South Medford High junior Michael Harthun gave a verbal agreement to play basketball at Washington State University during a ceremony Saturday afternoon in Pullman, Wash.

Harthun, who helped lead the Panthers to the Class 6A boys basketball title in March, had been in town since Friday checking out the school and interacting with some of the Cougar players.

"Once I was up here and felt as comfortable as I did, 100 percent of me knew that this is where I want to go," Harthun said while en route to an AAU tournament in Seattle.

The 6-foot-3 point guard averaged 20 points and 4.7 assists during the regular season for South Medford, and was a driving force behind his teamís run to its first-ever state title. Harthun scored a team-high 24 points in the championship game against Lake Oswego ó sinking all five of his 3-pointers ó and ranked fourth in the state tourney at 20 points per game.

Harthun had also received interest from schools like Oregon, Oregon State and Gonzaga, but the connection forged with WSU head coach Tony Bennett and his assistants proved to be the ultimate drawing card.

"All the other coaches Iíve talked to throughout the whole (recruiting process), I havenít made the connection with them like I have with the coaches (at Washington State)," said Harthun.

"I just feel like it was a good fit for me here," he added. "They just made me feel really comfortable and like they needed and wanted me."

For more on this story, see Sunday's print edition of the Mail Tribune.