Apparently not content with the play of his point guards last season, Ernie Kent has landed some immediate help in that position with the commitment of junior college transfer Charles Callison. The news was first reported by Cougfan.com.
Callison, from San Bernardino Valley College, is 6-feet tall and unrated by the major scouting services. In fact, he doesn't appear to even have been rated coming out of high school. He'll enter as a junior and have three years to play two seasons.
"They liked my leadership and how I push the ball because they like to play fast - and my toughness on defense. That's what wins championships. If you can't play defense, you can't win a championship," Callison told Cougfan. Callison was the MVP of his league, averaging 15.4 points and 4.0 assists. He appears to be an excellent shooter, making more than 40 percent of his more than 300 three-point attempts across his two seasons.
Adding Callison appears curious at first blush, given that WSU looked to already have a couple of competent point guards in Ike Iroegbu and Ny Redding - you're generally only going to add a junior college player if you feel like you need immediate help at the position. I know many of us were encouraged by Iroegbu's development at the point, but as Jacob Thorpe notes, this move really makes the most sense if you believe that Kent actually sees Iroegbu primarily as a scoring guard. That's where Iroegbu spent the bulk of the first half of the year before taking over for Redding, who struggled in Pac-12 play.
Additionally, Redding wasn't much of a defensive presence, and if Callison truly is an upgrade there, it's not hard to see him overtaking Redding as the starting point guard to open the 2015-16 season. At the very least, the gauntlet has been laid, and Redding is on notice that he better develop his game or he's going to find himself squeezed out for minutes.
I can't find any video of Callison at San Bernardino, but there is this from his senior year of high school. It won't do much to convince you that he can run the point, but it will verify that he can, in fact, shoot, as well as occasionally steal the ball:
With the addition of Callison, here's a quick take on how the depth chart might look heading into next season:
|Perimeter Players||Interior Players|
|Charles Callison - Jr.||Ike Iroegbu - Jr.||Que Johnson - RJr.||Josh Hawkinson - Jr.||Valentine Izundu - RJr.|
|Ike Iroegbu - Jr.||Renard Suggs - Jr.||Brett Boese - Sr.||Junior Longrus - Sr.||Josh Hawkinson - Jr.|
|Ny Redding - So.||Que Johnson - RJr.||Derrien King - So.||Brett Boese - Sr.|
|Viont'e Daniels - Fr,||Ny Redding - So.||Robert Franks - Fr.||Que Johnson - RJr.|
|Viont'e Daniels - Fr.||Derrien King - So.|
|Robert Franks - Fr.|
The most glaring need is up front, where there really are only two legitimate big men on the roster - Hawkinson and Izundu. It's widely known that WSU is going hard after junior college big man Conor Clifford, out of Saddleback College, which is in Callison's league. Clifford is huge - 7-foot, 270 pounds - and would allow Hawkinson to play primarily at the 4 in a way that Izundu might not. But the Cougs aren't the only major conference school after Clifford, who has an official visit set up with Frank Martin at South Carolina.
With the addition of Callison, another junior, the Cougars are shaping up to have an enormous recruiting class in 2017. Also, if they fill the final scholarship that's available this season, Kent will ostensibly have zero scholarships to offer for 2016*. The most fascinating part of this class is that if Kent does land a legitimate big man, this class will have a little bit of everything except a stretch four:
*Of course, that won't stop him from recruiting a couple of players in the event of roster attrition, which has become a time-honored tradition in college athletics.