Xavier Thames is a Cougar

xtXavier Thames is the latest WSU basketball commit for 2009. Ranked as the #19 point guard in the nation, Thames will no doubt ease the loss of Taylor Rochestie following this upcoming season.

However… there are some interesting comments that Thames makes in the article I linked to:

“We talked about how they’re going to look to get up and down a lot more with guys like Klay (Thompson), (DeAngelo Casto and James Watson) coming in — even with playing the defense that they do,” said Thames.

Not a huge shock – I just hope that Xavier understands the Cougs aren’t likely to become the Phoenix Suns anytime soon. Still, we know that Tony’s approach on offense is different than his father’s in (at least) two ways. First, he is more willing to give players the green light to shoot early in the shot clock. Second, Tony is more likely to let his teams look for opportunities in transition. This statement from Thames is huge in that we now know that Tony is looking to push the tempo even more than he has the past two seasons. It’s a very interesting comment for the future of the program.

“Coach Bennett and coach Sanchez, those guys, I have a lot of faith in them. They’re good people. And it’s a good program. They said they’re looking for me to come in and play right away, if not starting then to get a lot of minutes and help the team out and he said he was excited about that, and I’m really excited too.”

Normally I’m concerned when coaches promise playing time, but the fact of the matter is we’ll need Thames in 2009. Rochestie is staring down 35 minutes a night this season, and beyond that there is no clear replacement. If Xavier keeps on working, he could find himself earning a lot of minutes and possibly even a starter’s job.

This kid is an exceptional player and a wonderful fit for the WSU program. He even has his own webpage! Thames is a guard in the same mold as a Mac Hopson and possibly even a Josh Akognon in terms of shooting the ball. Most sources also say he is versatile enough to play the 1 or the 2. Either way he is the kind of player that WSU had no chance of getting five years ago. A huge commit for the Cougs.

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