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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 29 Pepperdine at Saint Mary’s Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Welcome to Pullman, Jabe Mullins

WSU adds the Saint Mary’s sharpshooter from the transfer portal.

Washington State has landed its first transfer portal target, getting Saint Mary’s sharpshooter Jabe Mullins to commit to the Cougs, he announced via Instagram. The school hasn’t announced a signing yet.

Mullins, a Snoqualmie native, is a 6-foot-6 wing with high-level shooting indicators and three years of eligibility remaining. WSU recruited him out of high school, but Mullins ultimately chose Saint Mary’s after also visiting Oregon State. Mullins played his high school ball at Mount Si and played with the Zach LaVine Elite squad for AAU ball. He was rated as a four-star recruit by 247Sports.com and was a fringe top-100 recruit by their estimation.

Mullins’ stat profile is not eye popping by any means — he averaged only 2.9 points per game during his sophomore campaign. But there is some upside for him to be more going forward. Saint Mary’s is not a particularly creative offensive team, and they did not run much for Mullins to get shots. When they did, he tended to knock them down at a solid clip. Mullins’ high school stats are reminiscent of recent WSU commit Dylan Darling’s, but Mullins brings more size and experience along with him.

The name of the game with Mullins is range. Mullins can shoot at a high level, hitting 39% of his threes on a solid volume of difficult ones. He was not always encouraged to just let it rip, but it is easy to see a wing group of Mullins, Andrej Jakimovski, TJ Bamba, and DJ Rodman being one of the best shooting position groups in the conference.

Mullins rarely misses easy jumpers, and that has a lot of value. If he is open, it is an almost guaranteed three points, especially if he is in the corner. If WSU has elite pick-and-roll playmakers on the roster, as Myles Rice or another transfer could be, Mullins will do a great job spacing the floor for him and hitting shots.

There is a question as to how versatile the jumper is. He has taken few pull-ups in his collegiate career and movement threes from him are hit or miss. The jumper is well out in front of his face and that makes contests more bothersome for him than someone like Jakimovski, who has a super high release that is compact to his body. The footwork on movement threes is also a bit of an issue, as he doesn’t hop or step into these shots in a way that is consistent. There is upside for him to be a truly gravity creating shooter, but he has not proven that skill to be there yet.

There are some potential untapped ball-skills with Mullins that we have not seen at the collegiate level. He averaged 6.8 assists per game at Mount Si and there were some high-level pick-and-roll reads mixed in there. Playing with an elite roll-man and potential handoff partner like Adrame Diongue could open up that part of his game. He is far from a point guard, but there is upside for him to more than just stand and shoot.

Mullins does well to play within the system on offense and he is always doing the right thing. That is a simple observation, and most college role players do that, but he understands his strengths as a shooter, and he leverages that well off the ball. He is a solid court mapper too, cutting and moving to open spaces off the ball well. He hustles for some offensive rebounds — his 4% offensive rebound rate is more than solid for a player at his position — and he just executes well when on the floor.

Here he cuts instead of popping, drawing two defenders and opening up an open three for his teammate.

Extra, connective passing is huge for an offense looking to take the next step, and Mullins makes those passes well. He helps in lifting the overall feel of the roster, which was deficient in that area last season. He is more than willing to trust his teammates to knock these shots down and that will only improve as he continues playing.

The defense with Mullins is going to be hit or miss. He is not a turnstile on that end, and he brings solid size at the wing. He moves well and hustles, but he is far from a stopper, and he is not a great playmaker on defense either. He should be able to contribute to a good defense and being flanked by the likes of Bamba, Diongue, and potentially Mouhamed Gueye will go a long way towards making that a reality.

Mullins is a better addition than his stat line would indicate. There is still much work to be done this offseason, but Mullins helps improve the overall feel on the roster and he provides spacing and some potential upside. His three years of eligibility is promising, and he could develop into a starting caliber wing if things go well. It is unclear what his role will be currently (likely a bench piece when the roster is finalized), but he could easily play legitimate minutes as a 7th or 8th man. If the playmaking comes along, he could even find himself in the starting lineup depending on how the season goes.

Welcome to Pullman, Jabe Mullins!

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