Hilltoppers look to rebuild with offseason recruiting

WKU’s guard Aaron Cosby (2) collides with UAB’s forward Chris Cokley (3) during the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament on Thursday at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala. Mike Clark/HERALD

Matthew Stewart

Now that the college basketball season is officially over and the Wildcats of Villanova have taken home the NCAA Championship trophy, coaches across the country are back on the recruiting trail.

The WKU coaching staff will now be placing more emphasis on recruiting and rebuilding than ever before.

New Head Coach Rick Stansbury knows he has quite a void to fill.


The WKU men’s basketball team will be losing three players to graduation and another three players who are no longer with the program after their suspensions and departure from WKU.

The nonreturning players played a major role in the success of the team, contributing 58.2 points per game. That’s 76 percent of the team’ s total offense out the door.

Stansbury knows the current team is full of post players but is devoid of any scholarship guards. The only guards on the roster are sophomore walk-ons Dylan Sanford and Keifer Dalton.

With an empty backcourt and a major loss in offensive production, the coaching staff knows they need a few talented players and scorers to get back to winning ways.

WKU has had their eye on a big shooting guard that could fill the void left in the backcourt.

Ryan Skovranko is a 6-foot-7-inch shooting guard from the Community College of Beaver County just outside Pittsburgh.

Skovranko is an impressive player in the eyes of more than just WKU. At one point, fellow Pennsylvania native John Calipari of the University of Kentucky had his eye on the two-guard.

Skovranko averaged 17.7 points per game while shooting 48 percent from the field at the Commuity College of Beaver County. He also managed to pull in 5.9 rebounds per game.

Chris Cheeks, who previously was an assistant at Delaware, is now on Stansbury’s staff and has already visited Skovranko.

According to Skovranko’s Twitter account, other schools, including the University of Memphis, the University of Nebraska and Arizona State University, have contacted the star as well.

If the Toppers could land a guard of this size, there is potential for Skovranko to be an immediate contributor on both ends of the floor.

WKU currently has only one committed player. Three-star point guard TJ Howard will be looking to take over as floor general for the Hilltoppers.

The 6-foot-1-inch guard from DME Academy in Florida maintained his commitment to the Hilltoppers despite the resignation of former Head Coach Ray Harper and the hiring of Stansbury.

For the Class of 2017, which is a little farther down the road for the Toppers, the program is considering one local prospect.

Tavin Lovan is a 6-foot-4-inch shooting guard from Franklin Simpson High School in Franklin. Lovan plays for the Kentucky Travelers, which is the same AAU team current sophomore forward Justin Johnson played for.

The task at hand is tough for any coach. Stansbury has a history of landing top-tier recruits, and he should be successful in his attempts to replace an entire backcourt.

Be sure to check the Herald for updates on the recruiting status of these players and on when Stansbury lands the next Hilltopper for the future.