Thompson gone from WSU, but 3 starters return
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP)
But the Cougars do have three starters and several other key players back from last year's NIT semifinal team.
''We lost a lot in Klay and DeAngelo,'' coach Ken Bone said. ''Those two did a great job for a few years and we have to regroup with what we have.''
The key will be playing team-oriented basketball, he said.
''This is a team that understands maybe we don't have a superstar, but we can be good as a group of guys accepting our role and working together,'' Bone said. ''Butler made it to the Final Four with that attitude.''
Thompson, a first-round draft pick by Golden State after his junior year, averaged 21.6 points per game last year. Casto, who also left a year early, averaged 12 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Washington State finished 22-13 last season, 9-9 in the Pac-10. Among the highlights was beating Gonzaga in Pullman, winning both regular season games against rival Washington, and beating Long Beach State, Oklahoma State and Northwestern in the first three rounds of the NIT before losing to Wichita State.
The Cougars will get an immediate idea of how good they are when they open the season Nov. 14 at Gonzaga. Other non-conference games include Oklahoma, New Mexico and Santa Clara.
The Cougars will need improved production from their returning starters. Moore averaged 9 points and 3.4 assists during an injury plagued-season, but says his wrist is healed.
''He's playing more fearless, like he did his freshman year,'' Bone said.
Capers produced 5.8 points and 4.4 rebounds. Lodwick averaged 3.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Aden, who started fast last season before fading, is the top returning scorer at 12.7 points. Motum averaged 7.6 points and 3 rebounds per game.
''We don't have anybody who could create shots, get them off and elevate the way Klay did,'' Bone said.
But Aden worked in the offseason on getting his shot off faster, which was a problem last year, Bone said.
One player who should help with scoring is guard Mike Ladd, a transfer from Fresno State who has already been designated a team captain for this season. Ladd averaged more than 10 points and led Fresno State in 3-point shooting his sophomore year. The Seattle native sat out last season per transfer rules
''He's a good, solid guard,'' Bone said, adding he would be satisfied with the same production that Ladd had at Fresno State.
Newcomers include freshmen Dominic Ballard, Chuks Iroegbu and DaVonte Lacy, plus transfer D.J. Shelton, at 6-foot-10 the lone big man among the new players.
''I think DaVonte will find a way to contribute this year as a freshman,'' Bone said. ''I really feel he can help us because he has good strength and plays with a lot of confidence.''