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A closer look at Kyle Smith’s recruiting haul

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WSU Athletics

When Washington State hired Kyle Smith to take over the men’s basketball program, there was a common theme in nearly every article about him; Kyle Smith and his staff get the most out of their players. They do more with less. They over-achieve. He could build a program despite recruiting rankings in the 100s. That proved to be true during Smith’s first season in Pullman as the Cougars improved significantly from a year ago.

It also turns out Smith really can recruit.

We know Smith can do more with less. Now we get to find out what Smith can do with a top 50 recruiting class — and potentially even better than that.

The basketball program has been on fire on the recruiting trail, culminating on Sunday with the addition of Andrej Jakimovski. The Cougars now have a six-man recruiting class with two 4-star recruits and potentially a (currently) unranked star in Jakimovski.

If you haven’t been following closely, or even if you have and just want to get excited, here is the haul the Cougs have coming in 2020.

Efe Abogidi

Center, 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, Nigeria

Jeff Nusser scouting report:

It’s not a stretch to say that Abogidi would likely be the most athletic big man to ever play at WSU. He’s 18, and he’s been developing at the NBA Global Academy in Australia.

Highlights:

TJ Bamba

Guard, 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, Denver, Colorado

Kyle Smith scouting report:

“TJ is coming to us from Denver, Colorado where he is finishing high school,” said Smith. “TJ is a six-tool player. He can dribble, pass, drive, shoot, defend and rebound. This gives him the ability to play all three perimeter spots on offense and he can guard 1-4 as an interchangeable defender. In addition, TJ is a high academic achiever who received interest from the Ivy League.”

Highlights:

Jefferson Koulibaly

Guard, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Canada

Jeff Nusser scouting report:

He fits the bill of what this team desperately needs: An athletic scorer who can attack the basket. And WSU probably was a little fortunate to land him — he reclassified to 2020 because he wanted to head to college now after initially being in the 2021 class, which means he could still just be scratching the surface of what he’s capable of.

Highlights:

Dishon Jackson

Center, 6-foot-10, 235 pounds, Vallejo, California

24/7 Sports scouting report:

Big center with wide shoulders, long arms and wide base. Strong kid but not maxed out physically. Plus athlete for position. Soft hands and feet. Improving skill set; has ability to face and post up. Upside as area rebounder and rim protector given physical tools. Can improve consistency and has struggled some with injuries. Projects as high major starter with continued development.

Highlights:

Carlos Rosario

Forward, 6-foot-7, 180 pounds, Garden Grove, California

24/7 Sports scouting report:

Rosario, who arrived in the States from the Dominican Republic prior to his junior season, is an athletic forward with good size and length who has a high upside.

Highlights:

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Andrej Jakimovski

Forward, 6-foot-7, 205 pounds, North Macedonia

Jeff Nusser scouting report:

There’s every reason to believe that if Jakimovski had played in the U.S. this past year, he’d have been considered a four-star prospect around the fringes of the top 100 players in 2020. Jakimovski is highly polished and is positioned to contribute from day one, having been competing against grown men in Europe.

Put simply, this is quite the coup for Smith.

Highlights:

Kyle Smith, ladies and gentleman.

*****

Basketball:

Washington State signs elite international prospect Andrej Jakimovski | The Spokesman-Review
More than a year ago, Andrej Jakimovski was the top scorer and third-leading rebounder while representing his country, North Macedonia, at the 2019 FIBA U-18 European Championship B in Oradea, Romania.

Andrej Jakimovski to play for Washington State basketball after strong European season
Andrej Jakimovski, who led the FIBA U18 European Championship B in scoring, has committed to Washington State, he told ESPN.