James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Strange Saga Of Recruiting Tanner Lancona

In late April we discussed the potential for former Washington State signee Tanner Lancona to become a Wildcat as he was planning a visit to the campus in Manhattan. The whole situation seemed a little off at the time, but like most fans I was just giddy about a three star, 6’9″ PF with decent moves coming to K-State considering the team’s lack of height following the sudden departure of Adrian Diaz. Yet since Lancona announced his intention to enroll at St. Louis University this week I’ve become increasingly turned off by the recruit. Bruce Weber may miss the talent, but not necessarily the baggage.

A brief recap: Lancona initially signed a letter of intent with Wazzu but was released from the agreement this spring. Both the University and Lancona described the move as “mutual.” However, SB Nation reported that an individual with the username Seanlancona (Sean Lancona is Tanner’s father, fyi) left a series of posts on Cougfan.com which imply the split was not at all mutual. In discussing the head coach, he stated:

“The question should be how much could he of done for your program and how soon can he start doing it. You should be proud that Tanner has not spoke out against your program and instead did what even I have trouble doing which is take the high road. He was very proud to join you even if your the last place school in the PAC 12 and lose to the WAC and WCC.”


I have learned something from an 18 year old and I will never forget it, it’s called class and I wish he had been shown the same class as he is giving to you.”


You have taught my son a lesson he will not soon forget………I suggest we all just let it go because somewhere the basketball gods have already made their decision on his fate.”

If this is indeed his father and he’s telling the truth – which seems very possible – then Washington State saw something in Tanner it did not like and talked him into agreeing to part ways, but it was not a mutual split. Weird.

The subsequent recruiting process for the newly released player appears that teams were recruiting to Sean Lancona – not his son, who is actually the one responsible for showing up at practice and playing in games. Tanner eventually chose SLU over K-State, BYU, and Colorado State. And although he expressed interest in the Wildcats, father Sean didn’t seem to think that way. During an interview for BillikenReport.com, father Sean waxed on about the BYU honor code as an LDS school and SLU’s similar honor code as a Jesuit University:

“They have an honor code at BYU. Whether you are LDS or not, you have to abide by it. As [Saint Louis], they had that attitude without the rulebook. The players wanted to pass their classes, were serious about things, but they also had fun in moderation and wanted to win on the court.”

Son Tanner must have some things he’s looking for in a school – playing time, coach he’s comfortable with, and hopefully an academic setting he’d be willing to experience with or without basketball in his life. And it’s difficult to fault father Sean to an extent – any good parent is desperate to come to their child’s defense (against Wazzu fans) and in securing their best opportunity to succeed (a religious honor code is apparently important to him). However, parents can also ruin a sporting experience (you know the ones that demand their kid play quarterback or be featured every minute of the game even though they can’t throw a football or knock down a ten foot shot). We’ll see over the next four years if K-State simply missed out on a great prospect or also avoided a major headache for the program.

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Tags: Basketball K-State Kansas State Recruit Sean Lancona St. Louis University Tanner Lancona Washington State

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