Thames will ask for release, says dad

LESS THAN 24 hours after Tony Bennett decided to leave Washington State for Virginia, one of the school's incoming freshmen is also talking about leaving. Xavier Thames, a potential starting point guard at Washington State next season, will ask to be released from his national letter of intent to WSU, Thames' father said Tuesday.

Ray Thames said son Xavier has not ruled out attending WSU, but wants to keep his options open after coach Bennett left Monday to take the head coaching job at Virginia.

"He's still very much interested in Washington State," Ray Thames said in a telephone interview from Elk Grove, Calif. "He wants to also check out his options and give the new staff a chance to recruit him."

The 6-foot-3 Thames averaged 20.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.8 steals per game this year at Pleasant Grove High School near Sacramento. Bennett had said he expected Thames to compete next season to replace point guard Taylor Rochestie, who was a senior this season.

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