#24 / Guard / Washington St. Cougars
Caulfield Grammar School
This is the latest in our series of WSU basketball player profiles, a new one of which will hit the site every couple of days until the season officially starts on Nov. 13. You can read the other players' profiles here.
Scouting Report: WSU reached deep into Ben Johnson's Australia connections once again to find what they hope is a diamond in the rough in Dexter Kernich-Drew. Raw is probably the best word to describe Kernich-Drew; he didn't come from the same athlete development programs that produced Aron Baynes and Brock Motum. He's tall, but rail thin -- he's the same height as Klay Thompson but 20 pounds lighter. That's not a typo.
What does Ken Bone see in Kernich-Drew? First, an abundance of athleticism -- Kernich-Drew won the Midnight Mayhem dunk contest a couple of weeks ago. Brian, who was there, describes him as "bouncy." Second, he's got Bone's next-favorite attribute, after athleticism: A 3-point shot. Like Thompson, he has no problem getting the shot off over shorter defenders, which he did with regularity back home.
Trouble is, the competition back home is a far, far cry from the Pac-10. It's tough to gauge how the level compares to anything stateside, but let's put it this way: Baynes and Motum came from the highest level their country has to offer (the Australian Institute of Sport), and neither contributed right away. This is an emerging basketball country, but it certainly doesn't possess the depth of talent as the United States. Kernich-Drew put up some gaudy numbers in his league, but it's likely largely due to overmatched opponents.
We know Bone isn't keen on redshirts in general, but Kernich-Drew might be a prime candidate, and Bone has said as much. Kernich-Drew is no more ready for the rigors of the Pac-10 than Motum, who had played at the international level but was overwhelmed last year, so he could certainly use a year to hit the weights. But a larger issue is that Kernich-Drew is a relative newcomer to the game of basketball. Taking a year to simply practice and work on his game under the tutelage of excellent coaches should help him develop. Add in the fact that he's in a new country ... and yeah, a redshirt sounds like a great idea.
If you want an even more in-depth breakdown of Kernich-Drew, listen to the interview we conducted with his Australian coach after he committed last spring.
Best Case Scenario: All the backcourt players stay healthy, and there's not even a temptation for Bone to burn his redshirt. He spends a year adjusting to life in Pullman and learning how the game is played over here in practice time. He's set up for success for the subsequent four years.
Worst Case Scenario: Bone can't keep his itchy finger off the trigger, and Kernich-Drew gets the Steven Bjornstad treatment. He makes a few token appearances for no apparent reason and looks completely lost. That, plus coming to a new country, throws him off track. He becomes the second-coming of Thomas Abercrombie.
Likely Scenario: Kernich-Drew redshirts. Everyone who obsesses about redshirts for basketball players is happy.