Derrick Low: Hannibal Lecter of the hardwood

AS DERRICK LOW prepares for the Cougs' first-round NCAA tourney match up today against Winthrop, there will be no set routine, no superstitions to follow, no specific meal to eat. In fact, the senior shooting guard doesn't like to eat much at all on game days. He will, however, sneak up on an unsuspecting teammate and bite him in the shoulder. Just call Low the Hannibal Lecter of the hardwood.

"It's because I'm soooo hungry during the day. I just snack on 'em," Low jokes.

In truth, hunger has nothing to do with it. Low is just one more cutup on a team full of cutups.

"I can make fun of everybody," says Low when asked who is the bigger oddball -- him or backcourt mate Taylor Rochestie. "He's pretty 'out there', too."

Given the distance Low runs during a game -- watch him today when you get a chance, he's constantly in motion -- it's no wonder he can't be loaded down with real food before a game.

"I really don't eat on gamedays for some reason. I know some say that's bad because you have to have energy. But I don't want to eat something that will slow me down or will give me a sore stomach," said Low.

AGAINST WINTHROP TODAY (tip-off at 4:20 pm Pacific Time), Low could expend even more energy than usual making the sharp cuts off screens that will be needed to get free of the Eagles' swift guards. On defense, against the smaller Eagles, Low will be key to the defensive traps and ball pressure that WSU figures to employ.

Looking to next year, when he and Kyle Weaver are -- according to draft projection sites -- in the NBA, Low sees the Cougar backcourt in very good hands with Rochestie, Thomas Abercrombie and Abe Lodwick.

Lodwick is redshirting this season and Abercrombie, a second-year freshman, has played minimally.

"I think Abe will come into his own soon. The fact is, he beats up on the starting team a lot because he has that green light where he can come off screens and shoot, and go one-on-one a lot. I think that gives him a lot of confidence and he's looked good in practice. And it will be all about just transferring that to game mode," said Low.

That's on offense. What about Lodwick's defense?

"He's going to have to work on that. And I can be honest (with him) and he's not strong enough yet. But neither were any of us when we came in our first year as freshmen. And I can guarantee that he'll get stronger and get his lateral (movement) shaped up," said Low.

As for Abercrombie, Cougar fans have mostly gotten a look at him from an offensive point of view. He has a silky smooth jumper but Low says that defensively, Abercrombie has the chance to be special.

"Thomas is real athletic and he's a real good shotblocker -- I think he can be the Ivory Clark type that we missed this year," said Low. "I haven't seen as much of the freshmen that are going to come in next season but they all seem (solid)."

Low, who verballed to Washington State without having ever set foot on the campus, said after his playing days are done, his perfect scenario would be returning to his native Hawaii and doing a whole lot of nothing.

"I just want to go back home and be a beach bum. I'd go live in Hawaii and go to the beach every day," said Low.

  • For those who have wondered, Low's continual in-game habit of wiping the bottom of his shoes with his hands -- kicking up a shoe against one hand and then the other -- isn't about stretching or getting loose. Usually he does it as the opponent is coming up in backcourt but on at least one occasion this year, he did so while locked in man coverage inside the arc. "I'm just getting a grip. And I think it's getting to the point where I do it even when I don't need to do it. But if I don't want (my opponent) to beat me, I better have a good grip."

  • Low's vote for best-dressed player on the team is fellow senior Jeremy Cross. "He has a lot of knowledge about fashion." For worst dressed, Low picked himself. "I just don't care. Especially when it's cold, I'll wear almost the same thing day after day."

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