WazzuWatch.com is reporting that the Cougars have landed junior college transfer James Hunter, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound Australian out of Wyoming who should have three years to play three.
It's worth noting that there's been no official comment from WSU, and Cougfan.com -- normally the first to break these sorts of things -- has yet to confirm the report. So this might not be a done deal. EDIT: Cougfan.com has now confirmed the commitment with Hunter's junior college coach.
But with the departure of Charlie Enquist and the apparent impending non-qualification of recruit Richard Peters, this signing would fill an immediate need for the Cougs in the frontcourt -- remember, Iowa State transfer Jordan Railey is going to have to sit out a year.
Many of you know that I'm not always a huge fan of JC kids, but I do think the fact that Hunter has three seasons of eligibility is important; that one extra year of development with the staff makes an enormous difference -- consider how Faisal Aden was just starting to figure things out, and now he's gone.
In looking at Hunter's limited video -- which was available earlier today but now appears to be private, as puzzling as that is -- he appears to run the floor well and has a frame that can definitely add some strength. He's doesn't look to be an immediate impact player, as his post moves seem raw and basically dependent on being taller than the other juco players. He doesn't use his left (there were opportunities for him to finish with his left and he doesn't) and he often faded away from the basket rather than initiating contact.
Still, these are things that can be taught and refined. As we know, most any big man that ends up at WSU is going to be at least somewhat raw, and Hunter is no exception. Of the two, Railey and Hunter, the latter appears to be the more intriguing prospect.
The good news is that it's unlikely Hunter would be counted on for major minutes this year. He'd provide frontcourt depth, likely filling the same role Enquist filled this past season. Brock Motum and D.J. Shelton will get the bulk of the minutes, with Patrick Simon likely filling the role of "stretch four" that Abe Lodwick occupied last year. That means incoming freshman Richard Longrus and Hunter would pick up the leftovers, which probably won't be much.
If Hunter is indeed coming, it'll be fairly obvious -- based purely on circumstantial evidence -- that the coaching staff isn't planning on Peters ever stepping foot in Pullman again. Peter's has to get more than just a qualifying score on a test -- he still needs to earn the required number of high school credits.
If Hunter signs, the class would appear to be maxed out, assuming Que Johnson figures out how to get a qualifying test score. The four previously signed players will pick up the four scholarships vacated by the graduating seniors and Hunter likely would pick up Will DiIorio's scholarship that the one-time walk-on was awarded last semester.
And for those of you who have occasionally lamented Ken Bone's apparent love affair with wings, you'll note that four of the five players in the 2012 class would be big men.
One type of player still not in this class? A point guard. Reggie Moore is going to be a senior, and there doesn't appear to be an heir apparent on the roster. This would seem to indicate Bone is comfortable with Royce Woolridge or DaVonte Lacy becoming a primary ball handler. Or maybe he feels confident he'll land an impact point guard in the 2013 class.
Whatever the case, it's something to keep an eye on this season.