Washington State Week: Players Not ReturningPosted by Connor Pelton on July 31st, 2012
Seven players earned significant playing time for the Cougars in 2011-12, and three of those will be gone next season. Of those three, each has used up his eligibility and at least one will get an opportunity to play professionally somewhere or another. Gone is Washington State’s second-leading scorer and top shot-blocker along with a big man who could be very effective on the boards at times. With only one incoming recruit who is likely to make an immediate impact, head coach Ken Bone will have a tough time early on replacing the shooting ability and athletic presence provided by those three players. Below we’ll take a look at who will be missed the most and who can step in to make the transition easier.
Marcus Capers – Capers was a fan favorite on the Palouse. While he wasn’t the most prolific of scorers, he was one of the top shooters from the field. However, his main contribution to the team’s success came on defense. Capers was by far the most athletic player on the roster, and he proved it by leading the squad in blocks and coming in second in rebounding last season. Some of Capers’ biggest games as a Cougar came at the end of his career as the combo guard averaged 5.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG in Washington State’s six CBI contests.
Abe Lodwick – After sitting out the first 10 games of last season due to a foot injury, it took Lodwick another three weeks to get completely comfortable inside the Wazzu offense. But once he did, the Cougars had three Dirk Nowitzki-type players who could hit from anywhere on the floor and give opponents fits all night long. His scoring average, a respectable 7.1 PPG, could have easily been in double figures on another team. With the Cougs, though, Lodwick was the third man to receive touches, behind Brock Motum and Reggie Moore. Lodwick showed the nation (or the 10s of people tuning in on HDNet) just how high his ceiling is in Washington State’s 72-55 victory over Oregon State on March 21. After Motum went down with a right ankle sprain just two minutes into the game, the Bend native poured in 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and, just for fun, topped it off with a pair of steals.
Faisal Aden – After starring for two seasons at Hillsborough Community College, Aden finished the final two years of his college career in Pullman, averaging almost identical stats in both his junior and senior years. The 2012-13 campaign was his best from a scoring standpoint, averaging 14.5 PPG. Although he sometimes frustrated coaches and fans by shooting the ball every time he touched it, it’s tough to blame him. He scored in double figures in 13 out of the 17 games he played last season (he missed 20 other games due to a concussion and ACL tear), and while some will say that’s not hard to do that when you’re shooting the ball 11 times per game, production is production. With Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge filling in for Capers, and Mike Ladd expected to do the same with Lodwick’s role, incoming freshman Demarquise Johnnson and Dexter Kernich-Drew will battle to take Aden’s minutes, with the former holding a slight edge heading into October.