The college basketball season is long gone, but the losses continue to mount for the Washington State Cougars. CBS Sports reported that starting wing Que Johnson is set to become the seventh scholarship player to transfer out of the WSU program in Ernie Kent’s two years as coach.
In addition, starting combo guard Royce Woolridge and little-used center James Hunter transferred from WSU prior to Kent’s first season.
Johnson, like part-time starting center Valentine Izundu, is expected to transfer after graduating in May. A degree makes both players eligible to play at another NCAA Division I school next season. Johnson and Izundu will be redshirt seniors.
“We appreciate all that Que has done for the Washington State basketball program over the last three years, including my first two at WSU,” Kent said. “we are glad that he is on track to leave here with his degree from Washington State and we wish him well, both on and off the court.”
None of the players who have left under Kent’s watch were major impact players on a consistent basis. However, Johnson occasionally made up for frequent defensive lapses by averaging 11.3 points per game last season (third on the team).
Izundu’s limited skill set was offset somewhat by his team-leading 2.2 blocked shots per game. He averaged 3.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 14.9 minutes played.
The pending departures of Izundu and reserve guards Renard Suggs (5.4 ppg) and Ny Redding (1.2) were confirmed previously by the Cougars.
WSU’s top returning players are leading scorer and rebounder Josh Hawkinson (15.4 ppg, 11.1 rpg) and leading assist man and second-leading scorer Ike Iroegbu (3.6 apg, 12.7 ppg). Incoming recruits include Washington Class 4A Player of the Year Malachi Flynn, a 3-point gunner who averaged 29.7 ppg for Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma.
The 2015-16 Cougars were 9-22, including 1-17 (last) in the Pac-12 Conference. WSU finished on a 17-game losing streak and set a conference record by losing an eighth consecutive game in the Pac-12 tournament.
Only twice in the past 21 seasons have the Cougars posted a winning record in conference play, finished in the top half of the league standings or played in the NCAA tournament.
All three accomplishments last took place in 2006-07 and 2007-08, when both teams tied the school record of 26 wins set in 1940-41. The latter squad lost to Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament championship game, the only time the Cougars have bettered the Sweet 16 showing of the 2007-08 team.