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Who will Ernie Kent need to step up for Washington State in 2015-2016?

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The Cougars men's basketball team lost seven players from the 2014-2015 team. Which player will need to step up in order for WSU to take another step in becoming an elite basketball program?

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

We've talked so much football here on CougCenter the past couple weeks, I thought it'd be a nice change of pace if we talk about something else. How about Cougar men's basketball?

The 2014-2015 basketball season was a successful one for Washington State. Rarely does a 13-18, 7-11 record merit a "successful" season, yet it shows how bad the state of Cougar basketball has been in ever since Tony Bennett departed for Virginia. Ernie Kent won just as many conference games in his first season as head coach for the Cougars than Ken Bone did in his final TWO seasons. #TheProcessWazzu is well underway and year one ended up being more fun than most would have imagined.

But the Cougars roster has overhauled quite a bit since they were eliminated by California in the 2015 Pac-12 Basketball Tournament in Vegas. Seniors Davonte Lacy, Dexter Kernich-Drew, and Jordan Railey all graduated. Freshmen Jackie Davis, Trevor Dunbar, and transfer Aaron Cheatum left the program. And walk-on Marcus Graham (son of assistant coach Greg Graham) transferred to Seattle Pacific.

Your returning Cougars?

  • Junior Longrus
  • Brett Boese
  • Ike Iroegbu
  • Josh Hawkinson
  • Ny Redding
  • Valentine Izundu (transfer from Houston)
  • Que Johnson
  • Dominic Ballard (walk-on)
And your new Cougars?
  • Conor Clifford
  • Derrien King
  • Robert Franks
  • Charles Callison
  • Vionte Daniels
  • Renard Suggs
Davonte Lacy is Davonte Lacy. The Cougars will no doubt miss his him being on the court. Dexter Kernich-Drew started off the season slowly and came off the bench at times before earning his starting job back and catching fire at the seasons end. And Jordan Railey finally started to play like a Pac-12 center should. The difference between his performance in 2013-14 and 2014-15 is night and day, which bums me out that he won't be back for another year.

If the Cougars want to keep moving up the ladder in the Pac-12, they'll need a player (or two) to consistently replace the production put up by the three graduating seniors. Who could that player be?

Que Johnson has to be that player. Johnson could be the exact replica of Lacy on the court, statistically. A former four-star recruit, Johnson has yet to come into his own at Washington State. He's been shuffled in and out of the starting line up for the past two seasons and in those two years he's been extremely inconsistent. But it's Johnson, it has to be. He averaged 6.1 points per game in an average of 18 minutes each game last season and 9.1 the season before. He held offers from basketball powerhouses like Gonzaga, UNLV, and San Diego State before signing with Wazzu in 2012. He has all the talent to be one of the leaders on this team in 2015-2016, but will he?

Josh Hawkinson, without a doubt, will only get better. We saw him put up one of the best single-season performances in Washington State history as a sophomore. He has two more seasons to work on his craft and you can only imagine how opposing coaches will try to stop him when he gets the ball down low. And Ike Iroegbu put together fantastic performances last year as well. Like Johnson, he was inconsistent at times, but is an integral part to the Cougars starting lineup.

Do you think Que Johnson is the next Cougar superstar? Or is it somebody else?

Remembering Elson Floyd

Football

Washington State football picked up its sixth known commitment of the 2016 recruiting cycle on Thursday when D’Jimon Jones tweeted his intention of joining the Cougars.

Obtaining the unthinkable | Bellingham Herald
What once was a means to help Norvell accomplish his goal of being able to play football, has not become another passion of his, so much that he plans to compete on the Washington State University track and field team while he's also been accepted to the football program as a preferred walk-on