Roberto Gittens is headed to Washington State University.
Just like the past three All-Area players of the year.
The senior from Foss High School signed his letter of intent on Monday to play for the Cougars, coming almost a month after he decommitted from Boise State.
“I’ve worked my whole life to get a basketball scholarship,” Gittens said. “And to go to a program with a good city behind it and a good fan base — it just feels good.”
And Foss coach Mike Cocke’ believes Gittens’ athletic, aggressive, authoritative play fits in with the program WSU is trying to build under coach Ernie Kent.
“He’s always seen himself as a kid who can play in the Pac-12,” Cocke’ said. “Ernie Kent did a great job the past couple of weeks to come in and let Berto know how big of a recruit he is to them.
“(Kent) is trying to build something there and he said he thinks the No. 1 ingredient is to do that with local guys. I agree with him.”
“Roberto is a well-skilled athlete and a great teammate, who will fit well in our program,” Kent said in a press release. “We’re excited for his career here at WSU and to see what he can accomplish along with his teammates.”
The signing means Gittens will not reclassify to 2018, like he had planned after rescinding his verbal commitment with Boise State in early April. Gittens had never signed a letter of intent to play for the Broncos.
“WSU offered me right away (after his decommittment from Boise State) and I set up a visit and it’s beautiful up there,” Gittens said. “The coaches are nice and I’m comfortable with them and they’ll put me in a position to be successful. I just can’t wait to get out there.”
“I think all along he’s had interest in playing at WSU,” Cocke’ said. “It’s been a conversation we’ve had for some time, but for whatever reason the offer didn’t come until later.”
Gittens was The News Tribune’s All-Area boys basketball player of the year this past season — leading Foss to its first state championship since 2000 and averaged 22 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists. It was the first boys basketball championship by a Tacoma school since Lincoln won in 2002.
Gittens’ father, Roberto Gittens Sr., played for then-Hofstra coach Jay Wright in the 2001 NCAA tournament against UCLA.
So who is WSU getting?
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Gittens is ranked among the top 30 forwards in the nation by Scout.com.
Gittens joins Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson as the two four-star recruits WSU has signed in the past 20 years.
And make that four TNT All-Area players of the year at WSU.
Gittens’ relationship with Flynn, a fellow Tacoma native, drew him to WSU, Cocke’ said. And WSU assistant Curtis Allen, a Wilson graduate and TNT All-Area player of the year for the 1999-2000 season, made occasional appearances to Foss to watch him play.
And like Flynn and Daniels, Gittens was selected as The Associated Press’ state player of the year for his classification.
“(Kent) said that I’m going to be in a great position. He said I might even start, but it’s just about how hard I want to work,” Gittens said. “But he said I’m definitely going to play right away as a freshman.”
Cocke’ said he’s had many discussions with newly hired assistant Ed Haskins, a graduate of Clover Park who had been the coach at Garfield, about his star forward as well.
Though Gittens said he wants to drop from 215 pounds to near 200 and work on his speed and agility this offseason, he is is unsure of what position he’ll play just yet — likely either small forward or shooting guard.
“He plays with so much fire and intensity,” Cocke’ said. “And that attitude that he plays with is something that every team wants. He’s a guy who is good enough to go in and contribute right away as a freshman. It’s all about how hard he works and what he does to prepare himself.”
Gittens will be the first Foss graduate to play basketball at WSU since Brian Wright, who graduated in 1985.
Ar’Mond Davis graduated from Foss in 2014 before signing with Alabama and averaged 6.9 points per game for the Crimson Tide this past season. Dezmyn Trent was the TNT All-Area player of the year out of Foss in the 2012-13 season and went on to play at Boise State.
Gittens was one of two Tacoma basketball standouts to sign letters of intent with NCAA Division I school on Monday. Wilson graduate David Jenkins Jr. held a signing ceremony at his former school to sign with South Dakota State University to play for former UW assistant T.J. Otzelberger.
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