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Young, bold and ambitious, DJ Rodman wasn’t afraid to make an introduction the first time he spotted Kobe Bryant milling the sideline of his sister’s youth soccer game in Southern California.
Elleby and Bonton may have been the headliners, and they may be in most Pac-12 Conference games WSU manages to pull out this season, but the Cougars were also dependent on a few young supporting actors who this time last year were getting ready to put a bow on their respective high school careers.
With Thursday’s 72-61 upset win over No. 8 Oregon, Washington State avoided 20 consecutive losses to teams ranked in the top 10 in the Associated Press rankings, and the Cougars won their first top-10 game since 2007, when they knocked off Arizona under Tony Bennett.
At this point of the college basketball season, teams should be refining what they’re doing rather than reevaluating it. Washington State would much rather be doing the former under first-year coach Kyle Smith, but a spate of injuries – rather,
Through much of Thursday night’s game against the Cougars, the Golden Bears, who’d opened the year with a 6-8 record and a 16-point loss to Stanford, looked to be the more polished team. The hosts were certainly more consistent when it mattered, closing out WSU 73-66 in front of 3,953 fans in Berkeley.
The Cougars’ coach was critical of the officials’ decision not to blow a whistle when WSU’s Noah Williams was tied up with USC’s Nick Rakocevic. Neither player was willing to let go of the basketball, though the 6-foot-11, 225-pound Rakocevic drove the 6-5, 192-pound Williams back toward the stanchion before the play was eventually broken up.
So far, Kyle Smith has made good on one of the only promises he delivered last spring upon formally accepting the job at WSU: teaching the Cougars how to play defense.
A former walk-on who transferred to WSU from Montana after spending two seasons at Seattle Pacific, Tony Miller has scored in double figures in both of the Cougars’ Pac-12 games – notching his first double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 65-56 loss to USC and 11 points and six rebounds in a 79-71 overtime win over UCLA.
There’s a correlation between the three-game win streak Washington State carries into its next home test against Florida A&M, and the clean bill of health that’s finally been afforded to the Cougars’ backcourt.
The Colorado State graduate transfer posted on his Twitter account Wednesday morning that he’s been diagnosed with a heart condition called myocarditis and will “miss 3-6 months of basketball.” Even if James recovers in three months, it may not enough to return for the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, which begins on March 11.
WSU’s 2018-19 basketball season was the lowest-attended in 17 years. While Kyle Smith doesn’t have much of a sample size in 2019-20 after just two home games, against lowly Seattle U and Idaho State, he can already make one assertion about the gym he’ll be coaching in 14 more times this season.
The Cougars won 72-61, but Shead, who’s started all three games at point guard, didn’t return to the floor and couldn’t put any pressure on his right leg as trainers helped him off the court.
Playing actual basketball at both ends. Guarding and everything. With a ... what do they call those again? Oh, right. A plan.
CJ Elleby scored a career-high 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting to lead Washington State to a season-opening 85-54 victory over Seattle at Beasley Coliseum on Thursday.
The first 60 minutes of Washington State basketball practices may not be particularly compelling – either for those partaking or those dropping by to get a glimpse – but they’re a fundamental part of what first-year coach Kyle Smith is trying to build in Pullman.
The first year of the Kyle Smith era at Washington State won’t be as telling as the second or third, but a program that averaged 11 wins per season under Ernie Kent and never won more than 13 should expect to be more competitive, and more capable on defense, than it has in the past.
Kyle Smith opened the week without a single commitment in the 2020 recruiting class, but the first-year Washington State coach will close it with at least two.
Efe Abodigi, a high-flying, rim-rocking big man from Australia who took the internet by storm two years ago, committed to Kyle Smith and the Cougars Tuesday afternoon, becoming the coach’s first pledge in the class of 2020.
If Washington State’s basketball program is going to take a step forward in year one under Kyle Smith, the Cougars will likely need another standout season from one of their youngest players.
Months ago, Washington State announced Klay Thompson would be the second player in program history to have his jersey retired by the school. Now, there’s a date set for when the Cougars will immortalize one of the best players to wear WSU’s crimson and gray.