This will be the final season of the Pac-12 as we know it, and one of the schools left in limbo after the departures are the Cougars of Washington State Basketball. Kyle Smith is entering his fifth season as the team’s head man after three successful seasons at San Francisco, Smith has led Washington State to two straight NIT appearances including a trip to the semifinals two seasons ago. In 2023-24 the Cougars have higher expectations, their first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2008.
The Cougars will attempt to do so after losing their top 4 scorers in the offseason. Both TJ Bamba and DJ Rodman transferred, while Justin Powell graduated and Mouhamed Gueye went to the NBA. In order to fill those voids Smith brought in four newcomers he’s hoping can help propel Washington State to the next level.
Joseph Yesufu has had quite a career beginning with helping Drake win the Missouri Valley as a sophomore to winning a national title with Kansas two seasons ago. For the Cougars to continue to grow they are going to need Yesufu to resemble the sophomore version.
After a season at Idaho, Isaac Jones returns home to play for Washington State. The senior center was a dominant force for the Vandals last season. The 6-9 native of Spanaway will need to play a significant offensive role for the Cougars this year.
Back-to-back NIT appearances are a good sign of growth for Washington State under Smith, but continued success this season will heavily rely on a starting five that could see up to three new faces. Let’s take a look at the potential rotation for the Cougars.