SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Talk about taking one for the team.
Washington State basketball player Taylor Rochestie will give up his scholarship his senior year so the Cougars can sign a highly touted recruit from Florida.
Rochestie, a 6-foot-1 guard, is expected to start this season for the Cougars, who are coming off one of the best seasons in school history. He said he made the decision because his family can afford to pay the approximately $25,000 cost of going to the Pullman-based school.
``When I first learned of this option to open up a scholarship by giving up mine, I thought it sounded great,'' Rochestie said in a press release. ``I am thankful that I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where I could help the team out.''
Rochestie, a junior, will come off scholarship for his senior season, 2008-09. That will free up a scholarship so the team can sign Marcus Capers, a 6-foot-4 guard from Montverde Academy near Orlando, Fla.
The team was not allowed by NCAA rules to discuss Capers, but the player on Thursday declared his intent to play for the Cougars.
Rochestie likened his action to working harder in practice and making other sacrifices to help the team.
It's another feel-good moment for a team that went 26-8 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Most of the team is back this year.
Coach Tony Bennett, who earned national coach of the year honors, marveled at the gracious act.
``I think this shows how much of a leader and great teammate Taylor is and for him to want to do something like this to help establish the future of our program in this manner is just incredible,'' Bennett said.
There was no listing for Marcus Capers or his father, Jerome, in the Orlando area. A message left for his coach, Kevin Sutton, at Montverde was not immediately returned.
Marcus Capers told The Spokesman-Review newspaper that Washington State is the right fit for him.
``I came up to visit and I just like the little small college town,'' Marcus Capers said. ``And playing in the Pac-10 ain't that bad either.''
Jerome Capers told the newspaper that his son bonded with Rochestie and teammate Daven Harmeling during the visit.
``I told coach Bennett to tell Taylor thank you,'' Jerome Capers said. ``I was just overwhelmed and taken by his unselfishness to help my son out.''
Rochestie said he wants to give back to a program that gave him a chance after he injured his knee while playing at Tulane as a freshman. He transferred to Washington State in the spring of 2006 and sat out the remainder of that season.
Last year, he averaged 4.6 points and nearly two assists, with six starts in 34 games.
``After I talked with my dad about it, I knew it was a no-brainer,'' Rochestie said, adding his goal is for Washington State, long a downtrodden program, to remain good.
Capers averaged 17 points, six rebounds and four assists as a high school junior last season.
The Cougars had four scholarships becoming available for next season, with the graduation of seniors Derrick Low, Kyle Weaver and Robbie Cowgill, and one carry-over.
Those have been claimed by recruits Klay Thompson, Nick Witherill, Michael Harthun and James Watson, although they cannot sign a letter of intent until Nov. 14.

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