HOOPS: Cougs in the pros

COUGAR GREAT KYLE WEAVER is eating up the NBA Development League, but he'd rather be living it up in the NBA. From Japan, Russia, Hungary and beyond, as well as at college towns right here in the USA, here's a rundown of crimson hoopers and what they're doing on the hardcourt now..

Kyle Weaver, who spent the previous two seasons with the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, is averaging 18.4 points and 4.0 assists for the Iowa Energy. Weaver joined the Des Moines team after being cut in training camp by the Chicago Bulls, who have a working agreement with the Energy.

recently scored 32 and 30 points in back-to-back games. The 6-foot-6 guard is tied for 14th in scoring and is shooting 50 percent from the field (including 50 percent on 3-pointers), and several NBA teams are reportedly scouting him.

Weaver, a masterful defensive player at WSU, says defense will carry him in the NBA.

"It'll keep me there," he told the Des Moines Register. "There are few guys that want to guard people in the NBA. So being able to have that behind you on your resume is a good thing."

Weaver, who could always fill a stats sheet with the best of 'em, averages 5.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocked shots, and he's knocking down 84.3 percent of his free throws. He's started all 10 games for the Energy (8-2).

Weaver is not the only one off to a great start in pro or college hoops.

Marcus Moore, coming off a monster year in Mexico, is averaging 17.9 points and 4.7 assists in Hungary.

Ivory Clark, also playing in Hungary, averages 11.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots. He was recently named Player of the Week in his league.

Josh Akognon, who blossomed into one of the nation's leading scorers for Cal State-Fullerton after leaving WSU, racked up 26 points and seven rebounds in his season debut in Japan.

Nikola Koprivica recently signed with a Greek team after averaging 22.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in his native Serbia.

Mac Hopson, who played one season at WSU before transferring to Idaho, is averaging 19.1 points and 5.0 assists as a rookie pro in Japan.

Thomas Abercrombie, playing in his native New Zealand, averages 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds.

Taylor Rochestie, who plays in the same Turkish league as former NBA all-star Allen Iverson, is averaging 4.3 points and 2.7 assists. Derrick Low averages 8.6 points and 2.5 assists in Israel.

Aron Baynes has produced 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in Germany.

Thomas Kelati, who has bounced all over Europe since leaving WSU, is averaging 8.1 points and 1.4 assists in Russia.

Ezenwa Ukeagu has 16 points and three rebounds after his first two games in France.

Chris Schlatter, who played in Japan last season, is not currently listed on a pro roster by Eurobasket.com. Ditto for David Vik, who played in Portugal last season.

James Watson, one of five players who transferred from WSU after last season, is drawing hordes of recruiters to Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kan.

Assistant coach Donnie Jackson said Watson has drawn interest from such schools as Oklahoma State, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa State and Penn State. Watson has turned down a scholarship offer from Georgia State.

Watson is averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds, and Jackson said Watson has been solid in the classroom. Watson transferred to Cowley County after becoming academically ineligible at WSU.

Former walk-on John Allen, who transferred to NCAA Division II Western Washington this season to accept a scholarship, is averaging 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds as a starting guard.

Another who transferred, guard Nick Witherill, is averaging 7.8 points and nailing 46 percent of his 3-pointers for Division II Grand Canyon in Phoenix.

Two guards who transferred to NCAA Division I schools this year, Xavier Thames (San Diego State) and Michael Harthun (Portland State), are redshirting to satisfy Division I transfer rules.

Anthony Brown, who saw little action as a WSU freshman last season, is about to become eligible at Eastern Oregon (he was short on credits). The Mountaineers, who have reached the Sweet 16 of the NAIA Division II national tournament the past three years, are 10-1 and ranked eighth.

"He should have an immediate impact," Eastern Oregon assistant coach Adam Tyhurst said.


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