal commit of WSU's 2009 recruiting class. He joins Spokane swingman Anthony Brown, who verbaled to Bennett as a Shadle Park High sophomore more than a year ago.

Xavier Thames profile

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