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2011-12 College Basketball Season Preview: Washington State

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Washington State Cougars (Last Year: 22-13, 9-9 in Pac-12)

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

F/C: Brock Motum (Jr)/Charlie Enquist (Sr)/Steven Bjornstad (So)/D.J. Shelton (So)

F: Abe Lodwick (Sr)/ Patrick Simon (So)/Greg Sequele (Fr)

SG: Faisal Aden (Sr)/Dexter Kenrich-Drew (Fr)

SG: Marcus Capers (Sr)/Mike Ladd (Jr)

PG: Reggie Moore (Jr)/ Davonte Lacy (Fr)

Gone: SG-Klay Thompson, C-DeAngelo Casto, PG-Dre' Winston Jr. (transfer-Portland State)

2011-12 Outlook:
The early departures of Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto have set the Washington State Cougars program back. Had those two returned for their senior seasons, Wazzu would have competed for the Pac-12 title this year. Instead, Ken Bone and company will battle to be a middle-of-the-pack team.

Despite losing Thompson to the NBA, Washington State will still have quality talent and depth on the wing. Point guard Reggie Moore returns to run the point and will look to improve after somewhat regressing during his sophomore season. Faisal Aden and Marcus Capers will complete the three guard starting lineup. Aden figures to step into Thompson's role as the go-to scorer while Capers is an athletic guard but has no semblance of an outside shot.

The addition of Fresno State transfer Mike Ladd will help replace Thompson's three-point shooting. Ladd connected on 38.1 percent of his triple tries as a starter his sophomore season and will be a valuable asset off the bench. Davonte Lacy and Dexter Kenrich-Drew will try to earn minutes as true freshmen. Wazzu also added to their future depth when Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge committed. Woolridge will have to sit out this season though per NCAA transfer rules.

The frontcourt is where the real questions lie. With Casto now playing professionally in Turkey, Bone will rely on an underwhelming group in the frontcourt. Of those options, 6-10 Brock Motum is the most skilled. He has an effective inside/outside game and really improved between his freshman and sophomore seasons. If Motum can continue to make strides with his game, he will make the task of replacing Casto a little easier.

Besides Motum, Abe Lodwick should see a good amount of minutes due to his scrappy play on both ends of the floor. After that, seldom-used Patrick Simon, Charlie Enquist and Steven Bjornstad will compete for minutes along with JUCO transfer D.J. Shelton and freshman Greg Sequele. There is not a lot of scoring ability within that collection of players, so the guards will have to carry the load while the bigs do the dirty work down low.

Player to Watch: Reggie Moore, PG
Part of the reason Moore's numbers took a dip from his freshman season to his sophomore campaign is because he had to take such a back seat to Thompson and transfer Faisal Aden on the offensive end. Both guys are shot-happy players who are not afraid to pull the trigger, which equated to less opportunity for Moore. With Thompson gone, Moore should see the ball in his hands more often and asked to be more of a scorer like he was during his freshman season.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/14 at Gonzaga
  • 11/24 vs. Oklahoma (76 Classic)
  • 11/25 vs. New Mexico/Santa Clara (76 Classic)
  • 11/27 vs. Villanova/UC-Riverside/Boston College/St. Louis (76 Classic)

    Predicted Pac-12 Finish: 10th

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