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Ukrainian big man Volodymyr Markovetskyy signs with WSU hoops

The 7-foot center brings a host of international experience.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington State Cougars have added another player to their 2019 class, as Volodymyr Markovetskyy has signed a letter of intent to play for new coach Kyle Smith which could be officially announced later today, a source has confirmed to CougCenter. The commitment was first reported this morning by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

UPDATE: It’s official!

Markovetskyy stands 7-foot and he has experience at the international level for his native Ukraine. In last summer’s FIBA European U18 Championships, he averaged 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 24.3 minutes across seven games. Additionally, his club team where he’s been developing — Zalgiris in Lithuania — has been highly successful, advancing to the Euoroleague Final Four.

This is a massive get for Smith for a number of reasons. One is that it fills a huge need for the Cougars, whose only interior big man is 6-foot-9 Jeff Pollard — and he’s a senior. Another reason this is big is because it shows Smith’s ability to tap into the international talent pool, something that most of us consider vital to adding talent at a school that has a difficult time adding it in traditional ways (as the previous coach demonstrated).

As for what Markovetskyy brings to the table? He’s a fairly traditional big man in that he does his offensive work around the basket; of his 45 shots at the Euros, all were inside the arc. He has great touch around the rim, and he parlays his size into a ton of offensive rebounds.

“We are thrilled that Volodymyr Markovetskyy has signed with us,” Smith said via news release. “ ‘Vova’ is a traditional back-to-the-basket center who also has the ability to play out on the floor like most European players. He is someone we have tracked closely since his performance for the Ukrainian U18 National Team where he averaged a double-double in the A Division.”

An interesting aspect of his size is that he’s not hulking, but he’s not skinny, either; WSU lists him at 230 pounds. And while he’ll need to develop — like most all big men do — he’s also far enough along that he should be able to give WSU some solid minutes next season.

Mike Schmitz of evaluated Markovetskyy two years ago, so take his observations with that grain of salt. He noted the big man’s soft touch and rebounding ability. On the weaknesses, Schmitz indicated a lack of confidence inside, limited post abilities, and softness on defense. Again, the evaluation was from two years ago when Markovetskyy was 16, so some of that may be improved or different at this point.

If you’d like to get a look at Markovetskyy yourself, here are his two best games from last summer’s Euros. He had 17 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks against Greece, then followed that up with 17 points and 11 rebounds against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This brings Smith’s 2019 class unofficially up to six, as he’s now secured commitments from five other recruits: Deion James (whose grad transfer has been officially announced by the school), junior college transfers Daron Henson and Isaac Bonton (the former of which has already signed an LOI), Australian high schooler Ryan Rapp, and Seattle-area point guard (and WSU legacy) Noah Williams.

Smith still could have more scholarships still to give, as we’re still waiting to hear if Marvin Cannon, Ahmed Ali and Wade will indeed be transferring, as well as whether Nigel John will be released from his letter of intent. John has given no indication of his intent one way or the other.