Washington State's quest to find perimeter scorers to complement all-league forward Brock Motum became a little more challenging Monday.
The Cougars announced that their top freshman, Demarquise "Que" Johnson, has been ruled a partial qualifier and cannot play next season. Johnson, Rivals.com's No. 85 recruit in the class of 2012, will continue to take classes at Washington State in hopes of playing for the Cougars at the start of the 2013-14 season.
Anticipation for Johnson's debut has been high at Washington State since he chose the Cougars over Washington, UNLV and Gonzaga last year. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard played last season at Westwind Prep in Arizona, showcasing an ability to shoot from the perimeter or get to the rim.
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The absence of Johnson next season increases the pressure on the rest of the Washington State backcourt. Senior point guard Reggie Moore is the most accomplished and experienced member of the backcourt, but the wings are all question marks
Combo guard DaVonte Lacy showed promise as a freshman but must improve his ball handling and erratic outside shooting. Oft-injured Mike Ladd scored and rebounded well during the Cougars' Australia trip earlier this month, but he must stay healthy. And Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge must tap into some of the potential that piqued the Jayhawks' interest a couple years ago.
The good news for Washington State is that Motum showed signs he's capable of building on his breakout season a year ago when he scored at least 21 points in all five games in Australia this month. The bad news is it won't matter if the Cougars don't get him enough help, and Johnson could have been a big part of that.
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