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The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

January 9, 2015 at 9:50 PM

Scouting report: Washington State

 

Washington State forward Josh Hawkinson (24) shoots over Idaho State forward Jeffrey Solarin (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash. (Photo credit: Dean Hare - AP)

Washington State forward Josh Hawkinson (24) shoots over Idaho State forward Jeffrey Solarin (5) during the first half the Cougars’ 80-68 win on Nov. 21, 2014. (Photo credit: Dean Hare – AP)

Scouting report: Washington State.
Game info: 12 p.m. Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000).

TV: Pac-12 Networks (Kevin Calabro and Lamar Hurd).
Radio: KOMO 1000 AM and FM 97.7 (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).

Record: 7-7, 1-1 Pac-12.
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Game notes: Washington State and Washington.

Coach: Ernie Kent is 7-7 (.500) in his first season with the Cougars. Prior to joining Washington State on March 31, 2014, he had a 325-254 (.561) during a **-year coaching career. During a six-year stint at Saint Mary’s (1991-97), he compiled a 90-80 (.529), which included one NCAA tournament appearance. During a 13-year tenure at Oregon (1997-10), he was 235-174 (.575) with the Ducks including five NCAA tourney appearances and two trips to the Elite Eight. Kent spent the past four years working as a college basketball broadcast analyst.

Prediction: The Cougars were picked 11th in the Pac-12 preseason media poll.

Series: Washington leads 178-101 in a series that began Feb. 16, 1910. Each team won at home last season while the Huskies have won six of the past seven meetings. Lorenzo Romar is 16-12 all-time record against WSU. Kent is 10-17 against Washington.
Last meeting: Washington won 72-49 on Feb. 28, 2014 at Alaska Airlines Arena. Nigel Williams-Goss had 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds while Andrew Andrews finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Both had four assists and two steals.

Previous game: Washington State upset California 69-66 at Haas Pavilion last Sunday.
Odds: Washington is an 11.5-point favorite.

DaVonte Lacy (Getty Images)

DaVonte Lacy (Getty Images)

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

DaVonte Lacy,  the former standout at Tacoma’s Curtis High, is still WSU’s star for a second straight  year. However, the Cougars aren’t depending on him nearly as much as they did last season when he averaged 19.4 points and that’s a good thing because they are less reliant on one person. Last year, Lacy accounted for 30.1 percent of the offense. This season he’s averaging 16.4 points and accounts for 23.3 percent of the scoring.

Lacy’s shooting is down across the board, which suggests he’s not totally comfortable in WSU’s new offense. He’s shooting 39.9 percent from the field, which is down from 42.9 percent last season. He’s shooting 34.8 percent on three-pointers, down from 39.0. And he’s shooting 77.4 percent on free throws, down from 83.5 percent last season.

Still, Lacy will likely finish his career among the Washington State scoring greats. If he maintains his scoring average he’ll end the regular season with 1,531 points, which would put him fifth on WSU’s all-time scoring list behind Isaac Fontaine (2,003), Steve Puidokas (1,894), Klay Thompson (1,756) and Don Collins (1,563).

In his last meeting against Washington Lacy torched the Huskies with 25 points, including four three-pointers. He’s averaging 11.7 points in six career games versus UW.

— At the midpoint of the season, Josh Hawkinson is the leading candidate to win the Pac-12’s Most Improved award. His ascent into prominence has been one of the best kept secrets in college basketball. Last season, the 6-10 forward averaged 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 6.4 minutes as a freshman reserve.

This season, he’s averaging 15.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 31.9 minutes as a starter. Hawkinson is one of 15 players nationally who is averaging double figures in points and rebounds. He has nine double doubles this season. He’s a big man who is proficient around the rim and on the perimeter. He shoots 51.6 percent from the field and 41.2 percent (7 of 17) on three-pointers.

He’s scored at least 20 points in three games, including a personal best 27 points against Rice. The Pac-12 leading rebounder has also collected double-digit rebounds in 10 games.

The former Shorewood High product played four scoreless-minutes last year against Washington at Alaska Airlines Arena. He didn’t play in their team’s first meeting last season in Pullman.

OVERVIEW:

— Under first-year coach Kent, Washington State was 4-6 after 10 games. The Cougars have won three of the last four games.

— Five of WSU’s first six games were away from Pullman. The Cougars also started the Pac-12 season with three straight road games.

— After two years of not having a true pass-first point guard, WSU is relying on freshman Ny Redding to direct the offense. He leads the team with 4.2 assists, which ranks sixth in the Pac-12. He’s also averaging 2.6 turnovers. His 1.59 assists-to-turnover ratio is ninth in conference.

— Senior center Jordan Railey had a personal best 17 points in WSU’s last outing.

— Sophomore guard Que Johnson, the former three-star prospect who chose WSU over UW, is averaging 5.7 points and 17.6 minutes as a reserve.

— Washington State is allowing opponents 72.9 points per game, which ranks 315th among the 351 Division I teams.

Ernie Kent

Ernie Kent

KENT ON WSU:

“Nine months ago when getting this job they were really struggling with their confidence and who they were individually as well as an identity as a basketball team. We spent an enormous amount of time off the floor working on that confidence to find out who they were and get their confidence back and putting in a system. When I looked at our program, I felt we had enormous growth potential from wehre we were. Granted we were behind everybody else so we had more growth potential from everybody else. I always use the theory with our team, we went from the bottom to the manhole cover. Now we got to get to the top of the skyscraper. That’s where Arizona sits.

“So we’re still building. But our growth potential is there. You may have players in other programs that coming back their senior year, they’re not going to get any better. They’re already there. They’re big. They’re strong. They got it. There’s not a lot of growth potential in them. Whereas Jordan Railey had a lot of growth potential in him. Josh Hawkinson has enormous growth potential in him. DaVonte Lacy maybe not as much because he’s already on his game. Ike Iroegbu, growth potential. Ny Redding, growth potential. Brett Boese, growth potential. There’s so much untapped growth potential that we needed to tap into the freedom of starting to get them better. Let them get their confidence and we still have more. Que Johnson has yet to get on his A game. Dexter Kernich-Drew has yet to get on his A game. So we still have growth potential. Brett Boese, he’s probably playing about as well as he can play. I think Jordan is getting there. Josh Hawkinson, he’s one of the best power forwards in the country. I don’t know how much more you can get out of him. I look at it that way. Trevor Dunbar still has growth potential.

“We just focus on growing them individually within their individual workouts and skill sets and things they need to work on and then growing them understand the system and how much faster we want to play and share the ball. And then growing them in competing in this conference. Some of those guys have never competed in this conference with the amount of minutes they’re getting and how to handle themselves. So the more they learn with us, the better they’re getting. I don’t know if other programs in the conference have the potential. Utah, they’re pretty doggone good already. Colorado, they’re pretty doggone good already. Arizona, they’re pretty doggone good already. They don’t have a lot of ceiling left. We still have a huge ceiling that we can grow into and that’s what we focus on.”

STARTING LINEUP:

Pos Name Ht./Wt. Yr. PPG. RPG. APG MPG. FG% FT% 3FG%
C Jordan Railey 7-0/245 Sr. 5.3 3.0 0.8 13.1 0.536 0.538 0.000
F Josh Hawkinson 6-10/245 So. 15.5 11 0.6 31.9 0.516 0.800 0.412
G DaVonte Lacy 6-4/210 Sr. 16.4 2.6 2.4 32.1 0.399 0.774 0.348
G Ike Iroegbu 6-2/190 Jr. 8.7 2.4 2.7 24.2 0.454 0.767 0.333
G Ny Redding 6-2/180 Sr. 6.5 2.0 4.2 23.7 0.338 0.795 0.235

Comments | More in Scouting reports | Topics: Josh Hawkinson, Washington State

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