2011/12 Pac-12 Preview: Washington State

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by: John Chase
WSU comes into the season with many more seasoned players than last year. The 2010-2011 WSU roster had zero seniors, but they did have three RS juniors and six regular juniors. This year WSU has four seniors and three juniors, but are without two key components of last years team. WSU finished 22-13 overall and 9-9 in conference. WSU also broke the streak of four straight wins by UW by winning two straight themselves before losing to UW in the Pac-10 tournament. WSU took part in the NIT where they won three games before losing to Wichita State 75-44. That’s a whomping right there.

Key Losses:

  • DeAngelo Casto 6-8 255lb – WSU’s best and only real legitimate post option. Casto was third in scoring at 12 points and first in rebound at 7 boards per game. Casto chose to take his talents overseas after his junior year due to financial reasons (he had a kid, good for him for stepping up and taking care of it). A much better choice than Venoy Overton…Casto provided depth and security down low that opened up the perimeter for Klay Thompson to do his thing. He was only of the few Cougars who could bang in the post with guys like Aziz N’Diaye and Josh Smith. While a tad undersized for a true 5, he gave his all and certainly had success. I have a feeling the Cougars will miss him more than Thompson soon enough.
  • Klay Thompson 6-6 202lb – After struggling 2 straight years against UW, Thompson found his own and opened up in all three games, scoring 43 in the tournament. Thompson could shoot lights out from nearly anywhere on the court. He was selected with the 11th pick in the NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. Thompson was a decent defender, though what he did was mostly overshadowed by his extreme offensive capabilities. Faisal Aden and Reggie Moore will need to step their scoring up to help replace him.

Incoming Freshmen:

  • Greg Sequele 6-7 210lb – Sequele is an athletic 4 with great endurance, hustle, and tenacity. He needs to put in work developing his offensive game, but the Cougars should be happy with what he can bring on the defensive side of the ball. He attacks the glass well and is solid in transition plays. He is a good backup for Brock Motum and the other more senior players.
  • Davonte Lacy 6-3 190lb – Lacy is a combo guard with a great shot. He can penetrate the lane as well as drop back to the arc and hit. Lacy has the passing skills necessary to not only make the right decisions, but execute them as well. Lacy is known for occasionally forcing too fast of an offense and taking shots early, but that is something that good coaching can quickly amend.

Returning Players:

  • Reggie Moore 6-1 180lb
  • Marcus Capers 6-4 185lb
  • Faisal Aden 6-4 185lb
  • Will DiIorio 6-5 188lb
  • Mike Ladd 6-5 190lb
  • Abe Lodwick 6-7 208lb
  • Patrick Simon 6-8 214lb
  • Dave Wink 6-8 245lb
  • Brock Motum 6-10 230lb
  • Charlie Enquist 6-10 235lb

Moore, Capers, and Aden will likely be the backbone of the team’s scoring ability. Lodwick and Motum will shore up the center with Enquist providing relief.

Predicted Starting Line-Up:

G – Reggie Moore 6-1 180lb

G – Faisal Aden 6-4 185lb

F – Marcus Capers 6-4 185lb

F – Abe Lodwick 6-7 208lb

F – Brock Motum 6-10 230lb

This seems like a decently sized line-up though it does make the 3 a tad smaller than some teams might like. Overall, these five players should have enough talent to keep the game close for the first two minutes until their thin depth begins to hurt them.

What to Expect:

WSU is going to be missing Thompson and Casto a bunch this year. They were the biggest reasons the Cougars were able to be so competitive last year. Just look at the Wichita State game or and of the WSU losses versus UW. In 90% of those games, Thompson and/or Casto struggled to get going offensively.

WSU has a roster of secondary players, and by that I mean they would be coming off the bench for teams like UCLA, UA, and UW. Cal could use some of these guys to fill out their own bench, which is lacking in my mind. WSU will finish in the bottom half of the conference, likely somewhere between 7th and 10th. Maybe 6th if they can develop a solid post. Their perimeter will be their best threat.