HOOPS: More scoring without Klay and Casto?

PULLMAN--No Klay Thompson. No DeAngelo Casto. No problem? That's the Cougar mindset as they gear up for the 2011-12 season with an exhibition game Saturday at home against Lewis-Clark State. Surely, though, scoring will be down with the absence of Thompson and Casto. Right? Not according to Marcus Capers. CF.C caught up with the senior wing, as well as freshman guard DaVonté Lacy for insighT.

The Cougars have been practicing for a few weeks now and held their first scrimmage last Wednesday at Beasley Coliseum. Capers said he's been impressed with the poise he's seen.

"I think we're coming along pretty good," Capers said. "Reggie's (Moore) being more of a floor general this year, Lacy has come along and Mike Ladd has been playing aggressive, so I feel all around everyone's improving."

Capers said that while the departures of Thompson and Casto to the pro ranks have created a gap in the offense, he doesn't think it will affect scoring. Capers echoed Ken Bone in saying now more than ever it's going to have to be a "team" effort throughout the season.

"I just feel across the board we should be a better team," Capers said. "We're really not depending on one or two players to score, we're depending on everyone to do their job. Losing two pros is pretty hard but we're adjusting to it and we can't dwell on it."

One of the newcomers expected to make a large contribution for the Cougars is true freshman guard DaVonté Lacy of Tacoma's Curtis High. Lacy is a big bodied guard who can not only stroke from the outside, but can also attack the rim and finish. And he plays physical.

"As a freshman he's pretty strong," Capers said. "A lot of kids don't make the transition from high school to college pretty well but I feel physically and mentally he's done his job. I can't wait to see him in a real game to see how he does."

For Lacy, he told CF.C that he's still adjusting to the college level – particularly in one area.

"The speed is way different and the overall size," Lacy said. "Everybody's bigger, faster, and stronger. You hear that and then you actually arrive and it's true. That's the biggest difference for me. Everyone's faster than me now so I have to work on my defense."

Lacy said he knows he won't come in during his first year and be the go-to guy the way Thompson was. But he does believe he make a big difference and help the Cougs go dancing in March.

"My biggest goal is to help contribute to the team as much as I can," Lacy said. "Everybody's goal is to get to the NCAA tournament and win in the tournament so if I can do anything to help that I'll be happy. If I score zero points and we win I'll be happy, a lot happier if I were to score 50 points and we lose."

The Cougars were recently predicted to finish 10th in the Pac-12 conference this season in the conference media poll. Capers said that didn't come as a surprise to him.

"With us going to Washington State, I feel we're always going to be underrated," Capers said. "I feel like Reggie (Moore) is one of the best guards in the conference and he's not really ever mentioned like he should be. I feel people that ranked us haven't really watched us play, they just go off names and politics. All that does is motivate us."

WSU opens the season on Nov. 14 in Spokane with a nationally televised tilt with No. 23 Gonzaga. TV: ESPN, 9PM.

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