Milan Acquaah, who was a candidate to take on an enhanced role for the Washington State Cougars as a third-year sophomore next season, has instead announced his intention to transfer, via Twitter.
Of note, perhaps, are the people Acquaah explicitly thanked (his teammates) and the people he didn’t (the coaching staff).
It’s probably not a coincidence that Acquaah’s announcement comes just days after WSU signed junior college point guard Jervae Robinson, who was very likely to usurp whatever increase in minutes Acquaah thought he was in line for after the transfer of Malachi Flynn.
And it made sense that Ernie Kent would recruit a ball handler to replace Flynn; Acquaah struggled mightily with turnovers last season, even as he proved capable of making plays with passes from time to time. Of the possessions that Acquaah used, roughly one third of them ended with a turnover. That’s a really, really high number (by contrast, Flynn’s rate was less than half that), and simply not tenable for a primary ball handler across 25 or 30 minutes, which is what Acquaah would have been asked for in the absence of a point guard signing.
Instead, Acquaah would have been fighting for minutes again this coming season in a situation remarkably similar to last season, except with more options on the bench for Kent to mix and match.
It’s also entirely possible there’s more to the story, since Acquaah has already redshirted and that means he’s desperate enough to get away that he’s willing to give up a year of eligibility to make this move.
UPDATE, 4/29: Acquaah would like you to know that the “real reason” is ... well, actually, that’s still unclear, but it’s not animus toward the coaching staff.
To clear up any speculation this was my real reason for leaving WSU. pic.twitter.com/pBB2UJwSPY— Milanacquaah (@MilanAcquaah) April 29, 2018
His departure is a major bummer, because Acquaah showed some flashes of promise last season, and it wasn’t hard to envision him taking a big step forward if he could clean up some of the turnovers and improve his perimeter shooting.
So, another player flees Kent’s program.
- He is the fourth player to depart the program since the end of the season, joining Malachi Flynn and Jamar Ergas (transfers) and Robert Franks (NBA draft, could still return to school, but not expected to).
- Of the 10 high school players recruited in Kent’s first three classes, Acquaah is the sixth to leave via transfer.
- Of the 21 players Kent recruited in his first four classes, less than half have either graduated from WSU or remain on track to do so:
Ernie Kent’s Recruiting
|Trevor Dunbar||2014||HS||Transferred, March 2015|
|Jackie Davis Jr.||2014||HS||Transferred, March 2015|
|Aaron Cheatum||2014||JC||Transferred, March 2015|
|Ny Redding||2014||HS||Transferred, March 2015|
|Valentine Izundu||2014||TR||Transferred, March 2015|
|Renard Suggs||2015||JC||Transferred, March 2016|
|Derrien King||2015||JC||Transferred, December 2016|
|Conor Clifford||2015||JC||Graduated, 2017|
|Charles Callison||2015||JC||Graduated, 2017|
|Viont'e Daniels||2015||HS||On track to graduate|
|Robert Franks||2015||HS||On track to graduate|
|Malachi Flynn||2016||HS||Transferred, March 2018|
|Jamar Ergas||2016||HS`||Transferred, March 2018|
|KJ Langston||2016||JC||Transferred, May 2018|
|Milan Acquaah||2016||HS||Transferred, April 2018|
|Arinze Chidom||2016||HS||Transferred, December 2018|
|Jeff Pollard||2016||HS||On track to graduate|
|Drick Bernstine||2017||GRAD||Graduated, 2018|
|Kwinton Hinson||2017||JC||Transferred, June 2018|
|Davante Cooper||2017||JC||On track to graduate|
|Carter Skaggs||2017||JC||On track to graduate|
Kent now has another scholarship to play with to fill out his roster for next season, even as this recruiting class already stands at five. And, remember: Everyone is assuming KJ Langston is not returning, but there has been no official announcement from the school, so we’ve left him on here but it’s likely that WSU now actually has two open scholarships in the event Franks doesn’t return: