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Filling WSU’s Final Roster Spot Part 2: Internal or External?

WSU has one more roster spot and the portal is great way to fill it, right?

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

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Washington State Men’s Basketball still has one open scholarship spot and a chance to fight for a rotation role if the right player gets it. In part one, we discussed some overseas guys that could get the last spot. Going international makes intuitive sense, as no one in the portal is obviously good enough to play a major rotation role right now, and there aren’t really any domestic freshmen left. However, if we look close enough, there are some other opportunities to be had.

Option 2: Leave It Open

WSU is full of walk-ons this year. From returners like AJ Rohosy and Ben Oleson, to intriguing newcomers like Parker Gerrits and AJ LaBeau. There is definitely a possibility that the staff leaves the spot open and looks to convert one of the walk-ons to a scholarship player in due time. The most obvious candidates are the newcomers because they both have skillsets and lower-level production, which makes it surprising they agreed to walk on in the first place.

Parker Gerrits

Parker Gerrits is one of the biggest surprise walk-ons I’ve seen in recent memory. Gerrits held scholarship offers from Vermont, Montana, and Portland, but the draw of Pullman was enough to get him here despite those solid offers. His game is exactly the type that could have made him a high-major transfer in a couple of years, and should his development continue, that could make him an intriguing potential scholarship guy for the Cougs.

Gerrits had a strong senior season at Olympia High School and for Team Stuck on the UAA circuit. Gerrits averaged 19 points per game during his senior season, and led Olympia on a solid 4A tourney run. He’s an incredibly smart and decisive point guard who can control the pace of a game. He excels at making plays for others in the pick-and-roll despite not being an outstanding ball-handler. He does keep the ball secure well, and he can take what the defense gives him.

Gerrits’ main scoring weapon is the outside shot. He has super clean mechanics and solid touch that combine with strong footwork and a high-release to make him effective from all over the floor. He loves to get going in the mid-range area, especially in pick-and-roll. He is comfortable off of a variety of footwork patterns and his ability to rise into shots while off-balance is great. His mid-range scoring helps to make up for his lack of rim-pressure, and it could make him an effective college guard in time.

Gerrits’ issues are all athletic-based. He is not explosive off-the-dribble or from a standstill- and he struggles to finish over size at the rim. He’s fairly strong for his size, and has a path to solid defense because of that, but is unlikely to be a true positive on that end. His athleticism will keep him from being an effective rim-pressure guard, which will limit him on both scoring and playmaking.

Still, Gerrits seems like someone who could develop into a positive player in Pullman. His upside might even be starting guard level if the shot gets to nuclear levels.

AJ LaBeau

LaBeau is another guy who had some mid/low-major D1 offers as a scholarship player (Idaho State and Army) but chose to walk on in Pullman instead. LaBeau is a Boise, Idaho native who played his high school ball at Timberline. He is a traditional big-man in a lot of senses. He isn’t a great athlete or an excellent post-scorer, but he plays big and has some solid instincts as a shot-blocker and roll-man.

In some ways, LaBeau reminds me of former Coug Brandton Chatfield, but a little less bouncy. He is very right-handed near the rim, but he has solid touch on hook shots and a nice little up-and-under move. Defensively, it is hard to get a ton of read because his tape is mostly against players far smaller and far less athletic, but he is big and he has solid hand placement on blocks.

While less accomplished than Gerrits, LaBeau might be a better bet to provide early returns thanks purely to his size. If WSU decides the final spot should go to a big rather than a guard, he could get the nod.

Option 3: Portalling Again

While the names are few and far between, there are still some transfers out there that WSU could look to add. Most of these players are, at best, unproven at the collegiate level- but their high school tape or general skillset could give them upside. It’s important to note that the Cougs are not necessarily hunting for a starter or even a major bench piece, as the top 7 or so of the rotation feels mostly set, so getting any type of competent depth would be a plus.

Kruz Perrot-Hunt, South Dakota

Smith and Co. love small bombers. From Isaac Bonton to Tyrell Roberts and Mike Flowers, WSU seems to love smaller guards with a ratchet. Perrot-Hunt could be exactly the right guy to fill that role, as he scored 14.3 points per game on 42.3% shooting from deep during his senior year at South Dakota.

Perrot-Hunt is from Australia, an area that produces Cougs with regularity, and that could make recruitment a little easier. He played a lot of point guard for South Dakota, but would likely be asked to limit his role into a pure shooting one with at WSU. His career shooting numbers are strong, and it’s definitely easy to buy the versatility. He’s particularly effective on one-dribble pull-ups off a screen, or little hesitation shots in the mid-range. He has a high and quick release that should scale comfortably to our level of athleticism.

Of all the transfer guys we will discuss, Perrot-Hunt is both my favorite and the one that feels most realistic. He fits an archetype that the staff loves, he could play early as a 6th-man type bucker-getter, and he will only take up a scholarship spot for a year, leaving it open for players the staff is more excited about in the future. His defense is problematic and asking him to play the PG spot would likely go poorly, but he’s fairly versatile offensively and he could comfortably play a role for this team.

Anthony Roy, New Mexico State

Roy is another weird, but somewhat intriguing bet and he provides more wing depth, which WSU definitely needs. Roy was recruited by Smith’s former home, San Francisco, out of high school but he eventually found himself at Wenatchee Valley CC and then played last season at New Mexico State. At 6’5, Roy reminds me a bit physically of Marvin Cannon and he averaged 10.3 points on 55.4% true shooting in only 20 minutes a night for the Aggies.

The first thing that stands out when watching Roy is his athleticism. He dunked a lot at Wenatchee Valley and looked the part of a solid slasher at NMSU. He does struggle to finish non-dunks, and his touch and feel for finishing are both lacking, but there is something there that could look even better in WSU’s spacing.

The other sell with Roy is the plus outside shooting. He shot 39.7% on almost 5 attempts a game in his one season at New Mexico State. He has clean mechanics with a super high arcing shot that allows him to shoot over defenders. He is not necessarily bombing off movement, but he can hit off a couple dribbles and he is knockdown as a spot-up guy. Combining that type of shooting with solid athleticism and slashing could help him play a rotation role early.

Roy played limited minutes for the Aggies and that probably has something to do with his inconsistent defense. His athleticism helps him to be a playmaker on that end, but he can get lost consistently. He’s not a playmaker offensively at all- he only had a 5.4% assist rate, and is always looking to score when he gets downhill, which will limit his role. Still, his offensive fit feels seamless and he would add a different wrinkle at the wing as someone who can get to the rim off the bounce and hit open shots away from the ball.

The production has never been top notch for Roy, but his game translates as an athletic off-ball shooter and cutter and that type of player could surprise and play big minutes for WSU.

New Mexico State was embroiled in controversy last year, and it’s unclear how much Roy found himself caught up in. I did not include DeShawndre Washington on this list because his involvement is more clearly problematic, but Roy is a question there.

Ashton Smith- Texas A&M

Smith was once a three-star recruit who was noted for his plus athleticism and physically ready body. He is only about 6’9, but he plays above the rim and has the strength to bang with bigs in the low post. He didn’t play much at A&M, but he could be a solid depth big in the Palouse.

Smith is not a grab that would put Coug fans over the moon, but he could fill a need as solid depth. WSU has definitely had some big-man health issues for a couple years running, consistently being forced to rely on walk-ons to play some real minutes at the center spot. Smith would be the 4th big in the room who can make sure that WSU is never trotting out non-scholarship bigs in important minutes. He doesn't have a stand out strength, but he could be a solid pick-and-roll roll-man who can handle post-up bigs on defense.

Martavious Russell, Mississippi State

Russell was a one-and-done at Mississippi State, meaning he would join WSU with three years of eligibility. He was a three-star recruit out of high school and he would immediately be one of the better athletes in the conference formerly known as the Pac-12, should he join the Cougs this offseason.

Russell has a lot of holes and would likely not play a ton early, but the athleticism gives him a great base to build on. He is point guard sized -6’2- but his game is almost more suited to be a wing. He’s explosive near the rim with a strong frame to allow him to handle contact well. He has a good first-step and top speed to allow him to get downhill with ease, but he’s still learning to make proper reads out of those actions.

Russell would be an intriguing grab and he might make WSU the most exciting layup line team in the country. Buying into athleticism as the base to build depth around is interesting, and it would definitely mark a change from the past team-building strategies. There’s a lot to enjoy about his game, but it would likely be a year or two before he could provide any real contributions, but he could be a solid third PG behind Joseph Yesufu and Myles Rice.


WSU is, in some ways, running out of options. The transfer portal is dry and there are no high school recruits left. However, the Cougs are crafty and resourceful, and they create value where there is none consistently. That could be internally, it could be from the portal, or it could be from overseas. Let me know who stands out to you as the best potential grab for the Cougs to round out their roster!

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