COUGAR HOOPS: Breaking down the scholie math

BASKETBALL SEASON IS over, which means it's time to pull out the calculator and resolve a math question. Ken Bone has more players than he does scholarships for 2011-12. Even if Klay Thompson goes early to the NBA and DeAngelo Casto goes Euro, the Cougs would still be over the NCAA limit of 13 when you add up the incoming recruits and presume everyone else on the current roster returns on scholie.

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As matters currently stand, 12 guys -- one less than the limit -- are on scholarship, but three new recruits (DaVonté Lacy, Greg Sequele and D.J. Shelton) are coming in and Mike Ladd, who redshirted this season after transferring in from Fresno State, is in line for one.

That's four bodies for one available scholie if everyone returns from this season. Even if Thompson and Casto both leave, Bone still will need to find one more slot.

So the question naturally begs: how is everyone going to fit?

Asked about the looming traffic jam last November -- long before Shelton was added to the equation -- Bone simply said something to the effect of these things always have a way of working out.

Now it's time to find the specifics.

Lacy and Sequele signed letters of intent in the early signing period in November, so they're locked in. Shelton, who verbally committed a week ago, said he will sign April 13 when the spring signing period opens. And Ladd came to WSU this past August with a scholarship promise awaiting after sitting out the mandatory season under transfer rules. Add in returning starters Abe Lodwick, Marcus Capers and Reggie Moore, plus first-off-the-bench guys Brock Motum and Faisal Aden, and the scholie total is at nine. Dexter Kernich-Drew will be a second-year freshman next season, and that makes 10. In the ideal world, Thompson and Casto would return, pushing the total to 12. That would leave one open slot to be spread among Charlie Enquist, Patrick Simon, Dre' Winston and Steven Bjornstad, and possibly fast-rising walk on Will DiIorio.

And that's assuming the Cougs are done for the 2011 class, which may not be the case.

Enquist's scholie has been a revolving-door proposition since Tony Bennett brought him on board, so Bone may have one he needs there. In addition, Bjornstad, who was considered something of a project to begin with when he came on a year ago, would have to be considered on borrowed time with patellar tendinosis ("jumper's knee") that derailed all of his 2010-11 season and still has him in a boot.

Bone may also find scholie relief in the form of good old fashion attrition. Freshman point guard Winston averaged just 6.2 minutes of PT in the 26 (out of 35) games he played this season, but the vast majority of that time came in the non-conference portion of the season. Capers, Aden and Thompson basically filled the backup PG minutes that Xavier Thames fulfilled a year ago, thus making Winston numero uno for speculation on who might transfer in search of more playing time elsewhere. Fellow freshman Simon can't be ruled out here either. His playing time disappeared down the stretch run of the season, and he wound up averaging 9.4 minutes of PT in the 29 games he played in.

One way or another, this looks to be an especially intriguing off-season for Cougar Hoops.

There was an interesting article in the Spokesman-Review yesterday. With three Cougar basketball players (Reggie Moore, Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto) all cited for marijuana possession in recent months, the newspaper noted arrests for marijuana possession per 1,000 people in Pullman were nearly triple those of Spokane last year. Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant told the newspaper that police have used a “broken windows theory” in approaching enforcement for the last decade: “If you deal with the little things, you don’t have to deal with the big things. We deal with alcohol. We deal with marijuana possession. We deal with parties, noise and party trash. By doing that, we deal with fewer assaults, rape and damage to property,” the newspaper quotes Tenant.

That begs the following question: Because the people who go to parties, make noise, and don’t clean up their party trash are just rapists and assaulters waiting to happen?

-- Thompson has been between now and April 24 to declare for the NBA draft. However, he can opt out as long as he doesn't hire an agent and as long as he withdraws by the NCAA-mandated deadline of May 8. All this adds up to mean college underclassmen have just 14 days to test the draft process after the April 24 declaration date. And in practice it's more like 10 days since it's typically four days after the deadline, on April 28, when the early-entry list is officially released to NBA teams.

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