Washington State Week: Q&A With CougCenter

Posted by Connor Pelton on August 5th, 2012

As part of our Washington State week, we wanted to reach out to the guys at CougCenter for their takes on the upcoming Cougar basketball season. Kyle Sherwood was kind enough to spend some time with us and give us his thoughts.

Rush The Court: How do the Cougars plan on replacing players like Marcus Capers, Abe Lodwick, and Faisal Aden?

CougCenter: Easier than you’d think. Capers, Lodwick and Aden were all high-character guys and great team leaders, but for the most part they were all one-dimensional  players. Those players meant a lot to WSU, but I think this current roster is the first one that really fits into how Ken Bone wants to play. The 2012-13 team is loaded with athletic wings who can create space and hit shots from long-range, so we’re going to replace those guys by running…and running…and running..?

Look For The Fast Cougars To Have Many Transition Opportunities That End With Dunks (credit: Stephen Dunn)

RTC: CBI time! Washington State played four games in three different tough road environments (well, as tough as CBI crowds can get), and ended the tournament with a 4-2 record and runner-up finish. Overall, was this a good experience for the team?

CC: Well, Capers and Lodwick meant so much to the program that it was worth playing as long as they wanted to keep going. The team had really turned a corner around the beginning of February, but it wasn’t showing up in the win column. When they started advancing in the CBI, it wasn’t just that they were winning, it was how dominating they looked. It was nice for the players to see the work they had put in to turn their season around pay off with such lopsided scores. I think we all would’ve liked a tournament win (because you know WSU would hang a flippin’ CBI banner), but the team got what it needed from its success in the first four games.

RTC: Brock Motum. Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2012-13?

CC: Probably not. He’s who I would pick to win the scoring title, but I can’t see the media giving the POY to anyone other than Allen Crabbe, or one of UCLA’s all-stars. Arizona has a couple of freshmen who look like one-and-done players, too. For Motum, it’ll take a top-four finish in the conference, which will probably have more to do with Motum’s supporting cast than anything else.

RTC: Which newcomer do you think will have the biggest impact this season?

CC: Royce Woolridge; no question. Coach Ken Bone and the players have said multiple times that Woolridge was the best player on the floor in practice last season (Woolridge transferred from Kansas and had to sit the year out). Bone’s offense works best when he has athletic wings who can shoot from distance, and Royce is exactly that. He’s going to have a few 20-point nights against schools that key in on Motum.

RTC: Name a sleeper player if he isn’t different from the guy before?

CC: D.J .Shelton really started figuring out his role towards the end of last season, and I fully expect him to evolve into the athletic shot-blocker that WSU needs. The Cougs are going to be undersized (but very fast) this year, so Shelton evolving into a complement to Motum in the front court and still getting up and down the floor will be critical for the Cougs to have success in the Pac-12 this year.

Connor Pelton (300 Posts)

I'm from Portland. College basketball and football is life.

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