Cougar hoops notes

Washington State captured a verbal commitment from high-scoring South Alabama transfer Michael Flowers, who’s expected to become the next Cougar point guard.

The news, first reported Saturday by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, is of major significance for third-year coach Kyle Smith’s Wazzu men’s basketball team, which will likely be losing its floor general of the past two seasons.

It’s not completely certain whether Isaac Bonton will forgo his final year of eligibility, but the second-team All-Pac-12 pick and 17.7 points-per-game scorer seemed to indicate his intentions to depart the program in a Twitter post in late February.

Flowers, a graduate transfer, logged 21 points per game last season, good for 15th nationally. The All-Sun Belt selection’s 588 total points (in 28 games) ranked sixth across Division I.

He was the top available scorer in the NCAA transfer portal.

“The coaching staff showed a great interest in me and my goals,” Flowers told ESPN. “I like the way coach Kyle Smith allows his point guards to make plays and helps put players in position to be effective.”

The 6-foot-1, 189-pounder averaged 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game in 2020-21.

Flowers enjoys a deep range and quick release from 3, yet he can also slash to the basket.

He shot 43.8 percent from inside the arc and 38.8 percent from beyond it this season. On average, he went 3.14-for-8.11 from distance and hit 82.5 percent of his free throws.

He topped 30 points four times this season, and was held below double digits just twice. Flowers dropped 29 points on Auburn in December.

His controlled ball-handling and relatively low volume of turnovers (three per game) should immediately provide help to a WSU team that was short on backcourt options and committed a Pac-12-high 15.2 giveaways per game.

“They are getting a player who has a chip on his shoulder and will do whatever it takes to lead a team to the NCAA tournament,” Flowers told ESPN. “I believe I will show I can be more effective and efficient in a different system in a higher conference.”

Flowers spent the previous three seasons at Western Michigan, where the Southfield Arts and Technology (Southfield, Mich.) graduate averaged 17 points per game as a junior in 2019-20. He logged 31 points against Michigan that season.

Franks makes NBA debut

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former Washington State basketball star Robert Franks made his NBA debut Monday night, coming off the bench for four points in the Orlando Magic’s 120-97 loss to San Antonio.

Franks, who led the Pac-12 in scoring as a Cougar senior in 2018-19, played 15 minutes, drained a 3-pointer in his only floor attempt, went 1-for-2 at the foul line and tallied four rebounds and an assist.

He’s been with the Magic all season.

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