HOOPS NOTEBOOK: Lacy says NCAA berth the goal

PULLMAN – DaVonté Lacy says it caught him by surprise when teammates named him a co-captain on the Washington State basketball team, but the honor comes as no surprise to those familiar with the sophomore guard from Tacoma.

Lacy displayed impressive maturity on and off the court as a true freshman last season. The Curtis High graduate made 30 starts and helped the 19-18 Cougars reach the championship round of the College Basketball Invitational.

Lacy finished fourth on the team with 8.5 points per game and 34.7 percent shooting on 3-pointers, and his 1.9 assists and 0.8 steals ranked third. Decent numbers all, but Lacy says the only numbers he's worried about this season are wins and losses.

"I just want to build off my freshman year and just win more," Lacy said Wednesday. "My personal goal is to make everyone better. If that's sitting on the bench and trying to show someone, if they're out on the floor and they don't see something that I see, I'll just try to help them out.

"I don't really look at the numbers (personal statistics) and stuff. I just want to win and help the team as best I can."

Lacy and Pac-12 Conference scoring champion Brock Motum are the only returning starters on a team with just two seniors and three juniors on the active roster. Preseason media predictions on the Pac-12 standings have not been kind to the Cougars, but Lacy has lofty expectations for his team.

"The season would not be complete if we don't make it to the NCAA tournament," he said flatly. "That's what everybody's goal is. I don't want to be satisfied with just making it. I want to win a couple games – at least. I want to experience it, flying different places."

Lacy spent plenty of time in the air this summer, touring China with a team that featured other NCAA Division I players, then going to Australia with the Cougars.

"The summer was beneficial," Lacy said. "It was very fun."

Well, the dining in China doesn't sound very fun.

"It was, uh … their food was a lot different," Lacy said with a smile. "Even the Americanized restaurants were way different. Like McDonald's, they'd still have their traditional Big Mac and Quarter Pounder and stuff, but they'd have dishes that are indigenous to China. Like a burger wrapped around in fat.

"It was gross," Lacy summarized. "I didn't taste it."

MOTUM SAID THAT overseas games have helped make Lacy the most improved player on the team.

"He's improved his game a lot," Motum said. "Not just shooting, but his all-around game has improved. He still has room to improve, but he's taken strides on what he was last year. I think he can be a legitimate threat."

Lacy is being counted on to make up for the absence of point guard Reggie Moore. The three-year starter was recently kicked off the team for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

"It was a shock," Lacy said. "Me and Reggie are really good friends. I feel like he was one of my closest friends, if not the closest friend, I had on the team. As a friend, I still feel for him. You never want to go out like that. But, it is what it is. You can't really change it. You've just got to take the punches and roll with 'em."

Lacy said he's part of a "committee" that will handle Moore's old duties. Royce Woolridge, a sophomore transfer from Kansas, is the primary point guard.

"Royce, even though he's not a true point guard, he's a really good point guard," Lacy said. "I think he's good enough to play whatever (guard) position, 1 through 3, that he wants. If we look to him to distribute the ball, I think he's good enough to do that. If we look at him to score, he's good enough to do that. He's as good as it gets."

Lacy predicts the Cougars will "be a better defensive team" despite the graduation of talented defensive guard Marcus Capers. Woolridge is well respected for his defense, and Lacy said critics of Moore's defense were all wrong.

"Reggie played really good defense," Lacy said. "He was solid. I mean, you can't tell me many times he got beat straight off the dribble."

  • The Cougars play a closed scrimmage (no fans or media allowed) Saturday against Montana. WSU's lone exhibition game is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Beasley Coliseum against Saint Martin's, an NCAA Division II school in Lacey, outside Olympia.

  • The Cougars open the season Saturday, Nov. 10 against Eastern Washington (TV: Pac-12 Networks, 4:30 p.m.)

  • Brett Kingma, arrested recently for marijuana possession and a minor exhibiting signs of alcohol consumption in a public place, has been suspended. The sophomore guard, a transfer from Oregon, is redshirting.

  • Lacy said Moore remains in school, and the two stay in touch. Lacy said he doesn't know what Moore has planned for the future.

  • The parents of junior college transfer James Hunter are well-known rock musicians and songwriters back home in Australia. James' father once toured Europe with "Dragon" as the warm-up act for Tina Turner.

  • Motum has been named as one of 30 candidates for the 2012-13 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate men's basketball, given to a D-I senior for achievement in community, classroom, character and competition. Motum is the only Pac-12 men's basketball student-athlete to be named a candidate for the award.

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