Another offseason, and yet another recruiting milestone for Washington State under coach Kyle Smith.
A season removed from pulling in perhaps the best recruiting class in Cougar men’s basketball history, the third-year WSU boss is at it again.
The latest commitment, Mouhamed Gueye, will come to Pullman as Wazzu’s highest-rated recruit in the history of the 247sports.com rankings.
Gueye, a four-star prospect and a top-10 prep forward in the country, announced Friday that he’ll link up this year with the Cougars, who’ve been steadily trending upward since Smith showed up.
The 6-foot-11, 215-pounder from Senegal passes Klay Thompson as WSU’s top-rated recruit. Gueye, who has played for Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., since moving to the U.S. two years ago, is 247sports’ No. 34 player in the country.
Gueye chose WSU over offers from blue-blood programs Kansas and UCLA. Rutgers, a 2021 NCAA tournament qualifier, also was in the mix.
But Gueye likes what he’s seen from a quickly developing Cougar team, which is starting to look like a March Madness contender. He said Smith and assistant John Andrzejek were recruiting him shortly after he left Africa.
“We had a good relationship with me and coach Smith and coach John,” Gueye told ESPN’s Adam Finkelstein. “I was watching them last year through the Pac-12. They had a really good season. I was watching the players, I was watching Efe (Abogidi), I was watching (TJ) Bamba. ... I kinda see myself in the program. I like how they run, I like their style of play. I like everything about them.
“Coach John and coach Kyle, I feel like they know me, what I can do and what I can be.”
According to multiple reports, Gueye is listed as a 2022 prospect, but will reclassify to the ’21 class.
He’ll bolster an already formidable WSU frontcourt that includes lengthy sophomore stars Efe Abogidi and Dishon Jackson, both of whom started most of last season as highly touted true freshmen.
Gueye’s style of play resembles that of Abogidi, one of the Pac-12’s brightest breakouts in 2020-21.
He should carve out a role immediately. Gueye has a touch from midrange and 3-point land, and some slick ball-handling abilities to go with his explosive athleticism, stout paint defense and above-the-rim offense. 247sports reported that he boasts a 7-4 wingspan.
“I think I’m a big who can do it all. I can guard the ball one through five, I can run the floor, I can shoot, I can handle the ball,” Gueye told Finkelstein. “I don’t like to say it, but I think I’m a unicorn. I can do it all.”
He fits into Smith’s blueprint of adding more size to WSU’s roster and improving on the glass against sizable Pac-12 foes.
Gueye played the “3” and “4” forward positions at Prolific, an academy known for producing high school All-Americans and high-level college talents.
“Mouhamed has an extremely high ceiling,” said Phillipe Doherty, the Prolific Prep co-director, in an interview with 247sports. “The competition Mouhamed faced daily at practice at Prolific Prep and the national game schedule Prolific Prep plays allowed for Mouhamed to accelerate his development curve.
“NBA basketball and the modern game is trending towards mobility, length, skill, IQ and offensive efficiency, and Mouhamed fits the new modern game and the requirements to be productive in this new era of basketball.”
Since taking the reins in Pullman, Smith and Co. have reeled in seven top-20 recruits in school history — Andrej Jakimovski (No. 6), Carlos Rosario (No. 7), Jackson (No. 12), Myles Rice (No. 15), Bamba (No. 16) and Abogidi (No. 17).
WSU, coming off its first winning season in nine years, recently landed Eastern Washington transfer Kim Aiken Jr., the Big Sky’s reigning defensive player of the year. Super-scoring South Alabama transfer guard Michael Flowers, former Division II All-American guard Tyrell Roberts and Rice, also a guard, are the other new additions.
Clark may be contacted at email@example.com, on Twitter @ClarkTrib or by phone at (208) 627-3209.