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.

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.

Happy Media Day

See? Everybody’s smiling.

The Prediction: 10th. Meaningless.

The Oddity: One first-place vote for California. The only school other than USC to get that honor. The Golden Bears were fourth in overall voting. Speaking of which, here are the rankings:

1. USC – 389
2. Arizona State – 330
3. Oregon – 295
4. Cal – 274
5. UCLA – 204
6. Oregon State – 192
7. Arizona – 185
8. Washington – 139
9. Stanford – 76
10. WSU – 61

Which means it is about time I offered up my own opinion. So here goes:

1. USC
2. ASU
3. Oregon
4. Cal
5. Arizona
6. UCLA
7. Washington
8. Washington State
9. Oregon State
10. Stanford

Did I mention pre-season rankings are meaningless? Unless, of course, I get this right at the end of the season. In which case I will crown myself as a Pac-10 football guru this winter. That’s just how sportswriting works, folks.

Quote of the Day: “This isn’t a deal where we want to pass first, run second. We want to run the football.” Maybe not the most intriguing sound byte from media day, but certainly the most telling of how the Cougar offense will actually pan out in 2008. And I’m glad. Wulff reminded the media that the new offense is not a spread, rather a hurry-up, and that WSU will look to pound the bound every bit as much as throw it over the top.

This is great news for a few reasons. One, it means there may be some hope for a red zone offense that has been so terrible in recent seasons, I can’t not even describe it with a word. So I am forced to make one up. Craptawfuble. In fact, the goal line portion of the offense has been so craptawfuble that it struggled to score even with the unstoppable force of Jed Collins (occasionally) in the backfield. So, with a solid offensive line this season and Dwight Tardy at halfback, the Cougs should have the ability to run with some confidence. And as the yards on the ground go up, the more the passing game benefits. And the more confidence that Tardy has, the more likely the ball is to actually cross the goal line. It’s science.

The other reason this is good news is for the aforementioned benefits to the passing game. Gary Rogers will be challenged enough this year with a new offense. It would be hard for him to do anything if opposing defenses begin to focus solely on our high-powered passing game. Sometimes the running game can help without even gaining yards. Just keeping the defense honest at the line of scrimmage allows the wide receivers to work on getting open against fewer defensive backs. Since Brandon Gibson is going to be double-teamed a bazillion times this year, we need as many opponents focusing on the running game as possible. Wulff knows this, and knows he has to commit to the running game to make it happen.

Brandon Gibson, Still Awesome: “I believe every time I touch the ball, I want to do something special with it. I think they kind of expect that out of me.”

The last time I believed a player was capable of that statement was Michael Bumpus. Of course, as defenses began to key in on Bumpus or just avoid punting it to him altogether, a lot of the magic was lost. It could be the same problem for Gibson this season. He will be the focus of the defense. If he can still find a way to be a scoring threat every time he touches the ball, then we’re in business.

Losing Bumpus also hurts Gibson’s game, but not as much as you may think. Jeshua Anderson is so ridiculously fast that a lot of teams may consider re-assigning their fastest defensive back to him instead of Gibson. The receiving corps as a whole is also deep enough to be a help. Just hope they stay healthy.

That’s all I have for now. Let’s close with the Pac-10 media member motto:

If you’re not sure, rank Washington State last.

I believe it’s engraved on the side of the L.A. Times building.

Ted Miller Ranks Quarterbacks, Loses Credibility

Hey there, former Seattle P-I and current ESPN.com writer Ted Miller! How do you rank the Pac-10’s quarterbacks for this upcoming season?

[sitting on the edge of my seat]

First, let’s have some background:

This is not a bumper year for Pac-10 QBs. Only three schools are locked at the position: Tuitama, Carpenter and Locker.

There’s a clear leader at four schools — Oregon (Nate Costa), UCLA (Olson), USC (Sanchez) and Washington State (Gary Rogers). But it wouldn’t be shocking if any of the four lost his job at some point this season.

This is what is known in the sports writing world as “covering one’s behind”. I probably would be shocked if Olson, Sanchez or Rogers lost their job. Costa wouldn’t surprise me because he’s a sophomore and hasn’t really proven anything yet. Olson and Rogers are seniors; Sanchez is a junior who used to be one of the most highly touted QB recruits in the nation. So 3 of those 4 are fairly safe.

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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.

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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.

Low Gets a Shot With the Mavs

Derrick Low has been invited to play on the Dallas Mavericks’ summer team, as reported by the Honolulu Advertiser.

The article notes that he could be the first native Hawaiian to make a NBA roster since the 1950s(!).

Also, the winner of the Kyle Weaver draft projection contest is DraftExpress, who picked Kyle at 39th overall, just one spot after he was actually selected.