2022 Record: 17-17 (11-9)

Head Coach: Kyle Smith (Career Record 233-183) (Washington State Record 69-61)

Projected Rotation:

PG: Joe Yesufu (Kansas 4.1 Pts, 1.2 Reb, 0.4 Ast)

SG: Jabe Mullins (8.4 Pts, 2.1 Reb, 1.6 Ast)

SF: Andrej Jakimovski (7.7 Pts, 4.6 Reb, 1.1 Ast)

PF: Isaac Jones (Idaho 19.4 Pts, 7.8 Reb, 1.7 Ast)

C: Rueben Chinyelu

6: SF Jaylen Wells (Sonoma State 22.4 Pts, 8.7 Reb, 2.6 Ast)

7: PG Myles Rice (RS)

8: PF Oscar Cluff (Cochise College 12.0 Pts, 10.8 Reb, 1.5 Ast)

9: SG Kymany Houinsou (3.9 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 1.4 Ast)

10: SG Spencer Mahoney

11: PG Dylan Darling (1.7 Pts, 1.7 Reb, 0.6 Ast)

12: SG Isaiah Watts

13: PG Parker Gerrits

Washington State suffered crucial losses from players entering the portal as well as players opting to go pro. Notable returners for the Cougars are Andrej Jakimovski and Jabe Mullins. Jakimovski shoots the majority of his shots from beyond the arc connecting at a career 35% clip. The 6-8 4th year forward also adds the ability of attacking the glass. Mullins is a former St. Mary’s Gael. He is mainly known for this three point shooting as well. 2/3 of his total shots come from beyond the arc and he’s a career 39% three point shooter (was 43 % last year.) Additional returners include reserve guards Kymany Houinsou and Dylan Darling. Houinsou was a consistent member of the rotation last season mainly making an impact on the defensive side of the ball. Also returning to the Cougs is guard Myles Rice. He redshirted his freshman season and received a medical redshirt his sophomore season as he recovered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He is an immensely talented player that has been working his way back to full strength and is now cancer free. It could take some time to get adjusted to the high level of play, but he can surprise many people this year.

Washington State did a solid job replacing their lost talent in the portal. One of the most notable players the Cougars got was Idaho transfer Isaac Jones. He makes the 15 minute trip from Moscow, ID to Pullman and will be one of the starting bigs for the Cougars next season. Jones had an excellent season in his lone year as a Vandal. He shot 63% from the floor averaging nearly 20PPG while being a menace on the defensive end and attacking the glass. He faces a huge jump in competition but seems like someone who is up for the challenge. Washington State also added JUCO big man Oscar Cluff who averaged a double double at 12PPG and 11RPG on a JUCO team that won 29 games. He will be an active part of the rotation and could turn some heads this season.

Additional transfers that the Cougars added this offseason were Kansas transfer Joe Yesufu and Sonoma State transfer Jaylen Wells. Yesufu will be going into his 5th season after spending 2 years at Drake and 2 years at Kansas. He is a quick and athletic guard that plays really hard on both sides of the ball and impacts the game in a variety of ways on both sides of the ball. Yesufu will become the primary ball handler next season after spending a couple years at Kansas in an off the ball role. Jaylen Wells was a high volume scorer at the D2 level who really had eye popping stats last season. He shot 52% from the field overall, 44% from three, and 86% from the free throw line. He put up 22PPG and 9RPG this past season as a freshman. He could easily find his way into the Washington State starting lineup at some point this season.

Washington State also added 4 freshman to the roster. The player that is likely to see the most amount of minutes is 4 star big man Rueben Chinyelu out of NBA Academy Africa. He chose Washington State over Tennessee and Florida. Also expected to compete for minutes is 3 star PF Spencer Mahoney out of Newark, NJ. The Cougars were late to jump into the recruitment for Mahoney but in the end they beat out teams such as Syracuse and Texas A&M. Guards Isaiah Watts and Parker Gerrits are 3 stars that look to be developmental pieces in the future for Kyle Smith and the Cougars.

Washington State is a very tough job and Kyle Smith has done fairly well in his 4 seasons in Pullman. He still hasn’t made the tournament but he finished .500 or better in all seasons he’s been there. It’s going to be tough to compete with teams at the top of the league once again for the Cougars. They are a team that can do a bit better than their preseason expectations though. The ceiling for them would be to finish 6th in the league and the floor would be finishing 11th in the league. Washington State made the NIT the last 2 seasons and a realistic goal would be to get back there for a 3rd year in a row.