Washington State fans and recruiting enthusiasts were waiting on pins and needles for a basketball recruit Wednesday afternoon. They got the good news they hoped for, just not from the player they were expecting.
On Wednesday, Nathan Rawlings-Kibonge, a three-star basketball recruit and four-star football recruit who committed to Kyle Smith’s hoops program last summer, made a long-awaited decision on where he’ll be going to college next fall, ultimately breaking the hearts of WSU fans when he chose Oklahoma during a ceremony in Portland.
Fortunately, that wasn’t the last piece of recruiting news they got Wednesday.
Nearly an hour later, a much more encouraging decision came out of a commitment ceremony down in southern California, where small forward Carlos Rosario chose the Cougars over Utah, Boise State, Mississippi State and a host of other schools.
Rawlins-Kibonge could’ve given WSU an elite two-sport star capable of helping both the football and basketball programs, but Rosario was a much more coveted prospect on the basketball court, and should provide immediate help for Kyle Smith’s program as a member of the 2020 class.
The 6-foot-7, 180-pound Dominican Republic native is considered a four-star recruit by 247Sports.com and the 14th-ranked overall prospect in California, meaning Smith and his staff have now reeled in two of the state’s top 20 recruits, having signed Vallejo center Dishon Jackson earlier this spring.
According to 247Sports.com, Rosario is now the fifth-rated recruit in program history, behind only Klay Thompson, Michael Harthun, Xavier Thames and Derrick Low. Jackson, a four-star prospect, is No. 10 on that list, making WSU’s 2020 class undoubtedly one of the most impressive in school history.
Rosario moved to the United States from the Dominican Republic before his junior basketball season and has since been playing at the Veritas Basketball academy in Garden Grove, California.
Regarding his commitment to WSU, Rosario told 247Sports he “built up a good relationship with the coaches” and “they were recruiting me for over a year and I felt very comfortable with them.”
He added: “They like big guards, and I feel like there is an opportunity to play early and make an impact.”
WSU signed a four-man class of Jackson, Jefferson Koulibaly, T.J. Bamba and Efe Abogidi, but the Cougars had slots open up when Daron Henson and Marvin Cannon transferred from the program. Smith and his staff are still waiting on a decision from All-Pac-12 forward C.J. Elleby, who’s testing NBA draft waters and still hasn’t indicated whether he’ll return for his junior season or pursue professional basketball.
“I just want to go in and make a contribution and help the team win,” Rosario told 247Sports. “I feel Washington State is a place that I can continue to develop and improve and be part of something special they are building.”