Washington State athletic director Bill Moos has decided to lift DeAngelo Casto's suspension and the junior will be allowed to play tonight against Northwestern. Read on.
• We have a short story with the facts of the matter here, but we also have some thoughts. ... Moos does not elaborate on what he called "new information that has been brought to my attention" in the media release announcing the Casto decision, but we can speculate it revolves around the circumstances of the incident and the ensuing 36-plus hours since. I want to point out Moos also said, "he will be available to participate in tonight’s NIT Quarterfinal game," which is less than saying "he will start" or "he will play." That, of course, would be invading Ken Bone's territory. There is a lot of moving parts here but we want to examine just one aspect, appropriate for a sports blog. How will all this affect tonight's game? ... Let's put ourselves in Bone's shoes for a second. The WSU coach probably learns of this with an early Tuesday morning phone call – and by early I mean probably right after it happens. There are all the non-basketball items to deal with, meetings, calls, etc., but the crucial aspect of Tuesday is getting ready to play Northwestern, a team that is tough to prepare for in the best of circumstances. (The Wildcats execute their Princeton-style offense exceptionally well and have players that are tough to guard in it.) After spending whatever time you have preparing a game plan, Bone and his staff now have to switch gears and prepare a plan that doesn't include your shot blocker in the middle. And if you don't think that's a radical change, well it is. The offense changes as well without your one true post scorer. So now you've put that together. It's hurried, rushed, but it's what you've got. Now you have one practice to teach it. That's not a lot of time. But you get it done. And then, less than 24 hours later, you find out Casto will play. You might even find out – I don't know if this is the case or not – after you've done your day-of-game walk-through. Your team is as ready as it could be, considering the circumstances, and then ... and then you find out Casto is available. There are things Casto does well, we don't have to go over them again here, you all know them. There are things he doesn't do all that well, and again, we don't have to go over them again here, you all know them. But let's look at one. If Brock Motum is playing center, the WSU offense has five perimeter players on the floor. Motum can shoot effectively to 15 feet and even beyond on certain nights. Casto doesn't have that range, just as Motum can't overpower a guy at the block. It's an interesting change. We'll see how it plays out. ... One more thing. Casto was suspended yesterday for a violation of team rules, according to the school's release. The suspension was announced before Casto received his citation, but after the events of the early morning. The violation has to have something to do with the marijuana in the apartment, something that is mentioned even in the pleading Casto's attorney filed with the court. If that's the violation, then it seems there would have still been a basis for a one-game suspension.
• That's it for now. We'll be back before the game. Until then ...