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WSU to move away from associate head coach Jim Shaw as head coach candidate

Mar. 29—PULLMAN — Washington State's next head basketball coach will not be associate head coach Jim Shaw.

That's the word from multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, who confirmed to The Spokesman-Review that players received a text message Friday saying the program is moving in a different direction, away from the WSU assistant of five seasons. It's one reason why some Cougars have opted to enter the transfer portal.

WSU's decision on a next head coach, following former head coach Kyle Smith's departure for the same job at Stanford, is expected to be delayed into next week, according to one source. The Cougars were hoping to finalize a hire by the weekend, per a source, but that is expected to be pushed back.

Shaw interviewed for the position, a source close to the situation confirmed on Thursday, but he will not be the program's next head coach. The extent of other candidates remains unclear.

Prior to coming to WSU with Smith in time for the 2019-20 season, Shaw worked four seasons as the head coach of his alma mater, Division II Western Oregon, where he posted an overall record of 102-30. He led the Wolves to a No. 1 ranking and the Division II national tournament on three occasions.

Shaw, who also previously spent nine seasons as an assistant at Washington, was named WSU's associate head coach ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Shaw fashioned himself as a defensive guru, helping the Cougs implement a matchup zone defense that helped them register one of the best seasons in program history last year, finishing second in the Pac-12 and snapping a 16-year NCAA Tournament drought. Last weekend, WSU dispatched Drake before falling to Iowa State in the Round of 32.

Since then, seven WSU players have entered their names into the transfer portal, including senior wing Andrej Jakimovski, true freshman center Rueben Chinyelu and senior Jabe Mullins on Friday. Guard Myles Rice did the same on Thursday, along with sophomore wing Kymany Houinsou and walk-on center AJ LeBeau.

In a message he posted to social media Friday, sharing that he will test his NBA stock/enter the portal, Jakimovski wrote, "I want to emphasize that there is always a chance for me to return as a Coug for my last year."

Reserve guard Dylan Darling, who sustained an injury before the season, was the first to announce his news, doing so on Monday.

That leaves four players from last season's WSU team on the roster: junior wing Jaylen Wells; junior center Oscar Cluff; freshman guard Isaiah Watts and senior guard Joseph Yesufu, who sustained an injury early last season and has secured a medical redshirt.

The seven Cougs in the portal retain the option to return to Washington State.

Hunter, Frankoski and Wrobel following Smith to Stanford

Smith is bringing WSU assistants Wayne Hunter, Stephen Frankoski and Derrick Wrobel to his staff at Stanford, a source with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Spokesman-Review.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was the first to report the news.

That leaves Shaw and Jeremy Harden on staff at Washington State.

Hunter joined the WSU staff in June 2022. Prior, he was on staff for one season at Saint Mary's, and he started his coaching career at UC Riverside.

Wrobel joined the Cougs' staff in September 2021 as recruiting coordinator, and head of last season, he was promoted to assistant coach.

Frankoski came to Washington State in October 2020.

Smith issues statement on Shaw not getting job

As news surfaced that Shaw would not become WSU's next head coach, Smith issued a statement to CougCenter.

"Just wanted to let you know that I am heartbroken," Smith wrote. "I think I am (a) fairly good evaluator of talent, especially in coaching talent. I have worked with some great coaches and Jim is as good as any. We would not have had a chance to do what we did without Jim.

"I wish the next coach luck, but I am sad to see our legacy gone. Thus is life. God has a plan."