A sign that the Pac-10 will have another down year this season… Washington State is the third ranked team from the conference but only comes in at #47 in The Sports Bank’s “99 in 99” which runs down the 72 power conference college basketball teams and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. Click here if you missed teams #48-#99.
By: David Kay
Washington State Cougars (10th, 6-12 in Pac-10, 16-15 overall)
Projected Depth Chart
F/C: DeAngelo Casto (Jr)/Charlie Enquist (Jr)/Steven Bjornstad (So)
F: Abe Lodwick (Jr)/Brock Motum (So)
G/F: Klay Thompson (Jr)/Patrick Simon (Fr)/Dexter Kenrich-Drew (Fr)
SG: Marcus Capers (Jr)/Faisal Aden (Jr)
PG: Reggie Moore (So)/Dre’ Winston Jr. (Fr)
Gone: F-Nikola Koprivica, G-Anthony Brown (transfer-Eastern Oregon), PG-Xavier Thames (transfer-San Diego State), SG-Mike Harthun (transfer-Portland State), PG-John Allen (transfer-Western Washington), F-James Watson (transfer-JUCO)
Road losses at Kansas State and Gonzaga were the Cougars only non-conference blemishes a year ago. Wazzu then began Pac-10 play winning four of the first six games before taking a nasty spiral downward at the end of the season, dropping ten of their final 12.
The Cougars did lose five players to transfer since the start of last season but still bring back their top three scorers from a year including three-point bomber Klay Thompson. He will be joined on the wing by returning starters Marcus Capers and Reggie Moore, who earned first team All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honors after a phenomenal first year campaign.
D’Angelo Casto anchors the interior with his non-stop motor and relentlessness on the glass. Abe Lodwick started 21 years game last season but only averaged about 12 minutes per game and will likely give Wazzu a smaller starting five.
Due to the transfers and loss of versatile Nikola Koprivicia to graduation, the bench experience is thin. Brock Motum and Charlie Enquist saw limited action a year ago and will need to play bigger roles this season off the bench. Three newcomers join the backcourt with JUCO transfer Faisal Aden and wing Patrick Simon the most likely to make an immediate impact.
The Cougars will once again be tested with home contests against Kansas State and the Zags and a trip to the Diamond Head Classic. If Wazzu can be competitive in those games, they should be a factor in the Pac-10 race with a chance of dancing come March.
Player to Watch: Klay Thompson, SG
Thompson is one of the better long range shooters in the country but struggled mightily with his stroke during conference play which played a major part in Washington State’s end of the year slump. Thompson will hope to bounce back and re-gain his form from his freshman year when he hit 41.2% of his triple tries. If he can become a more versatile scorer and not rely solely on bombing three’s, Wazzu might have what it takes to earn a ticket to the dance.
Key Non-Conference Games:
12/3 vs. Kansas State
12/8 vs. Gonzaga
12/22 vs. Mississippi State (Diamond Head Classic)
12/23 vs. Baylor/San Diego (Diamond Head Classic)
12/25 vs. Butler/Utah/Florida State/Hawaii (Diamond Head Classic)
Other 99 in 99’s:
#48 St. Louis
#49 Old Dominion
#51 New Mexico
#55 Southern Mississippi
#56 St. Mary’s
#57 Texas A&M
#59 Arizona State
#60 Northern Iowa
#64 Texas Tech
#65 Miami, FL
#68 Ole Miss
#69 George Mason
#71 Weber State
#74 Central Florida
#75 Wake Forest
#76 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma State
#82 South Carolina
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#89 Boston College
#93 Oregon State
#97. Iowa State