Over the past month, the NCAA’s transfer portal has battered Washington State’s basketball roster, delivering a serious blow to the sense of optimism that had surrounded the Cougars’ program after its breakthrough 2021-22 season.

The portal struck again Monday, when Verbal Commits reported that sophomore big man Mouhamed Gueye had hopped into the NCAA’s version of a free-agency market.

Gueye is the sixth Coug to enter the transfer portal since the season ended in late March, following post Efe Abogidi, and guards Tyrell Roberts, Noah Williams, Ryan Rapp and Jefferson Koulibaly.

Sunday marked the deadline for college players to enter the portal and preserve their eligibility for the 2022-23 season. So, the Cougars probably won’t be losing anyone else.

Gueye declared for the NBA Draft last week. Many presumed he was only seeking feedback from pro personnel and would come back for a second season at WSU. But now that he’s in the portal, the odds of a return to Pullman are unfavorable.

The 6-foot-11 native of Senegal, a four-star recruit (247Sports.com), signed with WSU last year over offers from Kansas and UCLA – among others – and quickly became a key piece in a Cougar team that went on to record its best season in a decade, amassing 22 wins and advancing to the semifinal round of the NIT.

One of the top-rated recruits in WSU history, Gueye started 33 of 35 games played, averaging 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest and emerging as a pro prospect and an “elite defender” around the rim, said third-year coach Kyle Smith. Gueye’s raw athleticism and fast-improving jump shot impressed onlookers, and he landed on the Pac-12’s all-freshman team.

Rather than building upon momentum generated last season, Smith and his staff will spend this offseason rebuilding a lineup that’ll likely lose its five regular starters in Gueye, Abogidi, Roberts, Williams and graduated point guard Michael Flowers. Abogidi declared for the draft April 12, then put his name in the portal three days afterward. Roberts entered the transfer portal earlier this week and Williams committed to rival Washington last month.

As of now, WSU’s roster includes four players with game experience – guard TJ Bamba, center Dishon Jackson, and forwards Andrej Jakimovski and DJ Rodman – all of whom have made starts for the Cougars and shined at times.

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