Cougars feel fortunate to get Hankoff |

Cougars feel fortunate to get Hankoff

Adrian Hankoff’s goal at Washington State is simple: “I want to start,” she said.

Her new coach says she’ll give her every opportunity to attain that goal.

“We will have a very young team and everyone could get a chance to play right away,” said Cindy Fredrick, who compares this recruiting class to the one that developed into her greatest team. “Adrian definitely will get a chance to earn playing time.”

Hankoff is one of seven freshman who will report Aug. 6 to the Pullman campus. The newcomers will team up with five sophomores and a senior who last season were a part of Fredrick’s first losing season (12-14) since 1990.

“The last time we had a recruiting year like this, the team eventually went on to the Elite Eight,” Fredrick said.

The addition of Hankoff was an unexpected bonus for the Cougars.

Last August, the outside hitter committed to UC Santa Barbara.

A perfect 4.0 grade point average student, Hankoff received hundreds of recruiting letters and at least two phone calls a night. While it was fun at first, it became a burden, she said. She was happy to have come to a decision.

But when South Tahoe High played in an early season tournament in Santa Barbara, the reviews from her would-be coach were not good, who indicated maybe the scholarship offer wasn’t such a good idea, after all.

Hankoff was recovering from a foot injury and she admittedly did not play at her best. But the coach’s comments were enough to make her change her mind.

“It may have been a possible motivating thing,” Hankoff’s father and coach, Gary, said. “But we wondered if the coach is like this now, how would she be after Adrian was on the team?”

Within minutes of hearing Hankoff would not be going to Santa Barbara, Fredrick e-mailed Gary Hankoff.

One trip to Pullman was all it took for Adrian to come to a final decision.

“When I got there, I knew this was it,” she said. “The people were so nice. It reminded me of Tahoe.”

Fredrick likes what she saw in Hankoff, too.

“She is very sound fundamentally as a player, and I like her aggressive, competitive spirit,” she said. “She’s going to be a very good player.”

At 5-foot-10, Hankoff will only be an average-sized player in the Pac 10 Conference. Fredrick says size is not an issue.

“A lot of real big kids don’t pan out,” she said. “I’d rather have players with more athleticism. … Adrian is the first kid I’ve ever had who was a swimmer before she was a volleyball player.”

Hankoff’s responsibility now is to train.

“She’s going to have to come in in great shape,” Fredrick said. “But I’m not worried about this (recruiting) class. They are all like Adrian. They are committed, and they like to work out.”

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