Tanner Lancona is going to school on Cougs

SIX MONTHS remain before future Washington State forward Tanner Lancona arrives on the Palouse to begin his college career. However, the 6-9 sharpshooter from southern California is getting a jump start in Wazzu Hoops 101. Class is in session twice a week, and Lancona is a focused observer.

Thanks to the Pac-12 Networks, the 230-pound Las Flores, Calif., product is tuned in for every Cougar game. He sits on the edge of his seat watching his future teammates in action.

Mental notes galore are being taken and the Tesoro High School standout said he likes what he's seen through the first seven games of Pac-12 action.

"I see that they're coming along slowly but surely and they're getting better with each game," said Lancona, who signed a letter of intent with WSU during the early signing period in November.

"Every game I watch, I'm studying how they work on the floor and I really wish I was out there with them. I've been able to watch almost all of the conference games because of the Pac-12 network and see where I can fit in and help them out."

Before he puts on a Cougar jersey, however, he's got one more season to finish up at Tesero High. Like the Cougs, the team is having an up and down season.

Tesoro is in fourth place of the South Coast conference standings with a 17-7 overall record, but are 1-4 in league play. Lancona leads the team with an average of 22 points and 11 rebounds per game.

"Personally, I'm doing very well," Lancona said. "I'm just trying to help out my team as much as I can right now. We don't have a lot of scorers, so I'm forced to score quite a bit."

One area in particular Lancona's been focusing on is something he hopes can translate to Wazzu next season.

"I've been working mostly on being aggressive and providing some leadership for my team," Lancona said. "I'm just trying to control the game and help lead my teammates out on the court."

Cougar head coach Ken Bone and Lancona remain in constant communication and the two have talked have about the ways Lancona can help out in the coming years.


"We've just talked about how my season is going and how they're doing in conference play," Lancona said. "He's told me how he likes my game and how I can put the ball on the floor and shoot lights out. I can help them out next year by spacing out the court and being a 4 that can take advantage of a smaller defender. I've been doing that a lot for my team next season."

Although Lancona has had a stellar senior campaign thus far, he said he understands he still needs to work on several aspects of his game to be Pac-12-ready. In addition to working out with his prep team, Lancona trains at the Jason Wright Basketball academy in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

"We've been working on getting me solid with my handles," Lancona said. "We train a lot and he knows a lot about the game. We lift, shoot and dribble. On defense, we're doing a lot of lateral movements and improving on that as well."

Following their home stand with the Arizona schools this weekend, the Cougs will travel to Lancona's neck of the woods next week to take on USC (Feb. 7) and UCLA (Feb.9).

"I've been pretty anxious about playing for them lately and luckily I'll get to see them live when they're on their trip down here next week," Lancona said. "They're going to watch one of my games while they're down here too.

"I'm excited for it all and I can't wait to be a Coug."

LANCONA ISN'T THE ONLY FUTURE Coug who is having a strong senior season. Fellow post player Josh Hawkinson is also having a memorable final prep campaign. The 6-9, 230-pound Shorewood star is averaging 20.1 points a night to lead his team. In Hawkinson's last game, a Jan. 25 affair against Meadowdale, he scored 22 points and added 15 rebounds. Hawkinson has three games on the season scoring over 30 points, highlighted by his season high 35 dropped against Oak Harbor in a thrilling 69-68 win on Jan. 8.

The Cougs have one more prep senior signed for the class of 2013 in point guard Ikenna Iroegbu, but his stats were unavailable at press time. CF.C is working on connecting with the 6-2, 180-pound point guard and will have more info shortly. In the meantime, here's a look at what Iroegbu is doing to prepare for the Pac-12 next season.

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