Recruits' eligibility could come down to wire

BROCK MOTUM

WASHINGTON STATE'S INCOMING recruiting class could be a moving target. Coach Ken Bone said Thursday during his postseason teleconference that incoming recruits DeMarquise Johnson and Richard Peters have not yet met NCAA eligibility requirements. Bone discussed that issue, Brock Motum's status and much more.

Bone previously expressed confidence that both would gain eligibility. He sounded less confident Thursday.

"I'm confident that it's going to be close," said Bone, whose other two signings, forwards Brett Boese (Spokane) and Richard Longrus (Oakland), are honor students and have passing test scores. "I know they're working hard and doing what they need to do."

There are two more SAT test sessions, in May and June, to receive qualifying SAT scores. But if neither were to qualify, that potentially could leave the Cougars, who finished with a 19-18 record in 2011-12, with three open scholarships. Bone said WSU utilized all 13 scholarships during the season when walk-on guard Will DiIorio was awarded one around Christmas. But he said DiIorio only was promised a scholarship for the season when the Cougars could not find a transfer they liked at the time.

Whether DiIorio has a scholarship for the upcoming season could depend on how many players the Cougars sign. Bone said his staff are talking with high school and junior-college players in addition to another who is transferring. Because of NCAA rules, Bone cannot specify which players he is targeting.

Depending on which players are added, the Cougars could be as deep next season as any in recent memory. While it is far too early to discuss a potential rotation, Bone said he expects point guard Reggie Moore and center Brock Motum, both of whom will be seniors, and guard DaVonté Lacy to have significant roles again next season.

As standard practice, Bone conducts postseason interviews with each of his players and it started Wednesday night with Moore, who led the Pac-12 and also set a single-season school record with 193 assists. Moore also averaged 10.2 points per game. After Motum was injured in the College Basketball Invitational at Oregon State, Moore was asked to pick up some of the scoring load. He scored 50 points in the three-game CBI championship series against Pittsburgh.

"I'm really proud of how he handled the season," Bone said. "I think Reggie is developing into a really good all-around basketball (player).

"There's something to be said for a senior that feels confident on the floor. I think Reggie will be there next year."

BONE MEETS WITH Motum this afternoon. He said Motum (foot), guard Mike Ladd (right thumb) and Lacy (wrist) all will sit out spring workouts to recuperate. Bone said Motum, who is about a week away from being able to run, is expected to return to the program. There has been some speculation that Motum, who averaged 18 points per game, could turn professional in Europe.

"I'm confident Brock will be back in our program next year," Bone said.

He feels Motum could benefit from another season of development that possibly could lead into an NBA career.

"We feel as a staff that he can become stronger," Bone said. "Have a strong base with his legs so he's not getting pushed around as much. He can be a little more multi-dimensional if we can post him up more."

The third returning starter, Lacy, averaged 8.5 points per game as a freshman. But he shot just 38.9 percent from the field and had 55 turnovers.

"First of all, he needs to work on his ball handling," said Bone, adding that Lacy also needs to refine his passing skills. "DaVonté Lacy is a really good player and we're really excited about him."

Beyond those players, Bone said he believes there are others who could develop significantly during the offseason along the lines of Motum, who averaged 7.6 points per game in 2010-11. He cited wing Dexter Kernich-Drew, who will be a sophomore next season, and juniors-to-be Patrick Simon and D.J. Shelton as possible breakout candidates.

"D.J. Shelton showed great signs," Bone said. "We're excited about his growth as a player."

Another player who could make an impact is Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge, who will be eligible to play next season. Bone described Woolridge as a strong, explosive guard, but also prefaced that by saying it is hard to tell before someone plays in a game.

"I've been fooled before by guys who are redshirting," he said. "You don't see day-to-day the mistakes they're making because you're focused on the guys who are playing."

IN REVIEWING LAST SEASON, Bone said he was happy with the results given the team's injury problems. Ladd, seniors Faisal Aden and Abe Lodwick and Motum also missed varying amounts of time because of injuries.

"I thought we had a chance to be pretty good if we stayed healthy, which we didn't," Bone said.

He said the absences of Aden, Lodwick and Motum particularly were disruptive because each was an integral part of the offense. Bone was happy that Ladd was able to play throughout the CBI.

"I thought it was really good for Mike Ladd," said Bone, adding that it appears Ladd will not require offseason surgery. "The last six games he was able to remain healthy enough to get quality minutes."

Bone said he likes the team he is returning -- he does not anticipate anyone leaving the program -- but also expects the conference to be improved next season.

"I just find it hard to believe we won't be better next year as a conference," he said.

NOTABLE NOTE:
  • Bone praised the contributions of seniors Marcus Capers and Abe Lodwick. He said both were valuable leaders on and off the court.

    He believes Lodwick, who made 46.2 percent of his 3-pointers, could play professionally somewhere.

    "Abe's athletic, long and can stroke it," Bone said. "There's always a role for a guy like that in any country."

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