PULLMAN – Former Curtis High School basketball star DaVonte Lacy started as a freshman at Washington State last season, and teammates were so impressed with his play and his leadership that they have elected him to be a team captain for the upcoming season.
NCAA Division I men’s teams can hold their first full “official” practices Friday. The Cougars will practice in the afternoon, mix and mingle with fans at a social from 5:30-8 p.m., then hold a short scrimmage along with various fan-friendly activities with the WSU women’s team at 9 p.m.
There is no charge to attend the scrimmage, which will be at Bohler Gym. Tickets to the social are $50 to $60, with discounts available for those younger than 12.
Senior forward Brock Motum, the reigning Pacific-12 Conference scoring champion (18.0 points a game), and Lacy (8.5 ppg) are the only returning starters off a 19-18 squad that finished 7-11 in Pac-12 play. WSU lost to Pittsburgh in the championship game of the College Basketball Invitational.
Coach Ken Bone said he’s counting on improved ballhandling from Lacy to help cover for the loss of point guard Reggie Moore. A three-year starter, Moore has been kicked off the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
“We’re going to try to get away without a true point guard, like a lot of teams do,” Bone said.
Royce Woolridge, a sophomore transfer from Kansas, figures to handle much of the ballhandling.
“He will be a very good defender on the other team’s point guard,” Bone said.
Swingman Mike Ladd (5.4 ppg), forward D.J. Shelton (4.7 ppg) and 3-point gunner Dexter Kernich-Drew (2.3 ppg) are key returnees. Ladd and Motum were named captains by the coaching staff.
Wing Que Johnson, WSU’s most highly rated recruit, is enrolled in school but cannot practice or play with the Cougars after being ruled a partial academic qualifier by the NCAA.
The Cougars play a home exhibition against Division II Saint Martin’s on Nov. 6, then open the season at home against Eastern Washington on Nov. 10. WSU’s annual “home” game at Seattle’s KeyArena will be Dec. 21 against Buffalo.