Bennett said the Cougs addressed needs in both front and backcourt, pointing to Xavier Thames at the point with senior Taylor Rochestie graduating after this season. And with PF Caleb Forrest and C Aron Bennett also graduating after this year, the Cougs "added two 4-types" -- 6-8 David Chadwick and 6-9 Aussie Brock Motum. Bennett also said he was "proud of" landing another state of Washington and Northwest player in Spokane shooting guard Anthony Brown.
"Even though this is an inexperienced team this year, next year will really be a freshman-sophomore based team. And that will be an interesting time...They're going to be called upon. As much as there is uncertainty this year, next year there's going to be a lot of inexperience, that's going to get experience. So in that group of four guys who are coming in, there are going to have to be some of them who are going to play, as freshmen...Like this year, as hard as it is to go through the growing pains, it is a great way to I think in the long run establish some nice things in your program."
Tony Bennett on the new Cougars
PG Xavier Thames (6-3, 160), Pleasant Grove HS, Elk Grove, CA
"A playmaker with the ball. Good size and can score, but just has a natural feel with the ball. I like his dimensions.
SG Anthony Brown (6-5, 205), Shadle Park HS, Spokane WA
"He's versatile...strong, about 6-4, maybe 6-5...over 200 pounds. Again, a nice feel...that's what I liked about him when I saw him at a young age -- good feel, good versatility. I like how he draws fouls and rebounds."
PF David Chadwick (6-8, 215), Charlotte Latin School; Charlotte, NC
Bennett likened Chadwick to Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling and Caleb Forrest -- "Just the consummate team player, a heady tough player... A skilled 6-8, just real tough and real team oriented, and will do all the little things. Has a nice feel for the game and has a good understanding of the game. I think he's the type of guy we built this program on."
"He's very mobile -- a realy lively, active player who has some skill and can play multiple positions. And again, a real unselfish player...and Motum can score."
Summary on the four new Cougs: "All the guys have their certain strengths but until they get here you really don't know because you see them against competition that isn't going to be what they'll face when they arrive."
"I don't think any incoming recruit (laughs) has the true willingness to play the defense you demand. I think you have to instill that into them. Certainly, they know when we recruit 'em that's going to be a true staple of our program."
Recruiting Down Under:
Baynes isn't the only WSU-Australia connection, said Bennett. "We've been after (Motum) for quite a while, he had actually verbally committed to us quite a while ago but didn't want to make a big deal about it...coach (Ben) Johnson is married to an Australian (Nicky), he played professionally and coached over there..we've made an intentional effort to recruit Australia. And that's changing because everybody's becoming aware of it...but we've been digging in there as hard as we can for the last, since Ben's been here, five years, and he's done a nice job."
| More Bennett quotables|
"Certainly there are some great players and many of the teams in our conference sign them, and we work hard to -- but it's how they fit into your program, and will they buy in, and do you see a place that they can fit."|
"What I do know about our class is that...they're good young men -- men of character and young men who have bought into what we're trying to accomplish at Washington State."
"(It's) a complete, very solid class that again, over time, we'll find out what they're made out of -- but I like the character, I like what they're about, and I like what they've bought into."
In-state and Northwest recruiting:
Bennett said although the Cougs have brought on board guys like Michael Harthun, Abe Lodwick, Charlie Enquist and now Brown, the last two NCAA Tourney seasons did not result in a sea change in the way the '09 class in the state of Washington and Northwest prospects see Wazzu.
"When we first got here it was very difficult to even get a sniff from kids in this whole area...hopefully we'll recruit more of those. But are we ever going to fill our complete roster with state of Washington, Oregon or Northwest kids? Probably not, as indicated by this class, we've followed through in going wherever we can. But whenever we can get a kid that's excited about Washington State, and we honestly tried hard on a lot of them but many just aren't that interested, but when a kid is really excited about it, like DeAngelo, we got him late and Anthony is, that's a good thing...Probably hasn't changed a whole lot (in-state and NW) but it's still a challenge. We really want to get kids who are excited about being here. We just want the right guys who fit Washington State basketball and fit the community here."
For reasons noted above, Bennett didn't single out one of the four as being most ready, pre-senior season, to make a possible impact once they get to Washington State. But with Taylor Rochestie graduating, he did say Thames will be tested early.
"A formula for us has been to get kids and get them a lot of experience early in their development, early in their career, and hope it really pays off," said Bennett, who also noted Motum's experience in international play could position him farther along than the average recruit. "So those two, one by necessity, one by the experiences he's had playing.
"But as I've learned, you never put any expectations, low or high, on these kids coming in because they can surprise you -- a whole senior season a year before college? There's a lot of development..physically and mentally."
Cyberspace this, you feckless internet thugs:
As for the vast amount of internet coverage dedicated to a basketball recruiting class these days, Bennett said if head his druthers, he'd put the genie back in the bottle. "I don't like to make a big deal or have a lot of fanfare regarding a recruiting class because quite honestly, until you get 'em here, and you see how they progress over the years, you truly don't know. And I think so many people hype up the recruiting classes when it's unnecessary.
"Obviously they (recruiting networks) didn't make a big deal out of our first class with Derrick, Robbie and Kyle. And I was reading a good book..someone asked the coach how he thought the team would be and he said 'Ask me in 20 years and I'll tell you if we had a successful recruiting class,' because obviously (there's play on the court) but also what kind of young men these guys turn out to be."