April 9, 2008
PULLMAN, Wash. - Freshman guard Stephen Sauls has been granted his release from the Washington State University men's basketball program and plans to transfer to a school closer to his hometown of Missouri City, Texas, after a concussion ended his season early in January, WSU Head Coach Tony Bennett announced Tuesday.
Sauls' first season with the Cougars was cut short after he sustained a significant concussion at practice Jan. 7. Shortly after, Sauls withdrew from classes and moved back to his hometown to get treatment to help control his symptoms. WSU will be applying to the NCAA for a medical hardship for Sauls which, if granted, would give him four years of eligibility remaining. Sauls' health is steadily improving and he is continuing on his path for a return to the hardwood.
"In the short time Stephen was here, he was a joy to coach," Bennett said. "Unfortunately his year was cut short with the concussion, but he certainly helped the team while he was here. He's one of the classier individuals I've coached. Everyone here is encouraged that he's progressing well and we all wish him the best."
A graduate of Marshall High School, Sauls played a year at Air Force Prep Academy before heading to Pullman for his freshman season last fall. He appeared in eight games for the Cougars, averaging 2.1 points in 6.3 minutes of action per game. The highlight of his WSU career came Nov. 24 against Mississippi Valley State in which he scored 12 points, grabbed four rebounds and had one assist and one steal in 22 minutes in the Cougars' tournament held at Spokane Arena.