With the lost to last-place Arizona State Saturday, the WSU’s men’s basketball team slipped to 7-8-conference record and 6th place in the conference. The Cougs once promising season is now looking rather bleak. With NCAA tournament chances out the door unless the Cougs run-the table at the Pac -10 Tournament, this season looks to be more like last years- a season of ups & downs ending in frustration.
It wasn’t suppose to be like this, the team maturity, the additional talent, the coaching experience, all were suppose to make this a season of glory for the Cougs. Players and fans alike were thinking this would be the year for a return to the NCAA tournament, the first, since the Bennett years in Pullman.
What’s gone right for the Cougs? Klay Thompson has been absolutely spectacular this year. He has added to his game by being able to drive to the paint & score while drawing 2 or 3 of the leagues best defenders. Of course, his sweet touch 3-point shooting ability is still there most of the time but unlike last season his mental game has improved to the point where he can carry the team at times when they need it most.
DeAngelo Casto has also significantly improved his game (14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game) turning into a “beast” below the basket. Casto had another great game with a double double against AZ State. The additional of new Cougs Faisal Aden & Brock Motum has improved the team by giving a real 3 or 4 man scoring option as well.
So where has it gone wrong the Cougs? Coaching, game situation play, free throw shooting, and poor defense! Oh how, we miss the Tony Bennett teams of consistent day-in and day-out defense with the ability to shut a team down. Remember how you loved to see the Cougs shooting free throws with Derrick Lowe or Taylor Rochestie on the line? And, oh the Bennett coaching, the game preparation, and the situation play. And, yes I would take the less natural talented Tony Bennett team to the current teams undisciplined and under coached high flyers. Those were underdog Cougs, the kind we fellow Cougs like the most. But don’t get me wrong; we love our current team too. I mean who doesn’t like to see Clay stroke the 3, or Casto pivot and jam 2 down low? Or how about Reggie Moore when he’s at his best driving and dishing the lane? Throw in high-flying superman Marcus Capers and this team is just plain fun to watch. In fact, this is arguably one of the most talented Cougar teams we have had in Pullman, now if we can just get the coaching talent to go with it. University of Virginia (UVA) are you done with Tony yet?