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WSU lands former Jayhawk Joseph Yesufu from the transfer portal

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Syndication: The Des Moines Register Lily Smith/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Washington State Cougars received their first commitment from the Division 1 transfer portal on Thursday morning.

Joseph Yesufu, who spent the last two seasons as a Kansas Jayhawk and the two prior as a Drake Bulldog, will be making the move to Pullman to join Kyle Smith’s squad, a source close to the program confirms. He has one year of eligibility remaining. The news was first reported by Joe Tipton of ON3 Sports.

The 6’0 Bolingbrook, Illinois native began his college career with the Drake Bulldogs after winning All-State honorable mention honors at Bolingbrook High School. A knee injury kept him out of play to open and close his freshman season in 2019-20. His sophomore season proved to be a breakout year. Yesufu helped lead the Bulldogs to an NCAA tournament appearance, starting the final seven games of the season and averaging 22.4 points in that crucial stretch that included four postseason games. He finished his sophomore campaign averaging 12.8 points, 1.1 steals and shot 44.2% from the field, 38.4% from three and 81.2% from the free throw line. He also ranked amongst the best in the nation in limiting turnovers, according to KenPom.

After a stellar end to his sophomore season, Yesufu took his talents to Lawrence, joining the Kansas Jayhawks. In his first season, the Jayhawks won the national championship with Yesufu coming off the bench for Bill Self in 34 games. He saw a minute increase in his second season in Lawrence, playing in all but one game and starting three, including two in the Big-12 tournament.

Yesufu is similar, in some ways, to last year’s transfer portal grab Justin Powell. Much like Powell, Yesufu played limited minutes in a bigger conference but has upside just because they were good enough to play in those conferences in the first place.

The upside for the Cougs is that maybe Yesufu could recapture the magic from the final stretch of his sophomore season, the one that got him to Kansas in the first place. Even doing that sophomore season, he did not play in over 25 minutes in a game until February 7th, but by the end of February, he started to go on an absolute tear that made him look like a potential superstar. If he can find that rhythm again in Pullman, then this will be another great portal grab for Smith and staff.

Yesufu brings a veteran presence who has been on championship-winning teams and a hustler on the defensive side of the ball. While he may measure at six foot, he can still jump with anybody as seen in the 2021 NCAA tournament.

He’s also got a great floater game to add.

Yesufu figures to be a key piece in a backcourt rotation that lost T.J. Bamba earlier in the offseason.