As we continue our surveying of Pac-12 basketball teams, we have already taken a look at Utah basketball (who will learn to play basketball) and Arizona State (who should have enough bodies to play basketball).
Transition years are ahead for the next couple of squads, as they lose too many of their main contributors to actually contend for a conference crown. They should have plenty of pop and enough strength to compete with the top of the Pac, but closing the deal could be a problem.
Today, we look at the WSU Cougars.
Departing: Primary shot-taker Faisal Aden, primary wing defender Marcus Capers, sharpshooter Abe Lodwick, Backup big man Charlie Enquist.
Arriving: Combo guard Royce Woolridge (Kansas transfer), plus top 150 guard Demarquise Johnson and big men Richard Longrus, Brett Boese, Richard Peters. There are academic question marks with Peters and Johnson though.
Good to see Brock Motum coming back, but Washington State is losing pretty much all of their wing talent, leaving only Mike Ladd and Dexter Kernich-Drew to house things outside. Reggie Moore is a solid distributor and gets the Cougars free throws, but his inability to shoot the basketball effectively hurts the Cougar offense. Motum and D.J. Shelton should give the Cougars some inside presence that can help score some big wins, but neither of these guys can be considered lockdown defenders.
Any success WSU hopes to have next year depends on what Woolridge brings to the table and whether Johnson makes it to Pullman. A starting lineup of Moore-Woolridge-Johnson-Motum-Shelton with Lacy, Ladd and Kernich-Drew and Patrick Simon would have plenty of offensive mettle that could contend with anyone.
A starting lineup of Moore-Lacy-Ladd-Motum-Shelton with Kernich-Drew and Simon...not so much. To be continued.
awbutler: Reggie Moore was legitimately neck and neck with Derrick Williams for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year two seasons ago. Now I think it may be safe to say the tough-ish point guard just isn't going to be that good. He's no bad, but it's safe to say he's not going to help Ken Bone jump levels. Alas, a little post season success never hurt anyone and the Cougs could leverage their run into the CBI finals into some 2012-13 momentum.