2008 Washington State Cougars Basketball Preview
In the last two seasons, the Washington State Cougars (26-9 overall, 11-7 Pac-10) have been to the NCAA Tournament twice. Last year, they made it to the Sweet 16, beating Winthrop and Notre Dame before losing to North Carolina 68-47. Coach Tony Bennett starts his third year with the Cougars after being pursued by numerous programs, including LSU and Indiana; it looks like he’s staying with Washington State. That’s good news considering how much he has done for the program in such a small amount of time.
At six-foot-ten and 270 pounds, senior center Aron Baynes (24.0 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 60.0 FG%, 66.0 FT%) is a physical, double-double athlete. Sophomore forward Fabian Boeke stands six-foot-eleven, adding some height to the post. Senior forward Caleb Forrest (12.0 MPG, 3.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.2 APG, 51.1 FG%, 77.8 FT%) showed that he was a gamer in big contests last season. Senior Daven Harmeling (21.1 MPG, 5.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 42.6 FG%, 77.4 FT%) can knock down threes and can also hit inside. Freshman DeAngelo Casto will offer points, helping upfront.
Guard Taylor Rochestie (34.9 MPG, 10.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.7 APG, 46.5 FG%, 80.4 FT%) has a fine shot from the field and is an accurate foul shooter. He’s also an excellent passer. Rochestie is simply the ultimate team player. Junior guard Nikola Koprivica (11.2 MPG, 2.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 39.2 FG%, 67.6 FT%) is a tough competitor and a physical player. The centerpiece of the Cougars’ 2008-2009 recruiting class is Klay Thompson, a six-foot-six swingman who can score, grab rebounds and pass off. Two frosh, Nick Witherill and Michael Harthun, offer fine perimeter shooting.
The Washington State Cougars have talent returning and some fine
new recruits. Various Pac-10 schools have lost key players and that
helps the Washington State program. The fact is that the Cougars
can sneak up on conference teams, finishing in fourth or fifth place.
The NIT is almost certain and the NCAA Tournament is a possibility.