Weber State's basketball season has only been over a little more than a week, but the Wildcats are already looking toward the future.
WSU received a verbal commitment last week from junior college transfer Abdulsamad "Duce" Zaid, a 6-foot-2, 210 pound combo guard from Barstow College.
Zaid will be a junior for the Wildcats this fall. His decision to become a Wildcat was first reported by Rivals.com and confirmed by the Standard-Examiner.
This is how juco blog Fullctpress.net describes Zaid: "Very physical combo guard is a stingy defender that can score in traffic."
At the end of this season, Weber State lost two seniors to graduation, forwards Kyle Bullinger and Darin Mahoney. Freshman Shai Fields also left the team in December.
That's in addition to the potential early departure of junior Damian Lillard, the two-time Big Sky MVP who told me Saturday he's leaning toward leaving for the NBA.
Texas prep players Joel Bolomboy, a 6-foot-8, 210 pound forward, and Kyndahl Hill, a 6-foot-7, 200 pound forward, signed national letters of intent last November to join the Wildcats this fall.
After Zaid's commitment, the Weber State coaching staff is believed to be looking to recruit at least one more wing player, possibly two.
'Testing the waters'
The days of NCAA basketball players like Lillard working out for NBA teams before the draft to evaluate their prospects without signing an agent are over.
As Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com notes, "What this essentially means is that there is no more 'testing the waters' anymore."
Players can still get feedback from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, but any player who declares for the draft has until an NCAA-determined deadline of April 10 to remove his name without losing his college eligibility, moved up from May 8 last year.
The catch is that the NBA's own deadline for entering the draft is April 28, meaning a college player can change his mind about returning to school after April 10 and still place his name in the draft.
I've posted several links to articles about the impact of the NCAA's new early-entry withdrawal deadline rule on the WSU Sports blog at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog.
A lot of people took note when Ohio State, Ohio, Cincinatti and Xavier made NCAA Tournament history by becoming the first four teams from a single state to reach the Sweet 16 in the same year.
The CollegeInsider.com Tournament also had four teams with a slightly less historic connection in its own Sweet 16.
Weber State coach Randy Rahe, Idaho coach Don Verlin and Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor are all former assistants of Utah State coach Stew Morrill; all four coaches won first-round games in the fourth annual 32-team CIT. Rahe and Verlin worked under Morrill at Colorado State and USU, while Taylor was an assistant to Morrill at Montana.
Morrill and Taylor survived the second round as his Aggies knocked Verlin's Vandals out and Weber State lost to Loyola Marymount, but Old Dominion, which won the inaugural CollegeInsider.com Tournament in 2009, fell to Mercer in the quarterfinals.
Morrill will have a chance to avenge that loss for his former assistant when Utah State hosts Mercer in Logan on Wednesday for the CIT championship. The Aggies advanced Sunday with a 105-81 win over Oakland (Mich.).
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner. You can reach him at email@example.com, follow @Roy Burton on Twitter and read more posts about the Wildcats at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog.