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PALO ALTO, Calif. — There were a bunch of bullies in Maples Pavilion on Friday afternoon and the Stanford players didn't know how to deal with them.
Nothing heralds the start of Pac-12 basketball season like the first weekly Pac-12 coaches teleconference.
Below the jump I've transcribed Washington State coach Ernie Kent's remarks, as well as the relevant comments from the coaches of WSU's first two opponents, California coach Cuonzo Martin and Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins.
It wasn’t always pretty, but Sunday's 90-83 win over UC Davis was just what Washington State needed.
You can read our story from that game here and we'll take a closer look at yesterday's game after the jump.
Yesterday, the Cougars trounced San Jose State, 82-53.
Our story from the game can be read here.
Our follow-up post is after the jump.
A GRIP ON SPORTS
I don't know about you, but today seems a little brighter to me. There seems to be a bit more sunshine. And it JUST seems as if it will be lighter, longer. Do the Seahawks really have that much power, or is it just a quirk of the calendar? Read on.
Since arriving at WSU, Ernie Kent has said that the greatest barrier between the Cougars and success is a lack of confidence.
None of the players, who probably won a great deal in high school, have won much in their collegiate careers and Kent thinks that reminding them what it's like to dominate on the court will put them in a mindset to once again be successful.
But is confidence possible to coach? Kent says yes.
"A lot of what we do in our basketball program is to wrap our arms around these young men and give them the opportunity that we're in this together and have them grow internally," Kent said during today's WSU press conference.
"A lot of them need to grow internally because of what they've been through in their lives, but at the end of the day the fact that they're on a Division I campus, for some of them and what they've gone through in their personal lives, are already a success," he added. "And need to empty their backpacks of lack of confidence and guilt, fear, shame, whatever, and let's move forward. So, we spend a lot of time talking about that every day, to get them where they need to be mentally before we even get to the floor to practice or play a game."
The Cougars sure looked more confident in a 91-71 pasting of Texas-San Antonio last week but will obviously face a much bigger challenge against No. 9 Gonzaga tomorrow.
Kent spoke about WSU's upcoming game and much more today. We've got video and a transcription, after the jump.
Washington State's 91-71 win over Texas San-Antonio on Saturday was insightful, but not indicative.
The Cougars are likely to win every game in which they shoot 60 percent on 3-point attempts and they are unlikely to come close to that success rate very often, so there's not a whole lot to be gleaned from yesterday's shooting performance other than that DaVonte Lacy appears to have found his shot and the team is shooting with more confidence.
But there is still a lot to dissect from yesterday's game and we'll do just that, and pass along the game book, after the jump.
Washington State dominated Texas-San Antonio despite some struggles with turnovers. You can overcome a lot when you shoot like the Cougars did on Saturday.
My game story is after the jump.
A transcription of Kent's remarks is after the jump.
With less than a minute on the clock, most fans were hoping for one more 3-pointer to break the Washington State single-game record. Jordan Railey looked for a shooter, but sized up the defense and decided to take it himself.
Today Washington State men's basketball coach Ernie Kent answered questions from the media, including a few about his decision to suspend Aaron Cheatum, Ny Redding and Que Johnson for the first half of WSU's 71-43 loss to UC Santa Barbara in the opening round of the Great Alaskan Shootout.
The players were late to a team meeting and Kent took the opportunity for a teaching moment, while acknowledging that the episode probably put the Cougars "out of whack" in that game.
Cheatum is a junior, Redding is a freshman while Johnson is a sophomore.
"The fact that they held up 22 other people, when you talk about players, managers, sports information director people that are in our team meeting and not come on time: No. 1 it's disrespectful, No. 2 you've got to understand the importance of this and what we're trying to get done out here," Kent said. "The message was sent, it was received and probably cost us a game one way or another and if we learn something from it, that's OK."
Johnson only played four minutes in WSU's next game, a 76-74 victory over Rice but that does not appear to have been influenced by the previous game's suspension as Redding started and played 30 minutes.
The entire transcript of Kent's press conference is after the jump.
Washington State beat Rice, 76-74, behind 27 points from sophomore forward Josh Hawkinson.
The Cougars will play at 2 p.m. on Saturday against Missouri State in the 4th play/6th place game of the Great Alaskan Shootout. After WSU (2-3) couldn't get anything fall in a 71-43 loss to UC Santa Barbara on Thursday, the Cougars' shooting numbers against the Owls were their best of the season.
We have box scores and notes from the game after the jump.
Washington State didn't get on the scoreboard until TCU had scored 14 points and it never got better for the Cougars.
The game was a debacle and a strong indicator that the Cougars are in for another long season. Losing to a solid UTEP team in the opener was one thing, losing to a TCU squad that went 0-18 in conference play last season is another thing entirely.
The Cougars return home from their Texas swing 0-2 with a game against an Idaho State team that ranks somewhere near No. 300 nationally on Friday.
Final thoughts and the game book are after the jump.
Washington State's basketball game at TCU tonight just got a little easier for fans in the Northwest to watch because ROOT Sports just picked up the 5 p.m. broadcast. Previously the game was only scheduled to be televised on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.
Ernie Kent and the Cougars (0-1) will try to pick up their first win tonight as they take on former Stanford coach Trent Johnson and the Horned Frogs. Last season TCU beat the Cougars 64-62 in Pullman.
Tonight I covered Washington State's NCAA Division One Soccer Championship game against Seattle University, so I didn't catch the men's basketball team's game against Utep. Because of that, my usual post game blog post will be brief. But I've still got a couple notes.
The box score is below, final thoughts are after the jump.
Today the basketball fall signing period began and new WSU coach Ernie Kent's recruiting class got its faxes in quickly.
All four expected signees sent in their National Letters of Intent by noon, giving the Cougars a class full of lanky, versatile players. Three players are 6-foot-7 or taller and only one of them is a traditional post. Two of WSU's signees were recruited out of junior colleges, while another will likely delay his enrollment by a year to attend prep school.
"The particular style of basketball that we play requires a certain skill level, and what I mean by "skill," the ability to pass, dribble and shoot the basketball at a fast pace, in a fast-paced system and we feel like the four young men that committed to us, all of them fit our style of play," Kent said during an afternoon press conference.
"They all can score the basketball, they all have a really high basketball IQ on the play, particularly in quick-thinking situations where they have to make split decisions in transition or in the half court. So their skill set is very good and we're very comfortable with the group we picked up."
Follow the jump to see what Kent had to say about each individual recruit, as well as a Signing Day Q&A with the Cougars coach.
USC: The Trojans have six new players this season, including highly-touted freshman point guard Jordan McLaughlin. Head coach Andy Enfield expects McLaughlin, ranked No. 4 nationally among point guard recruits by ESPN, to contribute immediately.
"Jordan is a terrific student-athlete," Enfield said. "He's a student of the game. He understands where his teammates need to be. He lead's by example, he's a very hard worker, he has an amazing attitude … We're expecting big things from him. I think he came to USC for that opportunity, to be relied upon as a freshman. He'll have that opportunity as a freshman.
WSU: DaVonte Lacy is known for feeling a kinship with the jungle's king. He has a huge lion tattoo on his left arm that reads "Soul of a Lion" and his philosophy on social media is that a "lion does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep."
It sounds like new Cougars coach Ernie Kent may have found his spirit animal as well.
"Having been out of (coaching) for four years, the definition I use, I feel like I've been a big bear in hibernation and now you get a chance to come out and eat!" Kent said.
We have more Pac-12 media day highlights after the jump.
Video courtesy of the Pac-12.
Here is a transcript of Washington State basketball coach Ernie Kent and senior guard DaVonte Lacy's remarks to the media at Pac-12 media day:
The Pac-12 men's basketball media poll was released today and, as expected, for the fourth consecutive season Arizona was picked to finish first, followed by Utah, Colorado and UCLA. Washington State was picked to finish No. 11 and Oregon State is projected to finish in last place by a wide margin.
The poll is after the jump.
The Pac-12 is having its annual media day get together of men's basketball coaches, players and media today and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. you can watch the action live on the Pac-12 Networks or right here.
At some point in the next few hours we'll also get the official results from the preseason Pac-12 media poll. This will consists of Arizona followed by the other 11 teams in one order or another.
For the record, here is how I voted: 1. Arizona 2. Utah 3. Colorado 4. UCLA 5. Stanford 6. Cal 7. Washington 8. Washington State 9. Arizona State 10. USC 11. Oregon State 12. Oregon
The schedule of player and coach appearances we'll be working off of today is after the jump.
It's been a long grind and I been at the game for so long but it's just the beginning just wanna thank all the people who have been supporting me my whole life and special my parents and my siblings love all you and I'm proud to be committed to Washington state university!!! #holdthat #pac12 #family 🙌🙌🙌
Shooting guard Rendard Suggs out of Gillette College in Wyoming, broke the news on Instagram that he intends to play basketball for Ernie Kent at Washington State in 2015. If his commitment holds Suggs will be the fourth known member of WSU's 2015 class, joining high school seniors Jeff Pollard and Robert Franks, as well as fellow junior college player Derrien King.
Suggs is the first backcourt player in WSU's 2015 recruiting class.
The guard is a sophomore this season so he will have two eligible seasons at WSU with a redshirt season available. He averaged 14.2 points per game last season while shooting 43 percent from the field.
The 6-foot-2 Suggs is originally from Woodbury, Minnesota.
Here are some highlights from his high school days.