Kent recruits Dunbar, others to WSU basketball squad


Then-senior DeVonte Lacy and then-sophomores Ike Iroegbu and Josh Hawkinson huddle with other team members during a game against Stanford, Feb. 15, 2014.

MICHAEL-SHAWN DUGAR | Evergreen reporter

Ernie Kent wasted no time reloading the men’s basketball roster with guys who fit his guard-oriented system. Since being introduced as head coach on March 31, Kent has handed out four of the five available scholarships for the 2014-15 basketball season.

The newest addition to the roster is Trevor Dunbar, a 5-foot-10 point guard out of St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco.

Dunbar signed a Financial Aid Agreement last Tuesday to join the Cougar squad in the fall. He averaged 22 points per game in his senior season at St. Ignatius in addition to earning West Catholic League MVP.

“Trevor is an outstanding young man that has spent an enormous amount of time refining his game, which will show in his ability to handle the basketball and see and make difficult plays,” Kent said in a press release. “He has a certain style and flare to his game that will quickly unite and excite our student body when it has the opportunity to see him play. I look forward to coaching Trevor.”

Dunbar is one of two California natives in Kent’s first recruiting class at WSU, along with Jackie Davis, a 6-foot-3 guard from Rolling Hills Preparatory School in San Pedro. Davis averaged 23.6 points per contest in his lone season at Rolling Hills. In that same season he was named co-MVP of the Coastal League. He signed his National Letter of Intent (NLI) May 12.

“Jackie Davis is a very versatile basketball player that can play multiple positions,” Kent said. “He fits perfectly in our system because of his skill set, his ability to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball, and play the game in the open court. He is a very gifted athlete and I’m sure Cougar fans will come to enjoy his athleticism and his ability to play the game.”

Davis chose WSU after holding offers from Penn State, Loyola Marymount, UC Irvine, Tulsa and San Francisco. Ultimately it was the glamour of the Pac-12 Conference that prompted him to come to the Palouse.

“I mean, hey, it’s hard to pass that up,” Davis said.

At his height, Davis has combo guard capabilities, but he said he would prefer to play point guard. Some of the skills he plans to bring to WSU are his ability to get to the rim and his knack for making the right basketball play.

“I’m looking to play, get on the court, and win,” Davis said, “Hopefully improve our record from last year and keep getting better and better.”

Rounding out the trio of new Cougar guards is Nyaires “Ny” Redding out of Westwind Preparatory Academy in Arizona, the same school as current Cougar guard Que Johnson. Redding scored 29.9 points and dished out 8.7 assists per game in his final season at Westwind before signing his NLI on May 13.

“Our system requires us to have very heady guard play and we are continuing to put together a group that we think is going to be outstanding for the future of Washington State basketball,” Kent said. “In Ny we have a player that is not only smart, but also is very skilled on both ends of the floor.”

Rounding out Kent’s initial signing class is the lone big man of the group: Aaron Cheatum from East Los Angeles College. Cheatum, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward, was the first to sign his NLI under Kent’s leadership, making it official April 25.

“We are very fortunate to get Aaron so late in the year,” Kent said. “Aaron is a very good basketball player with an excellent skill set and will fit into how we want to play and our system very well. He has the ability to not only shoot the 3, but also post up and score inside. We are getting not only a very versatile basketball player in Aaron, but also an excellent young man.”

Cheatum is the only junior college player in the class, joining the Cougars after 15.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in his final season at East Los Angeles College.

After the signing of these four players, Kent and his staff have one scholarship remaining for the 2014-15 season.