Cougs passing on 7-footer?

WILL KEN BONE sign a big man before the late signing period comes to a close on May 19? Potential Coug target Alec Brown, a 7-foot center from Winona, Minn., told his hometown paper a month ago that Washington State was one of three schools he was most interested in. His dad told CF.C recently that WSU was on the phone last week, but the school doesn't appear to be in a rush to make a commitment.

"Alec has got a couple other schools in the Midwest that are recruiting him as well," his father, Orrin, told CF.C. "He's going to take a few visits here (Midwest) and see how that goes. And then we'll decide if we'll take a trip out to Washington State. He'll probably make that decision in the next couple of weeks on whether to come and look or not."

Washington State has not offered a scholarship, said the elder Brown. And while there has been talk of a possible visit out to Pullman, it hasn't advanced to the stage of matching up calendars.

Northwestern, Iowa State and Toledo have all offered, said the elder Brown. Like WSU, Indiana and Arkansas are lurking, along with Wisconsin-Green Bay and others.

WSU assistant Ben Johnson, a noted mentor of big men and who has Midwest ties, has come out "probably 4-5 times over the last couple years" to watch Brown play, said the father.

MEANWHILE, THE BIG MAN rumor mill continues to churn along. WSU coaches are said to have been in attendance to watch Kevin Noreen -- another big Minnesota prepster -- at an open gym workout recently. The 6-10 forward originally signed with Boston College but has asked to be let out of his Letter of Intent. Noreen finished his career at Minnesota Transitions Charter School as the all-time leading scorer in Minnesota prep history and was named Minnesota's Mr. Basketball this past season.

AS FOR BROWN, if WSU were to end up extending a late offer, would distance play a role in his decision?

"We'd all like to see him stay close so we could watch him. But if it's the right fit, it's the right thing and he likes it, then more power to him," said Orrin.

  • WSU earlier this month signed Tacoma point guard Andre Winston, a former commit to James Madison. The second-team All-State honoree is considered a bit of a sleeper. WSU was his only Pac-10 offer.

  • Xavier Thames, one of four reserve guards who announced their intention to transfer from Washington State, said Wednesday he will visit Saint Mary's this weekend and San Diego State on May 12. Thames said he also may visit Miami (Fla.). All three schools have offered him scholarships. No Pac-10 schools are recruiting him, Thames said. Meanwhile, walk-on John Allen has accepted a scholarship at NCAA Division II Western Washington. Anthony Brown said he plans to play at a Division II school, possibly Central Washington. Last week, Portland State announced that Michael Harthun will play for the Vikings.

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