My buddy Christian Caple has taken over the Washington State beat at the Spokesman Review. What's odd is he's a UW grad and covering the Cougs.
But being a good journalist, he's adopted the proper attitude of being bitter and angry at the world. Though I think he may have had that attitude well before that.
Besides being grouchy and in need of a haircut on most occasions, Caple's favorite baseball player is Erik Bedard, Jim Caple is not his father, but his uncle, and he is a closet Sounders fan with a plethora of scarves and lime green shirts.
He asked me to answer five questions about the Huskies hoop team for his blog, and I asked him to do the same.
1. What the heck is going on with Reggie Moore? He was once one of the most promising players in the conference, and now he's tentative and ineffective.
CAPLE: It’s hard to say definitively, but I’d guess that he hasn’t quite adjusted to his team’s need for him to be its primary scoring option (or at least one of them). The last two times I’ve talked to him, he’s stressed that coach Ken Bone has been on him about that, so I do think he’s starting to get it. And against Colorado he definitely looked as if he’d made up his mind that he was going to assert himself a bit more. Of course, he’s never had any problems going on the offensive against the Huskies, especially in Hec Ed, so maybe this can be a breakout game of sorts for him. (I’d also note that as a point guard, his job is a heck of a lot more difficult without Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto to dish off to.)
2. Has Faisal Aden grasped the concept that he doesn't need to shoot every time he touches it, or that allowing your guy to go to the basket is a bad thing?
CAPLE: Who knows? Aden seemed a little more under control against Colorado, even taking the ball to the rim for a couple of nice layups. Bone’s comment about Aden after the Utah game seems telling, though: “What he brings to the team is making baskets, and if he’s not making baskets, then I need to consider other kids.” The Utah game was a perfect example of that: Aden played 17 minutes and shot the ball 12 times, tied for a team-high with Brock Motum that night (and Motum led all scorers with 27 points). Still, Aden saw quite a bit of playing time off the bench the last time out, so Bone appears to be making a concerted effort to work him back into the rotation.
3. Brock Motum has become a legitimate offensive presence, both inside and outside. What has been the best way to slow him down?
CAPLE: Don’t let him get the ball in a position to face the basket. He’s been successful when he catches the ball in shooting position on the perimeter, and is able to either shoot over smaller defenders who can’t contest his reach, or slower big men who struggle to pressure him that far from the hoop. And I think defenders who don’t mind muscling up and pushing him around a bit can slow him down, too. Bone has mentioned that he wants Motum to play with more of an edge. Aziz N’Diaye appears to have that (defensively, anyway), so that could be an interesting matchup to watch, if those two wind up guarding each other.
4. The Cougars average almost 15 turnovers a game. If I put the over/under at 18 turnovers for WSU, do you take the over or the under and why?
CAPLE: I’d take the under in this game. WSU’s last two games have been similar in the turnover department – bad in the first half, much better in the second. And the Huskies force about the same number of turnovers as the Cougars average. Part of my reasoning is that I think Reggie Moore is primed for a solid outing, and if he’s scoring well and taking care of the ball, WSU should be fine. Everyone knows how much the Huskies have struggled against aggressive, attacking point guards (South Dakota State, anyone?). Moore always seems to have a little more of that in him against Washington.
5. Who is going to guard Tony Wroten? And don't say Faisal Aden, cause we know you would be lying.
CAPLE: Marcus Capers actually told me he’s more worried about Terrence Ross and C.J. Wilcox, because Wroten is such a loose cannon. So heck, maybe Capers will take him. DaVonte Lacy has the size to body him up on the block, but I don’t know that he has the quickness to contain him off the dribble. Then again, WSU has played quite a bit of 2-3 zone recently, so maybe Moore and Lacy will share responsibility out top. The Cougars have defended ball-screens so poorly this season that I’m not sure how much man-to-man they’ll want to play with Wroten on the floor.