Oct. 29, 2002
When center J Locklier graduated from WSU, the Cougars were forced to find a viable replacement for the 6-foot-9 center. With junior transfer Justin Kordsmeier, Washington State has just what the doctor ordered.
"He plays very hard," said WSU Coach Paul Graham. "We are looking for him to step in and take the place of Locklier, who averaged over 13 points and six rebounds for us last season."
Locklier made the Boston Celtics preseason roster and was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year in 2001. Kordsmeier, a 7-foot center from Springdale, Ark., looks to pick up where Locklier left off and make a difference for the Cougars in the key.
"I just want to win games," Kordsmeier said. "I have to finish plays and put the ball in the hole. I also have to rebound and defend because that is the only way you are going to play for Coach Graham."
Kordsmeier has the size to play at the next level and wants to work on his game against the best centers in the Pac-10.
"I would like to play professionally," said the 277-pound junior. "Right now I have to concentrate on what I need to do to reach that goal. The biggest difference between JUCO and the Pac-10 is the speed of practice. Here it is more intense.
"I am here to get an education. That would make my parents and me very happy. To have a college degree says a lot."
While at North Arkansas Community Tech College, Kordsmeier posted solid stats. He averaged 20 points and nine rebounds during his sophomore season. For his efforts, Kordsmeier was selected to the All-Conference team. He expects to add to his r?sum? at Washington State.
"I'm in a lot better shape than I've been in," Kordsmeier said. "I could definitely lose some more weight. To play in the Pac-10, you have to be physically and mentally in shape."
The Cougar coaching staff likes what it has seen in its new center.
"Justin is really progressing well," Graham said. "He is one of three new big guys we brought in this season. He is very skilled and very good offensively."
Kordsmeier is impressed with the basketball program at Washington State.
"Being at Washington State is overwhelming," he said. "We had one coach in JUCO. He was the Athletic Director. He taped us before games. Here, you have four coaches to answer to and a trainer that is always available. You get a lot more attention.
"Pullman is a nice quiet town," Kordsmeier added. "The people are nice. I like it here."
Not only does Kordsmeier like the community, but he is looking forward to playing with junior guard Marcus Moore, who is an All-America candidate.
"Marcus is a good guy and a smart basketball player," Kordsmeier said. "He always makes an excellent pass and you have to be ready for that. He makes the game very easy."
Coach Graham is happy to team up his star point guard, Moore, with a dominating presence in the key like Kordsmeier. Now Cougar basketball fans are looking for the new 7-foot center to play above the rim and help raise the bar for future Cougar big men.