An Early Look at the Basketball Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Exp. Hometown (Last School)
20 John Allen G 6-0 181 FR HS Brier, Wash. (Mountlake Terrace HS)
11 Aron Baynes C 6-10 270 SR 3V Cairns, Australia (Cairns State)
13 Fabian Boeke C 6-11 230 SO SQ Hamburg, Germany (Urspring Basketball Academy)
0 Marcus Capers G 6-4 172 FR HS Winter Haven, Fla. (Montverde Academy)
23 DeAngelo Casto PF 6-8 229 FR HS Spokane, Wash. (Ferris HS)
40 Charlie Enquist F 6-10 220 RS FR SQ Edmonds, Wash. (Kings HS)
52 Caleb Forrest F 6-8 228 SR 3V Pagosa Springs, Colo. (Pagosa Springs)
32 Daven Harmeling F 6-7 225 RS SR 4V Grand Junction, Colo. (Fruita Monument)
3 Mike Harthun SG 6-3 170 FR HS Medford, Ore. (South Medford HS)
4 Nikola Koprivica G 6-6 211 JR 2V Belgrade, Serbia (Sport Grammer School)
5 Abe Lodwick G 6-7 196 RS FR SQ Bend, Ore. (Mountain View)
10 Taylor Rochestie G 6-1 186 RS SR 2V Santa Barbara, Calif. (Tulane)
1 Klay Thompson SG 6-6 187 FR HS Ladera Ranch, Calif. (Santa Margarita Catholic HS)
14 James Watson PF 6-7 210 FR HS Atoka, Okla. (Stringtown HS)
44 Nick Witherill G 6-1 176 FR HS Phoenix, Ariz. (Highland HS)

The first thing that jumps out at me – three, count ’em, three players from the state of Washington. OK, so maybe it should be expected that Washington State boasts a few players from the Evergreen State. But this is a big deal because it starts to show something that Dick Bennett predicted years ago. That is, as the Cougs improve, the circle from which they recruit will become smaller. Last year, coming off of a tournament appearance, the Cougs only had one player from in-state: Charlie Enquist. And he was on the bench getting a redshirt.

Now, the Cougs picked up a college-ready recruit from Spokane (DeAngelo Casto), and perhaps the steal of this past recruiting period in walk-on John Allen from Montlake Terrace. Don’t know Allen? Nuss at WSU Hoops has the inside information on the 6’1″ guard that could steal some minutes as early as this season.

The other thing you’ll notice is just how ridiculously young this team is. Nine freshmen on the fifteen man roster. If you count Fabian Boeke, there will be ten first-year players on this squad. Wow.

Enquist, Lodwick and Boeke do have a year of experience in practice, which is useful because they had to go head to head with Low, Weaver and Cowgill at the top of their games. However there is nothing in terms of actual game experience for these guys. The learning curve will be steep and it starts with the tough non-conference schedule.

Baynes, Forrest, Koprivica, Harmeling and Rochestie. Those are your five players with experience. Enough to make a good starting lineup, but not enough to make a whole rotation. So expect a lot of playing time for the Cougs’ freshmen.

Quickly, we’ll see if Tony’s philosophy is different from his father’s. Dick Bennett played anyone and everyone in his first two years in Pullman. Tony played essentially the same starting lineup every night in 2007-08. Will Tony stick with the rotation he sets at the beginning of the year? Will we see all fifteen players out on the court at some point this season? Will anyone redshirt? Can we afford to have anyone redshirt? Only time will tell.

Some questions for you: which frosh will have the biggest impact this year? Who will be the biggest surprise? Who would you redshirt? Don’t be afraid to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Offseason Video of the Week: 7/30

Your friendly reminder that all Thomas Kelati does is win ball games.

This is a must-see for diehard Cougar basketball fans. Also, if you’re the impatient type, skip to the 1:45 mark. That’s where the good stuff starts.

Courtesy tuzgc; YouTube

Low –> Australia

Derrick Low has signed a one-year contract with the Sydney Spirit of Australia.

Why one year? Certainly Low is worth more than that, especially to a foreign squad. However, this is about keeping Derrick’s NBA dream alive. A single season contract allows Low to go down there, play ball, and then weigh his NBA options for 2009-2010. It’s very likely that if he plays well he will get another summer camp invite.

This year Low played summer ball with the Mavericks, but got limited playing time and ultimately got the feeling that he would not have a great shot at cracking the Dallas roster this fall. 

Right now he would be the second American on the Spirit roster, joining David Grueber. No word yet if he might play with noted weed-smoker/former Oregon Duck Ian Crosswhite, who played with the now defunct Sydney Kings.

Low dropped 35 points in a one-point loss to those same Kings during the Cougs’ Australia trip last summer. The Kings went on to finish with the best regular season record in the Aussie NBL and lost in the “grand final” to Melbourne. So it goes without saying a lot of Aussie teams were very high on Low’s talent level. That, and throwing shrimps on the barbie. I hear they do that there.

Best of luck to Low – we’ll track his progress and I’m excited to see Derrick light up the NBL.

G’day, mates.

Offseason Video of the Week: 7/17

[credit: vegascoug123; YouTube]

On January 19th the Cougars were still in the midst of a thirteen game losing streak to the Oregon Ducks. Amazing how in just two months it turned into a three game winning streak.

Your 2008-2009 Cougar Basketball Schedule

Tentatively: (Source: Pac-10 website)

Sat., Nov. 15 Legends Classic (1)
Tues., Nov. 18 Legends Classic (1)

Fri., Nov. 21 Sacramento State
Sun., Nov. 23 Mississippi Valley State

Fri., Nov. 28 at Legends Classic (2)
Sat., Nov. 29 at Legends Classic (2)
Tues., Dec. 2 Idaho State
Sat., Dec. 6 Baylor (3)
Wed., Dec. 10 Gonzaga
Sat., Dec. 13 vs. Montana State (4)
Sat., Dec. 20 at Idaho
Sat., Dec. 27 at LSU
Sat., Jan. 3 Washington
Thurs., Jan. 8 California
Sat., Jan. 10 Stanford

Thurs., Jan. 15 at Oregon State
Sat., Jan. 17 at Oregon
Thurs., Jan. 22 UCLA
Sat., Jan. 24 USC

Thurs., Jan. 29 at Arizona State
Sat., Jan. 31 at Arizona
Thurs., Feb. 5 at Stanford
Sun., Feb. 7 at California
Thurs., Feb. 12 Oregon
Sat., Feb. 14 Oregon State

Thurs., Feb. 19 at USC
Sat., Feb. 21 at UCLA
Thurs., Feb. 26 Arizona
Sat., Feb. 28 Arizona State
Sat., Mar. 8 at Washington
Mar. 11-14 at Pac-10 Tournament (5)
(1) Legends Classic, Pullman, Wash.
(2) Legends Classic, Newark, N.J.
(3) Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series
(4) Seattle, Wash. (KeyArena)
(5) Los Angeles, Calif. (Staples Center)

Home games in bold.

Alright, let’s talk about this. After the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Offseason Video of the Week

Courtesy kapoleicoug on YouTube

How great is it that Hawaiian newscasters get to wear Hawaiian shirts?

This week’s video is Honolulu’s local television station profiling Derrick Low at the Pan Am Games last summer. Yes, it’s old, but if you’re like me (meaning you didn’t have a chance to see the Pan Am games on TV) you’re seeing these highlights for the first time.

Watching a tape like this makes you wonder why Low wasn’t drafted into the NBA last Month. Certainly he’s not a first rounder, but if you watched WSU closely you know how hard Derrick worked in his career to make himself into the team’s leading scorer. That’s why if I’m an NBA exec I take Low late in the second round, because there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain in terms of upside. He’s not flashy, but he can at the very least distribute the ball and catch-and-shoot with the best of them.

So a gold star goes to Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, who got a good deal on an underrated player.

Analyzing the Pac-10’s Night at the Draft

KWeav

Kyle Weaver (left) with new teammates Alexis Ajinca (center) and D.J. Augustin (right)

The NBA Draft was, without a doubt, a benchmark evening for Pac-10 basketball. Five of the first eleven picks belonged to the conference, seven were taken in the first round (a draft record), and twelve players in all were selected. The Pac-10, regarded as possibly the best conference in the land prior to last season, regained some of the notoriety it lost following a disappointing showing at the NCAA tournament for some of its teams. The top three (UCLA, Stanford and WSU) performed well, but the remainder of the conference representatives were duds, leaving some national pundits to mark the Pac-10 as overrated.

So, with all of the picks in, how did the NBA do in evaluating talent from the “conference of champions”? I’ll take a look at each individual pick from the draft, and then tell you if I thought the player was underrated, overrated, or “just right”. Let’s start near the top of the draft board, with the third pick and the Minnesota T-Wolves.

#3 – Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Memphis) – OJ Mayo, G, USC – With all the superlatives being tossed around about Mayo by ESPN’s draft crew, not once did I hear the most glaring criticism available. Nope, it took another Coug blogger, WSU Hoops’ Jeff Nusser, to uncover Mayo’s dirty secret earlier this season. He can’t get to the free throw line. In a league where Kobe Bryant lowers his head and charges down the lane with no hope of getting a basket, the NBA makes it an emphasis to bail players out with the whistle. And if Mayo wants to become the player people seem to think he is, he’ll have to learn to be a little more aggressive driving to the basket. Seeing as how he was the #1 prospect before the season started, Memphis gets good value making the trade for number three. Result: Just Right

#4 – The Seattle Supersonics of Oklahoma City Basketball Club/Litigation Firm – Russell Westbrook- G, UCLA – Whoa, whoa, whoa. Nothing against Westbrook, who is a fine player and lock down defender, but he’s not even the best player on his own college team. Of course this is part of Seattle’s master plan to ensure that no fans are in the seats when and if the team remains in the Emerald City in 2008. Make the team awful, with no star players (except for Durant, who is your franchise’s financial future) and sneak the team out of town in the cover of darkness. This is what being a robber baron is all about. Unless they know they will win the lawsuit and move the team this fall, in which case this is just a bad pick. Westbrook belongs in picks 8-12 and the Sonics reached for him at four. Result: Overrated

#5 – Memphis Grizzlies (traded to Minnesota) – Kevin Love, C, UCLA – Thank goodness. Now that he is free from drawing invisible fouls from Aron Baynes, I can no longer hate Kevin Love. Love was the face of the team the Cougars needed to beat this year, and I couldn’t stand it when we lost. Twice. Granted, he’s nowhere close to the level of hatred I hold for Brook Lopez, but now I can appreciate his ridiculous outlet passing and fundamentally sound skills. Result: Just Right

#10 – New Jersey Nets – Brook Lopez, C, Stanford – I hate Brook Lopez so much I won’t even waste my time with analysis of him (or at least not until we discuss Ryan Anderson). I must still be honest here: he should have been a top five or six selection. Result: Underrated

#11 – Indiana Pacers (traded to Portland) – Jerryd Bayless, G, Arizona – For 7-8 picks lower, Portland gets a much better offensive player than Westbrook, and a much better foul-line getter (is that a word?) than O.J. Mayo. Remember, he was #4 on Portland’s draft board, and they got him at #11. That stuff never even happens in your fantasy league drafts. I really do love how the Blazers are getting set up to murder the rest of the league in the 2010s. Result: Underrated

#15 – Phoenix Suns – Robin Lopez, C, Stanford – By the way, have you ever heard two tall people with more ridiculous speaking voices than the Lopez twins? My biggest pet peeve of the draft is that now everyone is raving about Robin’s offense. Really? Jay Bilas kept making the excuse that he was somehow thrown off by Brook being the #1 option on the team. And the worst part is that other analysts agreed with this crap. If that’s the case, why wasn’t Robin dominating in the post when Brook was on the bench? When Brook was too much of a moron to hit the books at Stanford, why wasn’t Robin dropping 22/10 on inferior, out-of-conference opposition? Robin is the defensive/shot-blocking twin, not the one with the dominating offensive skills. As impressive as his 8 points in 35 minutes against Siena were, I think Brook might just be a little more polished. Still, it’s not too much of a reach at #15. Result: Just Right

#21 – New Jersey Nets – Ryan Anderson, F, California – Apparently my Pac-10 sleeper in the draft was also New Jersey’s. So here’s what is interesting: By making the Yi trade, New Jersey continues to clear a ginormous amount of cap space for 2010, when guess who (I’ll tell you: LeBron) is available. What we are seeing now is the core that the Nets want to put around LBJ when they make the move over to Brooklyn. And let me tell you, it’s intriguing. First there’s Lopez, a tall, screaming, chest-pounding lunatic in the post. Then there’s Anderson, another tall guy, but instead a lights out perimeter shooter. Perfect role players for King James, if everything goes according to plan. By the way, if I’m a Cleveland fan, I’m preparing to disown the Cavaliers and never watch basketball again. NJ still could have grabbed Ryan later in the first round. Result: Overrated

#37 – Milwaukee Bucks – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, F, UCLA – Besides having the best name ever, LRMaM was earlier projected to be a first-rounder. Good value move for the Bucks. Result: Underrated

#38 – Charlotte Bobcats – Kyle Weaver, G, WSU – Enjoy the Kyle Weaver era, Charlotte. You are blessed. Result: Severely Underrated

#48 – Phoenix Suns – Malik Hairston, G, Oregon – Hey, remember that one time when Aaron Brooks took three f-ing steps, passed the ball to you and you drained a game winner against the Cougs?? Yep, I still hate you. [impersonating Stephen A. Smith] HOWEVA, you’re a good second-round selection. Result: Just Right

#50 – Seattle/OKC Sonics Law Offices/Hoops Firm – DeVon Hardin, C, California – Thoughts of being a lottery pick two years ago; now drafted behind Weaver and Malik Hairston in the second round. That’s cold as ice, man. The second round is for taking chances, so I like the pick. Result: Just Right

#54 – Houston Rockets – Maarty Leunen, F, Oregon – This pick is like getting a 50% off deal on Ryan Anderson. What is it about the Rockets and former Ducks players? Last year they took Aaron Brooks, now they take the King of Clutch Free Throws, Mr. Leunen. Dickie V would’ve loved this guy if he ever glanced at players outside of the state of North Carolina. Result: Underrated

Enjoy your abbreviated work week, Cougar Nation.