As Ernie Kent enters his third season as head coach of the Washington State Cougars, the search for the light at the end of the tunnel grows more and more paramount.
The Cougars, who haven't finished over .500 since 2011-12, have gone a combined 22-40 in Kent's two seasons at the helm. Of those 22 wins, just eight have been in conference play.
Additionally, recruiting has been a struggle in Pullman for most of this century. Since 2008's fourth-ranked class in the conference, Wazzu's class has been in the lower half of the conference.
The struggles both on and off the court add to the Cougars' need to have a successful year.
In a loaded recruiting year for the Pac-12, Washington State's class, again, is in the lower half of the conference. However, they still have a couple players who may be able to make an impact from the jump.
It's worth noting that Wazzu currently has 11 of their 13 scholarships accounted for, so they could still add a couple players.
The first of two point guards in the class for the Cougars, Acquaah comes to Pullman from Los Angeles' Cathedral High School. He's a three-star guard, yet he didn't seem to be in too high of demand. He committed to Washington State in early 2015, and as our friends at Coug Center noted, Acquaah is a prototypical Ernie Kent recruit.
Guard play is going to be something Washington State needs a lot of this year. Looking at their roster, minus Acquaah and Malachi Flynn (who we'll talk about in just a minute), the Cougs come into the year with just three "guards" on the squad. Of those three (Ike Iroegbu, Charles Callison, and Viont'e Daniels), only Iroegbu and Callison saw significant time last season.
With all that in mind, there is a chance that Acquaah is able to contribute for the Cougars from Opening Night onward.
Below is a video of Acquaah dropping 41 points against LA's Corona Centennial in December 2015.
Flynn, a guard from Tacoma, Washington, is the second guard in this class for the Cougars. He committed to the school while on an official visit in March. Previously, he had been committed to Pacific, but re-opened his recruitment following Pacific's NCAA investigation.
Flynn is another Ernie Kent type of player. He has a diverse skillset and was named the Washington 4A Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season. Flynn's most recent highlight video can be found below.
Ergas, a 6'4" forward from Scarborough, Canada, may end up being the biggest piece in the Cougars' recruiting class. As mentioned above, Washington State is lacking in guards, but they're also lacking in small forwards. While Ergas might be a tad undersized to play the 3, if Wazzu decides to go small sometimes, he'd be a perfect fit.
Ergas is a volume scorer, and can do some pretty sweet dunks, as you'll see in the video below.
Washington State's class is, for now, rounded out by Jeff Pollard. Pollard, a 6'8" forward from Bountiful, Utah, will be one of five Cougars taller than 6'7". That can be an asset in an of itself, because, as they say, you can't teach size.
Pollard has been on WSU's radar for a long time, as he originally signed with them in 2014 as part of their Class of 2015. He spent a year at a basketball academy and is now ready to head to Pullman, where he will still be a freshman.
There aren't a ton of highlight videos out there for Pollard, but below is a video of a big dunk he had a couple years ago.