FROM PULLMAN — Our senior spotlight series continues with a look at the careers of close friends and roommates Abe Lodwick and Charlie Enquist.
NBA free agency doesn't produce as many roster changes as Abe Lodwick and Charlie Enquist have witnessed in five years at Washington State.
So perhaps the most impressive feat accomplished by the two friends is that, simply, they made it.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be able to say I’ve been there for five years all at one school, and I know Charlie probably feels the same way too,” said Lodwick, a native of Bend, Ore. “It’s a cool thing to be able to say.”
Both will play their final home game on Saturday, barring a postseason tournament game being played in Pullman.
Lodwick says he didn't believe Taylor Rochestie when he told him early in his career that it would go by quickly. The WSU forward says indeed that it has.
“I feel like I’ve been here for a long time,” he says. “I don’t even really remember when I was in the dorms a long time ago.”
Both players redshirted together in 2007-08, serving as practice players for a team that eventually advanced to the Sweet 16. Enquist was a walk-on back then, but earned a scholarship after the 2009 season. He's become more and more a part of WSU's rotation, averaging 14.9 minutes and 4.1 points per game this season, making 18 starts along the way.
Lodwick battled through a foot fracture early this season and has started the team's last eight games, and 61 total in his WSU career. He's 6-foot-7 but has earned his minutes as a shooter, stretching defenses with a soft touch that has allowed him to lead the team with a 46 percent clip from 3-point range.
Neither Lodwick nor Enquist say they were too terribly bothered by Tony Bennett's departure after their redshirt freshman season. Enquist said he wasn't all that close with Bennett, and both players had previous relationships with Ken Bone because he had recruited them while at Portland State.
Lodwick said the coaching transition was good for him.
“It was definitely a really formative time for me in my career,” he said. “It kind of helped set me up for what kind of player I was going to be like from there on out. I think that’s definitely been one of the things that has shaped my career as a player for sure.”
Both players have set themselves up well for their post-college lives. Lodwick says he'll pursue opportunities to continue playing basketball overseas, though he might choose to put his communication and politcal science degrees to use. Maybe go to law school eventually.
Enquist, who has a degree in engineering, wants to go to medical school. He's interested in pediatrics and oncology, though he wouldn't mind being a surgeon, either.
He's tried to lead in any way he can, often times providing another voice to the team's younger big men alongside assistant coach Ben Johnson.
“I wish I could help out the team a little bit more on the court, but we have some good guys in the program and I feel like I’ve been a mentor for a lot of the bigger guys that come through,” Enquist said. “They have the talent and the skill set to go play wherever they want. I just try to help coach them and be a coach that they don’t really notice. Coach Johnson’s kind of the big man coach and they know that he’s coach, and I feel like they look at me as kind of a leader that has the experience and the leadership to help them in a way, even though they don’t really notice it.”
Lodwick and Enquist still talk about the first time Enquist played in a game, against Idaho State as a redshirt freshman. The Cougars were up by about 25 points when Enquist was subbed in. WSU drew up a play for him to get it in the post.
He turned, threw up a wild jumper while being fouled, and banked it off the backboard straight through the hoop before turning and flexing his muscles toward WSU's bench.
Then, of course, there was the time that Enquist, Aron Baynes, Caleb Forrest and Rochestie tore the hood off an old car, flipped it over and took turns riding on it as a 4-runner dragged them through the snow in the dead of winter in a field somewhere near Albion.
“I've never been so cold in my life,” said Enquist, an Edmonds native.
Lodwick is glad they can go out together.
“I know Charlie and I, we were never All-Americans coming out of high school,” Lodwick said. “We’ve had our ups and downs. There’s definitely been some really humbling moments in our careers for both of us, but there’s also been some great moments in our career where we’ve seen a lot of our hard work pay off. Charlie’s been real faithful to the program, doing the right things on and off the court. He got rewarded for it some this year so I think it’s good to be able to say that we’ve been here the whole time together and it’l be fun to go out together, too.”