Top five Cougs of the 2022–23 season

From All-Pac-12 selections to professional draftees, WSU showed out this past season

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

The end of the athletic season is here and after reviewing each of WSU’s program’s seasons, there were five players that stood out among their peers for their performances. From being named to their respective All-Pac-12 teams to even being selected to play professionally, these Cougs perfectly embodied Wazzu’s spirit. 

In no particular order, here are the top five Cougs over the past season: 

Daiyan Henley 

WSU recognizes senior linebacker Daiyan Henley before the Apple Cup, Nov. 26, 2022.

One of the greatest personalities to come through Pullman of the 21st century is the Nevada transfer who chose the Palouse to be his stomping ground en route to his path to the NFL draft. 

In 12 games in the crimson and gray, Henley tallied 106 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four sacks, forced three fumbles and even intercepted a pass. 

His stats came with a list of accolades, being named to the All-Pac-12 First Team as a linebacker and All-Pac-12 Second Team as an all-purpose/special teams player, All-America Second Team by College Football News, the first Coug to be a finalist for the Butkus Award as well as playing in the Senior Bowl at the end of the season. 

His efforts put him firmly as one of the top linebackers for the 2023 NFL Draft. At the 2023 NFL Draft Combine, he managed a prospect grade of 6.20 and scored 77 as a prospect, the fourth-highest mark among linebackers. 

With his statistical output and Combine performance, Henley got the call from his hometown Los Angeles Chargers in the third round and was the 85th overall pick. He was going to the NFL. 

Charlisse Leger-Walker 

WSU guard Charlisse Leger-Walker waves goodbye to the fans after an NCAA basketball game against Cal, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

The New Zealand native is already one of the greatest in WSU women’s basketball history. Leger-Walker scored 17.7 points a game, with 4.1 assists and 5.5 rebounds a game in 2023. An All-Pac-12 selection this season, she scored a season-high 40 points against UW in a December 2022 loss. 

In 2023, she had 11 games with 20 or more points, which led the Pac-12. She also led the Cougs to their first Conference Championship of any kind for women’s sports. Her legacy has been cemented in WSU history, but her story has not ended yet. 

At the 47th annual Murrow Symposium, the point guard announced that she would return for her senior year, a year that she and the team hope ends in another Pac-12 Championship and a deeper NCAA Tournament run. 

Sam Brown 

WSU baseball player Sam Brown prepares to swing during an NCAA baseball game against Santa Clara, April 22, in Pullman, Wash.

Yet another transfer that took over WSU by storm. Coming to Pullman from University of Portland, Brown took over first-base duties and put together a fantastic season for the Cougs. Brown was one of five Cougs to be named to an All-Pac-12 team and one of two to be named to its First Team. 

Brown slashed .374/.481/.674 with 11 HR and 58 RBIs. He added 19 doubles and two triples while walking 27 times and getting hit by 19 pitches to striking out 33 times. One of the best hitters in the Pac-12, Brown has a year of eligibility left and 2024 may be the best season yet for the lefty. 

Magda Jehlárová

WSU middle blocker Magda Jehlarova spikes the ball during an NCAA volleyball game against Oregon, Oct. 7.

Jehlárová is one of the most decorated players to come through WSU. 2022–23 saw her be named the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and an All-Pac-12 First Team member. Looking at her accolades, she is matched by few Cougs.

She is a two-time AVCA All-American, Four-time All-Pac 12 Honoree, Three-time AVCA Pacific North All-Region First Team, 2019 AVCA National Freshman of the Year, 2019 AVCA Pacific North Freshman of the Year, 2019 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year,  2019 Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, 2019 Freshman All-American, Two-time CSC Academic All-District, Two-time Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll and now Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year. 

This past season, she tallied 290 kills with 2.44 kills per set. She managed a .389 attack percentage and added 11 assists and 26 service aces. Defensively, she tallied 70 digs and 176.0 blocks. 

Jehlárová has been a core member of the team for the past four seasons and alongside the rest of her core, she announced that she will return for her fifth year of eligibility.

Mouhamed Gueye 

WSU forward Mouhamed Gueye goes to shoot the ball during a NCAA basketball game against UW, Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

Another draft prospect to come through WSU, Gueye improved in every aspect in 2023 from 2022. In 33 games, he scored 14.3 points per game while adding 8.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists. With his efforts, Gueye was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team. 

In transition, he should fit the modern NBA game well. Gueye has good acceleration and runs the floor well for a forward. We wouldn’t call him a point forward, but he has good handles at 6-foot-11 and has no problem bringing the ball up the court upon pulling down a board. That’s a skill that every big needs to thrive at the next level,” Sports Illustrated wrote on Gueye. 

Gueye is projected to be a fringe first-round pick if a team wants to reach on the big, but likely will be drafted in the middle of the second round.