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Notebook: Criticism drives WSU’s Aden to improve

Faisal Aden’s big weekend against Stanford and Cal may have earned him a spot in Washington State’s starting lineup against Arizona tonight.

Then again, it may not have. Coach Ken Bone hasn’t decided yet. And he’s not so sure that it matters either way.

“(I) guess I just don’t put a ton of amount of time into who starts,” Bone said Tuesday. “Maybe I should, but it’s more who plays and who ends the game and I’ve tried to go with our best players.”

Aden came off the bench to score 33 points against Stanford and 24 points against California, efforts that earned him conference and national player of the week recognition.

And he did it by attacking the rim, sinking midrange jumpers, drawing fouls and making his free throws – not by settling for 3-pointers, a problem that has plagued the senior guard nearly his entire WSU career.

Still, he’s the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.1 points per game in 24.9 minutes.

He said the change last week was about wanting to prove he’s a well-rounded player. Aden said he’s heard criticism from fans about his production, and said he knew that he could prove people wrong as soon as he got healthy. A concussion sidelined him for three games this season.

“I know what I can do, and I know what I’m capable of and I’ve got to stop talking about it and just do it,” Aden said. “Just all the negativity, all that is motivation. That really motivated me and woke me up.”

So does he want to start?

“I’m just eager to play,” Aden said. “I know that once I get out there, I know I’m one of the best players on the floor, so I’m just eager to help my team win. I know I’m better than most guys, so it’s just a matter of, ‘Come on, coach, put me in the game now.’ ”

Eagles’ foul stat

The stats don’t lie: Eastern Washington is fouling a bunch.

The Eagles have 25 disqualifications this year – by far the most in the Big Sky Conference. Weber State is second with nine.

“We’re sending the other team to the foul line way too much,” said EWU coach Jim Hayford, who has lost starters Cliff Ederaine and Laron Griffin seven times each to disqualification; guard cliff Colimon has fouled out five times.

No one else in the conference has fouled out more than three times.

The result: EWU opponents have stepped to the line 615 times this season.

Christian Caple and Jim Allen contributed to this report.

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