PULLMAN – It's not exactly "Bennett Ball" but through eight games, Ken Bone's club (5-3) has quietly…
Cougar Basketball Notebook
Walk-ons John Allen and Austin Bragg also left the Cougars in search of more time on the court. Both players are thriving at Western Washington, the defending national champion in Division II.
Allen leads the Bellingham-based Vikings (5-0 and ranked sixth) with 16 ppg and 4.2 assists. Bragg, a junior transfer from Clark (junior) College in Vancouver, Wash., averages 11.4 ppg and a team-high 7.6 rebounds.
Aaron Dunn, meanwhile, who gave up football at WSU after spring practices in April to join Western's basketball team, quit the Vikings before playing in a game. A Western spokesperson said Dunn, citing family reasons, plans to leave school.
Former WSU guards Dre Winston and Michael Harthun transferred to Division I Portland State to boost their chances of seeing more court time. Both are starting for the Big Sky Conference team.
Winston averages 11 ppg and a team-best 1.8 apg. Harthun averages 10.9 ppg.
Xavier Thames, another ex-WSU guard in Division I, has struggled with his shot (27.5 percent from the field) in the early going at San Diego State. Thames averages 8.6 ppg and a team-high 3.0 apg for the 23rd-ranked Aztecs (4-1).
Former WSU forward James Watson, who played in just one game at Kansas State last season due to academic and medical issues, hopes to gain NCAA eligibility clearance to play at Division II Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
Anthony Brown, whose WSU career consisted of three games as a scholarship player in 2009-10, has blossomed at Eastern Oregon in La Grande.
Brown averages 12.2 ppg and a team-leading 7.2 rpg. The Mountaineers are 13-0 and ranked fourth in NAIA Division II.
ABOUT 9,300 TICKETS HAVE been sold for the Cougars' Wednesday's showdown with 12th-ranked Gonzaga at Beasley Coliseum. ESPNU wuill televise the contest at 8 p.m., and a large contingent of Gonzaga fans is expected to be on hand.
The Bulldogs (7-0 going into tonight's game with Pacific) have split the past six meetings with WSU (4-3). The Cougars lead the all-time series, 98-48. Many of those WSU victories came when Gonzaga was an NAIA program.
Washington State is 47-223 all-time against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25. The Cougars have lost three in a row to ranked teams since beating No. 18 Washington, 87-80, on Jan. 30, 2011 in Pullman.
The Cougars play Portland tonight (7:30, Pac-12 Networks) before wrapping up a six-game homestand with games against Fresno State next Sunday and Jackson (Miss.) State on Dec. 13. WSU then finishes pre-conference play with two unofficial "home" games during Christmas break: Friday, Dec. 21 versus Buffalo in Seattle, and Saturday, Dec. 29 against Idaho State in Kennewick.
IN THE PRO RANKS, old Cougar Klay Thompson, who made the NBA All-Rookie team last season, has been hot and cold so far this season with his normally reliable jump shot.
Thompson ranks third on the Golden State Warriors with 15.4 ppg, but he's only shooting 38.5 percent from the field and 31.3 percent on 3-pointers. The only Cougar in the NBA, Thompson averages 4 rpg and 2.3 apg.
Former NBA player Kyle Weaver, released in training camp by Memphis, has not played in the first two NBA Development League games for the Austin (Texas) Toros. A team spokesperson said Weaver is healthy and should see action soon.
Faisal Aden, whose senior season at Washington State ended last January due to a knee injury, is on the inactive list of the NBADL's (Frisco) Texas Legends. Aden is still rehabbing his knee after failing his physical with a Belgium team.
Former WSU guards Marcus Capers and Rosetta "Rosie" Abzasu are tearing it up in Finland in their first pro seasons.
Capers leads ToPo in Finland's No. 2 men's league with 20.4 ppg and 11.4 rpg. Adzasu leads Kerava in the Finnish women's league with 20.0 ppg, 3.1 apg, 4.5 steals and, unfortunately, 5.5 turnovers.
Two other talented guards with WSU roots made impressive season debuts overseas.
Josh Akognon, cut in training camp by the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, returned to China and poured in 46 points in Liaoning's season opener.
Injuries delayed Thomas Kelati's debut in Spain, but the veteran swingman out of Walla Walla scored 15 points for Valencia on Wednesday.
Some other Cougs of note playing pro ball overseas: Derrick Low, Ukraine, 16.4 ppg, 5.7 apg. Taylor Rochestie, Spain, 7.0 ppg, 3.0 apg. Aron Baynes, Slovenia, 11.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg. Marcus Moore, Israel, 15.5 ppg, 3.0 apg. Ivory Clark, Israel, 11.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg. DeAngelo Casto, South Korea, 10.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg. Abe Lodwick, Germany, 8.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg. Fabian Boeke (who had planned to quit playing professionally due to a job change), Germany, 12.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg. Thomas Abercrombie, Australia, 10.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg.
Jazmine Perkins, who finished up at WSU last season, played two games in Israel before coming home due to visa problems, a Cougars spokesperson said. She hopes to join another pro team this season.
IF Brock Motum MAINTAINS HIS current 17.4 scoring average and plays in all 32 scheduled games, he'll wind up sixth in WSU history with 1,491 points. The senior forward, a two-year starter, currently ranks 27th with 1,055 points.
Reggie Moore, kicked off the team this year prior to his senior season, was on track to become the first Cougar with more than 500 assists. Moore ranks sixth with 419; Bennie Seltzer's school record is 478. Moore remains in school at WSU.
Ken Bone hopes to become the second coach to guide WSU to three consecutive national post-season tournaments.
The Cougars played in the 2011 National Invitation Tournament semifinals and the 2012 College Basketball Invitational finals. Bone's predecessor, Tony Bennett, coached the Cougars in two NCAA tournaments and one NIT in his three years as coach.
Bennett is the only coach who won more games in his first three years at WSU (69) than Bone (57). In his fourth season, Bone's 61-49 record gives him a .555 winning percentage that ranks fourth among the 11 head coaches who have coached the Cougars three or more years. Bennett's .676 mark leads the way.
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