If you don't pay close attention to WSU basketball, you probably weren't aware that Ernie Kent picked up a transfer from Houston named Valentine Izundu in his first summer as coach. The move didn't come with a lot of fanfare -- Izundu was a deep reserve as a freshman before only playing in four games as a sophomore and was seen as a bit of a project for Kent.
You might want to learn his name.
I'm not sure that "wow" goes far enough to describe what's in that video. The top of a backboard is 13 feet; Izundu -- who is 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds -- jumps to 12 feet, 5 inches. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic (or omitting someone who came to WSU before my time), I'm not sure the Cougs have actually ever had a guy like this.
Izundu figures to take Jordan Railey's place in the starting lineup at center. He already had a track record of blocking shots in his limited minutes at Houston -- he rejected 14 percent of opponents' twos when he was on the floor. (For context, only one Pac-12 play exceeded 10 percent last season, Oregon's Jordan Bell.) Who knows if he can sustain that kind of production over starter's minutes, but that's a heck of a good place to start.
Unfortunately, that vert didn't translate into much else at Houston -- he didn't grab a lot of rebounds, although he seemed to be pretty good at making his limited two-point attempts. (I presume those were dunks.) He's added 20 pounds since coming to WSU, so here's to hoping that helps him grab some more loose balls, especially on the offensive end -- Josh Hawkinson will grab most everything on the other end of the floor.
At the very least, Izundu should be able to block a bunch of shots and dunk the ball. And that should be fun!
The Cougars opened practice a week ago and play their first exhibition game on Oct. 30. They tip off the regular season against Northern Arizona on Nov. 13 at Beasley Coliseum.