WSU Basketball: No. 5 In Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll

After a disappointing first year, Washington State head coach Ken Bone is looking to rebound and take the Cougs back to the NCAA tournament. Can Klay Thompson lead the Cougs to an improved season after a last place finish in 2009? We've got your preseason news and notes on the Cougs.

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WSU Picked No. 5 In Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll

After a disappointing last place finish in 2009, the Washington State Cougars expect to be much improved during the 2010-2011 campaign. The Pac-10 media seem to agree, ranking the Cougars No. 5 in what appears to be a wide open race. The Washington Huskies, predictably, took the top spot, garnering all but two first-place votes. After that, the Pac-10 is a jumbled mess between No. 2 and No. 8.

The Cougars return a talented trio in Klay Thompson, Reggie Moore and DeAngelo Casto. If the three, along with an assortment of role players, can gel and work well with each other, there’s no limit to what the Cougars can do — perhaps easily besting the preseason media ranking.

You can find the full rankings here. Arizona, UCLA and Arizona State round out the top 5. The Cougars tip off the season Nov. 10 with an exhibition against Lewis-Clark State.

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WSU Basketball To Scrimmage Oct. 29

Washington State fans will get their first real look at the Cougar basketball team during an open scrimmage on Friday, Oct. 29. The Cougs will take to the floor in Bohler Gym in front of the public, dividing into two teams and scrimmaging for 30 minutes. The Cougs marked the beginning of practice last Friday with a three-point contest, dunk contest and short, unorganized scrimmage in their annual ‘Midnight Mayhem.’

The Washington State athletics site has the details about the upcoming scrimmage.

Fans are encouraged to come out and support the Cougars, while catching a glimpse of what’s to come this season. This year’s team returns all five starters from last year’s 16-15 squad, including 2010-11 Wooden Award preseason candidate, Klay Thompson. Adding to the nine returning letterwinners from last year are seven newcomers.

Thompson, Reggie Moore and DeAngelo Casto are determined to improve upon their last-place finish in the Pac-10 last year and expectations are high for the Cougs, with some labeling them the second-best team in the Pac-10 this year. A chance to see newcomers Dre Winston Jr., Patrick Simon, Faisel Aden and more are a great reason to check out the scrimmage next week.

If you’re in Pullman and want a sneak peek of the 2011 Cougars, head over to Bohler Gym on Oct. 29 and check them out.

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SBN Seattle Feature: WSU Basketball Preview

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SB Nation Seattle's Jeff Nusser put together his preview of the 2010-11 WSU Cougar basketball team this morning. The Cougs return a fine nucleus of Reggie Moore, Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto, but have plenty of questions to be answered if they plan on making it back to the NCAA tournament.

The hopes and dreams of the Cougars rely on Thompson, whose numbers fell off a cliff as the wear of the season took its toll last year. Can Thompson step up for WSU this year?

So, the question becomes this: Has Thompson added enough muscle to his frame and variety to his game to succeed against elite defenders this year? If he improves as much from last year to this as he did from his first year to last, then the answer might well be yes. He's obsessed with perfection and works tirelessly on his game, and rumblings out of Pullman are that he's ready to take the next step. If so, he's a potent enough scorer to carry the Cougs to the NCAA Tournament.

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WSU Basketball: Preseason News And Notes

After a disappointing first year, Washington State head coach Ken Bone is looking to rebound and take the Cougs back to the NCAA tournament. WSU returns all the big pieces this year and Klay Thompson has some lofty expectations. Thompson is surrounded by Reggie Moore at point guard and DeAngelo Casto in the post, giving the Cougs a strong nucleus heading into the season.

The Spokesman-Review's Vince Grippi has been doing a fantastic series of interviews with the team ahead of the season. First up was Ken Bone.

Personally, I'm anxious for the season to begin. Been sitting on this 6-12, last-place finish, and being the head coach of that, for too many months. Fortunately, I'm not used to that and I'm not comfortable with that. I've not had any years like that. I don't think I've ever been in that situation as a coach. I think we're better than we showed, I think I can do a better job of leading these guys, and trying to get them to deal with situations within a game or after a game better than we did last year

He also sat down with DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore. You can find Moore's interview here and Casto's here. Casto had the best quote of the series so far when asked about his health.

Last year I was a little bummed, my knee was hurting but I feel like I've been jumping higher, and mark my words, I'm going to break a backboard this year. I'm up there. I'm slamming harder, I'm heavier.

Washington State is marking the start of the season tonight with Midnight Mayhem. The WSU athletic department sent out a press release ahead of the event.

At 8 p.m., WSU director of athletics, Bill Moos, men's head coach Ken Bone and women's head coach June Daugherty will begin the event with introductions and themselves and the teams. Both teams will open the on-court games with a 3-point contest. The men and women will compete against each other for the title of best long-range shooter. The winners from the men's and women's ends will compete against each other.

After the 3-point shoot-off, the men and women's teams will put their talents on display in a 15-minute scrimmage. The men will end the night as a handful of the high-flying Cougars will wow the crowd in a slam dunk contest.

Festivities kick-off at 8 p.m. at Bohler Gym on the Washington State campus. It's Dad's Weekend in Pullman and the Cougs are expecting a nice crowd tonight. Get there early and check out Klay Thompson and the Cougs.

The Cougs face a challenging non-conference schedule, taking on Gonzaga and Kansas State in Pullman within a week of each other before heading to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic. The Classic features some stiff competition, testing the Cougars early-on.

The Cougars face Mississippi State in the first game of the tournament (Dec. 22), meeting the Bulldogs for the second time in three years. Depending on the first game outcomes, Washington State will take on either Baylor or San Diego (Dec. 23), both of whom it has faced within the last two seasons, in the second game of the tournament. The Diamond Head Classic features four teams that reached the postseason in 2009-10, including national runner-up Butler.

Washington State starts the season November 10th in an exhibition against Lewis-Clark State at Beasley Coliseum.

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