2009-2010 Washington State Cougars Basketball Preview
The Washington State Cougars (17- 16 overall, 8- 10 Pac-10) saw some good years under coach Tony Bennett, going to the Big Dance in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, the club made it to the Sweet 16. Last year, the cougars finished seventh in the Pac-10 and attended the NIT. This year, with Bennett gone and coach Ken Bone taking over, look for the Cougars to rebuild and sit out the post season.
The major problem for Washington State last year was scoring. The team was 10th in the Pac-10, putting up an average of just 59.2 PPG. On defense, Washington State was tenacious, allowing a mere 55.4 PPG and earning a ranking of first. But when it came to scoring, the field goals (43%) did not drop and the threes did not find their mark (35%). The Cougars were rated ninth and eighth respectively in those categories.
Washington State will ask forward DeAngelo Casto (4.4 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0,5 APG), who is a tough defensive presence, to take over for former Cougar center Aron Baynes (12.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.3 BPG). Casto is coming back from surgery on his torn meniscus. It’s thought that he will be ready to go. Inside, forward Brock Motum has the potential to drive to the rim or hit from downtown. Sophomore forward Charlie Enquist (1.0 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.0 APG) will be asked to produce more. The frontcourt definitely lacks depth.
The backcourt has potential. It starts with sophomore guard Klay Thompson (12.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.9 APG) who had a decent frosh season but needs to turn it up a notch this year. Freshman Reggie Moore could be a primetime player immediately. He possesses a nice scoring touch, quickness and playmaking ability. At the point, look for first-year player Xavier Thames to get the nod. He’s an able court captain who can find the outlet man or hit from various spots on the court. He will be a starter this season.
This Cougar team should be fun to watch. They are young and talented. They will struggle as they gain experience and find their chemistry. This “wait until next year” club has just one senior; everyone else is either a sophomore or freshman. Coach Bone has his work cut out for him, but he should be up to the task. After a year together, they will be back in the NCAA tourney hunt again.