As reported by multiple outlets in the last day or so, Iowa State transfer Jordan Railey -- a 6-foot-11, 250-pound center -- will be coming to WSU this summer. After having played sparingly in his first two years in Ames, he has three years to play two.
Although Railey won't be able to play this season as he fulfills his year of ineligibility as a result of the transfer, he obviously fills a huge need on a roster that is perilously thin in terms of actual post players. He's a big body. That's a positive!
Unfortunately, that's sort of where the obvious positives end. I hesitate to bag too hard on a kid who is pursuing his dream to play college basketball; these guys aren't professionals, and I'm sure he's incredibly excited to get a fresh start at WSU. However, there isn't much reason beyond Railey's height to think he could make a serious impact for the Cougs.
Railey played in just 38 games in his two seasons as a Cyclone, and in that time, he became best known to ISU fans for a prodigious ability to foul. He played much more as a freshman than he did as a sophomore, and his rate of 9.9 fouls per 40 minutes in his first season had to approach some sort of unofficial record. Because of that, he could barely stay on the floor.
It's a bit of a shame, too, because in his limited time he did demonstrate an ability to block shots, sending away nearly 9 percent of opponents' two-pointers when he was on the floor as a freshman. For context, DeAngelo Casto blocked shots at that same rate during his freshman season, and D.J. Shelton led WSU in block rate this year at 4.5 percent.
For a defense that suffered more than anything this year because of a soft presence around the rim, Railey could be a heck of a weapon. But if anyone really believed that was a legitimate probability, he wouldn't have been picking from among WSU, San Francisco, Boise State and Idaho.
This also is to say nothing of his offensive game, which was basically nonexistent at Iowa State -- 83.6 offensive rating, 40 percent on twos, 25 percent turnover rate as a freshman.
In his interview with Christian Caple, Railey alluded to playing too heavy this past season. Perhaps some lost weight, combined with a year of working with Ben Johnson (who is an excellent big man coach), will help him develop into a useful player who can be counted on for more than 10 minutes and five fouls. Once upon a time, it seemed like Aron Baynes was good for about 10 minutes and five fouls (even though he never actually was at more than 5.8).
But it's a long shot.
The other part of this to keep an eye on is what this means for the development of this recruiting class. WSU has four scholarships available for next season plus Will DiIorio's scholarship, which he earned for the second half of this year but presumably could be taken away again.
Four guys are signed to letters of intent, and if all four qualify, that means DiIorio's scholarship is going to have to go to Railey. But that's a big "if" right now -- we know that both Que Johnson and Richard Peters have work to do to get qualified. Given that Peters is also an enormous, slow-of-foot big man -- just like Railey -- one has to wonder if this is indicative of Peters' (slim) chances of eligibility. Beyond that, we know that WSU is also pursuing Jordan Tebbutt, who is similar to Johnson.
Add it all up, and it seems pretty clear that Bone knows at least one of those two guys isn't going to qualify.