The Washington State Cougars have yet to make an official announcement, but it appears the basketball team has signed its first member of the 2021 class: Point guard Myles Rice from Tyrone, Georgia.
Rice, who committed a few weeks ago, is yet another top-200 high school player signed by the Cougs since Kyle Smith took over at WSU. Like all Smith targets, Rice is what he’d call a six-tool player who does a lot of things well. But as a point guard who could potentially play right away, he fills a very specific need: Isaac Bonton is set to graduate (maybe — more on that in a sec), and the only other point guards on the roster are freshman Jefferson Koulibaly (who will miss this season with an injury) and junior walk-on Myles Warren.
As a junior in high school, Rice averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Here are some highlights:
Last year’s recruiting class featured three top-200 players (Andrej Jakimovski, Carlos Rosario, Dishon Jackson), bringing Smith’s total to four in his first two full classes; all four of those players are in the top 12 recruits signed since the beginning of the 247Sports.com historical database. Kent signed just one top-200 player (Milan Acquaah) in his four full classes.
Whether WSU will be signing anyone else this year is a bit of a mystery. WSU ostensibly has one more scholarship to give, but a potential wrinkle is the NCAA’s eligibility waiver for this season. Because of COVID, this season doesn’t count against a player’s eligibility clock, just like football, which means Bonton (and forward Tony Miller) could still return for a second senior season. If everyone came back next season, WSU would be over the 13-scholarship limit:
It’s unclear whether teams will still be required to stay under the limit, or if a waiver will be granted to schools in the future if a senior exercises his option to stick around. As of now, the NCAA hasn’t given schools the green light to go above 13, which means the school is probably anticipating a departure, somewhere — which, to be honest, wouldn’t be entirely shocking, given the glut of talented players who are currently fighting for minutes.
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