Potential playing time brings interest from recruits

WKU lost to Marshall University with a score of 96-93 on Feb. 13. The Hilltoppers finished this game with a record of 12-13 and 4-8 in conference this season. Lex Selig/HERALD

Matthew Stewart

Something all incoming college basketball recruits would like to have is an opportunity for immediate playing time.

This is the case for potential recruits of the WKU men’s basketball program this spring. There is playing time available — lots of it.

The current Hilltopper roster is void of any scholarship guards, which opens the door for backcourt players to come to WKU and have an immediate impact.

New Head Coach Rick Stansbury is able to offer any guards the opportunity to come to WKU and play right away.

This has caused a few interesting players, like Class of 2016 point guard Charlie Moore, to put WKU on their list of top schools.

Moore is rated at No. 61 as the best player in his class, according to the ESPN top 100 basketball recruitment rankings.

The 5-foot-11, four-star point guard from Morgan Park High School in Chicago narrowed his list to Southern Methodist University, Louisiana State University, the University of Miami, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the University of Illinois, the University of California, Georgia Tech and WKU according to his Twitter account.

The slashing guard could really help the Hilltoppers keep up the pace and run with the best teams in Conference USA.

“He can really shoot the basketball,” Scout.com’s Director of Recruiting Evan Daniels said. “He’s tough and hard-nosed.  He likes to push the tempo, and he’s a good passer. He’s a really talented floor general.”

If the Hilltoppers could land Moore, he could help distribute the ball to a talented core of big men like junior forward Justin Johnson and sophomore forward Willie Carmichael.

The Hilltoppers had a good experience last year with graduate transfer Aaron Cosby. Cosby transferred to WKU from Illinois and started all 34 games for the Hilltoppers. He stepped up to the plate on the offensive side and averaged 13.7 points per game — the second leading scorer on the team.

Stansbury is looking to continue this trend with Que Johnson. Johnson is a transfer from Washington State University who is eligible immediately. According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, Johnson said he would visit WKU this week.

Johnson was an impressive player for the Cougars last season. He was the third leading scorer on the squad with 11.3 points per game. Johnson also led the team in 3-point shooting percentage, shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.

The Hilltoppers have one guard who has committed in TJ Howard, a 6-foot-1 combo guard from DME Academy. With a combination of Moore, Johnson and Howard, the Hilltopper coaching staff would be able to put together a commendable rebuilding job for the backcourt.

The coaching staff might also look to tap the junior college talent pool; they’ve done this in the past with some success.

Last year Fredrick Edmond, a junior college transfer, played a major role in the success of the Hilltopper team.

Edmond averaged 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and helped the Toppers reach the semifinals of the C-USA tournament championships.

Junior forward Anton Waters also came from the junior college ranks and was a solid addition to an already talented front court.

At the end of the day, the WKU program is in a good position with recruits who want to hear that they can come in and work hard and see the court from the get-go.

If Stansbury can manage to bring some of these guards to Diddle Arena next season and pair them with Carmichael, Johnson, senior forward Ben Lawson and sophomore forward Jabari McGhee, the Hilltoppers will have a full roster at their disposal.