Bone says media placement of Cougs is right

Five looks to be a key number for the Cougar men's basketball team coming into the 2010-11 season. Returning all five starters from last year's team, Washington State was chosen to finish fifth in the Pac-10 in a poll by media members who cover Pac-10 basketball. Head coach Ken Bone said the placement is on target.

"Being picked fifth in the media poll is probably about where we should be," said Ken Bone, who posted a 16-15 overall record and finished 6-12 in conference play in 2009-10, his first season with the team, in a news release. "It's quite a jump from finishing 10th in the conference last year, but we do have some really good players coming back along with some new kids that should be able to contribute right away."

Junior wing Klay Thompson returns after leading the team with an average of 19.6 points a game, along with junior forward/center DeAngelo Casto, who led the 2009-10 squad in blocks (2.2) and rebounds (7) per game. Other returning starters are sophomore point guard Reggie Moore, whose 12.7 points per game ranked him second among conference freshmen last season, junior wing Marcus Capers and junior forward Abe Lodwick.

Bone has said that sophomore forward Brock Motum is likely to challenge Lodwick for the starting power-forward position.

Newcomers expected to make an immediate impact are junior guard Faisal Aden, who averaged 23 points a game last season at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., and Andre Winston, a freshman point guard from Lakes High School in Lakewood. Winston set state tournament records with 119 points and 45 field goals in four games last winter and is expected to back up Moore.

Bone said that while he doesn't feel the conference is at full strength, he thinks this season will be an improvement over last year, when only Washington and California reached the NCAA Tournament. The media poll, released Thursday at the conference's media day in Los Angeles, has cross-state rival Washington slated to finish first. The Huskies picked up 33 of 35 first-place votes and 348 points.

Arizona was picked to finish second, with one first-place vote and 296 points. UCLA received the other first-place vote, coming in third with 281 points, followed by Arizona State (fourth, 215), Washington State (fifth, 191), USC (sixth, 178), California (seventh, 151), Oregon State (eighth, 120), Stanford (ninth, 98) and Oregon (10th, 47).

The Cougars open the season Nov. 13 at home against Southern (Louisiana) after hosting Lewis-Clark State in an exhibition game at 6 p.m. on Nov. 5 at Friel Court.

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