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Seven-foot Ukrainian center Volodymyr Markovetskyy signs with Kyle Smith, Washington State

UPDATED: Wed., May 15, 2019, 6:55 p.m.

Kyle Smith speaks at a newss conference in Washington State University’s Rankich Club Room on  April 1  in Pullman. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
Kyle Smith speaks at a newss conference in Washington State University’s Rankich Club Room on April 1 in Pullman. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – When the Cougars take the basketball court next season, a 7-foot, 230-pound center from Ukraine will be in their midst.

Volodymyr Markovetskyy of Truskavets, Ukraine, signed a letter of intent with Washington State Wednesday, giving new coach Kyle Smith his sixth recruit in two weeks, since Colorado State graduate transfer Deion James inked with the Cougars last Thursday.

“ ‘Vova’ is a traditional back-to-the-basket center who also has the ability to play out on the floor like most European players,” Smith said.

“He is someone we have tracked closely since his performance for the Ukrainian U18 National Team, where he averaged a double-double in the A Division.”

Markovetskyy adds some essential size to Smith’s first roster in Pullman. Davante Cooper’s graduation left 6-9 forward Jeff Pollard as the tallest Cougar, and WSU won’t have the senior after the 2019-20 season.

In international play, Markovetskyy proved to be an effective scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker, averaging 11.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots while playing 24.3 minutes per game for Ukraine at the 2018 FIBA U18 European Championships. He plays for club team Zalgiris II in Lithuania and also played for the Zalgiris Junior Team.

Information on Markovetskyy is limited, but he’s 7-2, according to 247Sports, and also listed an offer from Kansas State.

Mike Schmitz of Draft Express performed an evaluation of Markovetskyy in 2017, writing that the Ukrainian center showed “decent hands” and a “soft touch around the rim. Schmitz also noted Markovetskyy had “decent mechanics on his midrange jumper” and “makes an effort to finish with either hand.”

On the flip side, Markovetskyy still needs to develop confidence and play with “more tenacity,” according to Schmitz, but he should have plenty of time to hone his game in the Pac-12, with four years of eligibility.

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