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1 Wings must step up. Forward Brock Motum is gone and he took his 18.7 points per game with him. That’s nearly 30 percent of last season’s scoring that the Cougars will need to replace, and the burden of filling Motum’s sizable shoes will fall largely on WSU’s wing players. Royce Woolridge and DaVonte Lacey averaged 11.0 and 10.5 points per game last season, respectively, and will need get those numbers up a tick. A dark horse to score more points is 6-foot-7 junior guard Dexter Kernich-Drew. The Australian is a capable shooter and a gifted athlete. If he can put those skills together he could assume some of his departed countryman’s scoring load. 2 Improve rebounding. The Cougars finished dead last in rebounding a season ago and Motum was their leading rebounder. If WSU is to find success this season the team will need to do a much better job of corralling missed shots. The backcourt has size and can contribute to the effort, and sophomore Junior Longrus was active on the boards in WSU’s exhibition game against Central Washington, collecting 10 in 22 minutes.
Conference: Pac-12 Colors: Crimson, gray
Conference: Pac-12 Colors: Purple, gold
C.J. Wilcox arrived a few minutes early for a Monday morning photo shoot inside a near empty Alaska Airlines Arena. Having earned a sociology degree at Washington, the fifth-year senior is required to take a few graduate classes to retain his NCAA eligibility.
1 Wilcox and who else? Where will Washington get its scoring aside from Wilcox? He averaged 16.8 points last season and played most of the year with an injured foot. Even with Wilcox ailing, the Huskies still had enough scoring options to stay competitive. Wilcox is healthy, but who will help score is unknown. Guard Andrew Andrews is the top returning scorer other than Wilcox at 7.8 points per game. Perris Blackwell averaged 12.7 points during his last season at San Francisco and Nigel Williams- Goss averaged 18 points as a high school senior. 2 Relying on Perris. There are a lot of expectations being placed on Blackwell for the one season Washington will have him on the floor. Blackwell was a serviceable scorer at San Francisco, averaging double figures his final two seasons for the Dons. Romar believes Blackwell can be the consistent interior answer the Huskies were missing last season. Blackwell spent all last season learning Washington’s system in the hope he is fluent when he hits the floor.
PULLMAN – A day after Washington State’s 64-62 loss to Washington in the first round of last season’s Pac-12 tournament, D.J. Shelton was in the weight room. It was the first step in a transformative offseason that has seen the forward add more than 25 pounds to his frame. “I changed my body a lot. I was 230 pounds last year, now I’m like 256,” Shelton said.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev. School)11Anderson, Mike G 6-4 195Jr. Hartford, Conn. (Moberly Area CC)12Andrews, Andrew G 6-2 195So. Portland (Benson Tech)2Blackwell, Perris F 6-9 275Sr. Etiwanda, Calif. (San Francisco)34Dierickx, Gilles C 7-0 235So. Ghent, Belgium (Florida International)33Jarreau, Jernard F 6-10 220So. New Orleans, La. (McDonogh)1Johnson, Darin G 6-5 200Fr. Sacramento, Calif. (Sheldon)40Kemp, Jr., Shawn F 6-9 250Jr. Canton, Ga. (Hargraves Military)30Simmons, Desmond F 6-7 225Jr. Vallejo, Calif. (Salesian)10Smith, Connor F 6-9 200Sr. Wenatchee (Wenatchee)22Sterling, Quinn G 6-5 195Jr. Mercer Island, Wash. (Mercer Island)4Stewart, Hikeem G 6-2 185Jr. Seattle (Rainier Beach)21Taylor, Jahmel G 6-0 175Fr. Los Angeles (Pacific Hills)24Upshaw, Robert C 6-11 255So. Fresno, Calif. (Fresno State)23Wilcox, C.J. G 6-5 195Sr. Pleasant Grove, Utah (Pleasant Grove)5Williams-Goss, Nigel G 6-3 185Fr. Happy Valley, Ore. (Findlay Prep)
No.NamePo.Ht.Wt.Yr.Hometown (Prev. school)0 Gerard Coleman G 6-4 180 Jr. Boston (Providence College)2 Angel Nunez F 6-8 200 So. Washington Heights, NY (Louisville)3 Kyle Dranginis G 6-5 200 So. Nampa, Idaho (Skyview)4 Kevin Pangos G 6-2 182 Jr. Newmarket, Ontario (Denison)5 Gary Bell, Jr. G 6-1 220 Jr. Kent, Wash. (Kentridge)11 David Stockton G 5-11 165 Sr. Spokane, (Gonzaga Prep)14 Connor Griffin F 6-4 205 Fr. Portland (Lake Oswego)15 Rem Bakamus G 6-0 150 So. Longview, Wash. (Mark Morris)21 Luke Meikle F 6-8 200 Fr. Tacoma (Bellarmine Prep)22 Brian Bhaskar G 6-2 185 Sr. Monterey, Calif. (Stevenson)23 Leo Roese G 6-1 184 Fr. Sao Paulo, Brazil (Timpview)24 Przemek Karnowski C 7-1 305 So. Torun, Poland (Nicolaus Copernicus )25 Ryan Edwards C 7-1 300 Fr. Kalispell, Mont. (Glacier)33 Kyle Wiltjer F 6-10 239 Jr. Portland (Kentucky)35 Sam Dower C 6-9 255 Sr. Minneapolis (Osseo)40 Dustin Triano G 6-3 173 Fr. Vancouver, B.C. (New Hampton)43 Drew Barham G 6-6 185 Sr. Memphis, Tenn. ( Memphis)
Whenever a teammate would gripe about having Kwinn Hanson’s mother as a basketball coach, the proud son had an instant response. “I would say, ‘My mom can probably beat you,’.” Hanson said.
1 Sustain intensity. Verlin has seen his young team play at a high level at practice and scrimmages, but only for brief stretches. Part of the issue, he said, is fighting through fatigue. “That’s part of youth,” the sixth-year coach said. It’s also to be expected with so many new faces. Still, maintaining intensity throughout the season is Verlin’s top key for the season – and it’s perhaps his top concern, too. 2 Rebounding. The WAC’s top rebounder last year, Kyle Barone, is no longer at Idaho. In his place is a group of unproven post players. The Vandals have talented guards, but will they be able to rebound against bigger teams? Verlin sees promise in Paulin Mpawe, a 6-foot-10 junior-college transfer, and wing Stephen Madison, who averaged 4.8 rebounds per game last season.