The Washington State University Men’s Basketball team is having a decent first year under new head coach Ernie Kent. The Cougars are 10-13 (4-7) with seven games remaining, including two games against Top 15 teams.
WSU relies on two main players, senior stud DaVonte Lacy and sophomore breakout Josh Hawkinson. Lacy leads the team in scoring per game, 16.9 points, and tied for the lead in steals per game, 0.7 steals. Hawkinson averages a double-double with 15.1 points per game and 10.8 rebounds per game.
Behind Lacy’s shooting and Hawkinson’s breakout year, the Cougars are trying to follow coach Kent’s idea of The Process. When Kent was hired, he said the Cougars resurgence and rise to prominence would not happen over night, that it would be a process.
Kent asked the fans to embrace the process and join in bringing Beasley back into the toughest places to play in the Pac-12 conference. Kent had success at the University of Oregon where he won 235 games in 13 seasons. He took UO to two Elite Eights in the NCAA Tournament and is UO’s all time wins leader in the University’s history.
|Ernie Kent and Davonte Lacy laugh after WSU's win |
against Stanford on Jan. 31st. (Photo Courtesy of: krem.com)
Lacy is serving the role all Cougar fans believed he could be, leading scorer and face of the team. Hawkinson is surprising those same fans averaging his double-double after he only played in six-plus minutes a game last year.
The Cougars need to have more help from their other players including Que Johnson, who stepped up during Lacy’s injury last season by averaging over 14 points a game in Lacy’s absence. This year, Johnson is barely averaging six points a game. Johnson had a breakout game this season against Stanford where he scored 14 points.
The Cougars head into Valentine’s Day weekend ready to face the Arizona schools, Arizona State University on Friday and the 7th ranked University of Arizona on Sunday. Let’s focus on Arizona State though.
ASU sits at 12-11 (4-6) winners of four of their last seven including a huge home win against in state rival then-6th ranked Arizona. ASU was one point away from having a three game winning-streak but Oregon beat them in overtime 68-67 to end January.
The Sun Devils have three players that average double digit scoring, senior Shaquielle McKissic, junior Gerry Blakes and sophomore Savon Goodman. Seven players average 20 minutes or more: junior Eric Jacobsen, senior Bo Barnes, senior Jonathan Gilling, freshman Tra Holder, along with McKissic, Blakes and Goodman. Two players average five or more rebounds a game: Goodman and Jacobsen.
The Sun Devils coach Herb Sendek is coaching his ninth season with the team. He is a three time conference coach of the year and in his eight previous seasons posted five 20-win campaigns. Under Sendek, ASU won 141 games going into this season.
|ASU after their 87-85 loss to Texas in the NCAA |
Tournament in March, 2014 (Photo Courtesy of:
Sendek helped ASU win 16 of 17 at home in the 2013-14 season where the team finished 21-12 overall. ASU’s season ended with a 2nd round exit in the NCAA Tournament to the University of Texas, which led to an iconic photo of the bench after the heart-wrenching buzzer-beating loss.
A season after that disappointment, the Sun Devils aren’t exactly avenging that loss. Sitting in the middle of the Pac-12 with little hope of climbing out they sit with the Cougars right around 8th in the conference.
With a win the Cougars will tie ASU at 5-7 in the conference putting them in a better seed for the Pac-12 tournament in March. WSU and the Sun Devils are not far out of the 6, but it will take work to move much higher than 6th or 7th in the conference.