WSU men’s hoops lands second transfer, national champion Joseph Yesufu

Cougars add a scoring guard with tournament pedigree


Courtesy of WSU Athletics

WSU has landed another serious scorer from the portal, this time with national championship experience: Joseph Yesufu.

HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor

WSU men’s basketball has landed another serious scorer from the portal, this time coming from a blue-blood program and carrying national championship experience. Joseph Yesufu is a 6-foot combo guard who last played for Kansas off the bench.

In his fifth year, Yesufu is a graduate transfer who has had a long path to Pullman. His first few seasons were spent at Drake. He was injured in his freshman year, but led the team to a tournament berth his sophomore year, initially as a sixth man and then transitioning into a starting guard. He proved that year that he could be the main scorer on a team and after a win in the First Four and a loss in the Round of 64, the Jayhawks came calling.

Unfortunately, his time at Kansas was less prolific personally. In his sophomore year, he played only 9.2 minutes per game and scored only 2.1 points per game, but his defensive ability and shooting kept him in the rotation as the Jayhawks made their run for the national title. After winning it all, Yesufu saw a slight minute increase and about doubled his scoring, but Kansas was eliminated in the Round of 32.

A blue-blood like Kansas does not have room for even very good players to play more than a rotational bench piece. Even having made the roster is a huge deal, as Kansas is consistently one of the best rosters anywhere in college basketball. Here on the Palouse, the Cougs have space to let these types of guys shine.

One of the biggest needs for the Cougs last season was a serious scoring guard. While Wazzu had players they could look to for a bucket, more is always better. Yesufu has proven that he can be that, while also being a great on-ball defender to counter the quick guards that WSU has struggled to lock up as of late.

While he was not great from three at Kansas, he shot 38% in his breakout season at Drake on a respectable four attempts per game. If he can return to that form, he can probably land the starting spot next season.

“Joseph can get in the paint to distribute and score,” said head coach Kyle Smith in a press release. “He brings leadership and experience from one of the best programs in the country.”

The Cougs have not had a national champion on the roster in the modern era. That kind of experience is hard to quantify and will definitely be something Smith looks to utilize in the locker room.

While the national championship is not where the Cougs are setting their sights just yet, adding a guy who has been there before and has the skills to contribute to the Cougs’ return to the tournament is a huge deal.

The portal losses hurt, but when you get guys like this back, how bad can it really be?