Future Coug burning up the net

AT ONE POINT this year, future Cougar Faisal Aden was the leading scorer in junior college basketball. Meanwhile, WSU's Klay Thompson was leading the NCAA in scoring. So imagine what the two of them might do on the same Washington State team next season – because Aden already has..

With opponents throwing the defensive equivalent of the kitchen sink at him of late, Faisal Aden (6-4, 185) is averaging 25.8 ppg, placing him No. 6 in the NJCAA in scoring. Earlier, his scoring average was above 30. Klay Thompson, meanwhile, is second in the nation in the NCAA at 24.3.

Aden, out of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., has thought often about the two hooping it up in Pullman next year.

"It's going to be special. I'm really excited about playing with Klay Thompson," said Aden.

ADEN SIGNED HIS Letter of Intent to Washington State back in November. He's scheduled to graduate in May and doesn't plan on wasting any time getting up to the Palouse.

"I'm going to come up there early. I told them I want to come up early, start working out and start getting ready as soon as possible," said Aden.

The Cougs and Aden have stayed in close contact, talking several times a week.

"We talk all the time," said Aden. "Basically we talk about the mix of things for when I get up there. And they remind me how important I am to them and how excited they are."

ALONG WITH THE 25.8 scoring average, Aden is connecting on 47 percent of his shots from the field (109-234) and is hitting 75 percent of his free throws. From three-point land, he's shooting 34 percent (27-79).

"Teams have been focusing a lot on me lately, double teaming and the whole thing. I'm doing alright, though," said Aden.

ADEN SAID HE'S been working this season on his defense and being a vocal leader -- in effect trying to be another coach out on the floor. His work on D, particularly in anticipating the pass, is quantifiable -- he's averaging 3.6 steals a game.

And of course there's always extra work put in on ball handling and shooting, he said.

"I'm doing well but I feel like I can always do better. My favorite quote is, 'The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.' "

FROM BEYOND THE ARC:
EVEN THOUGH HE'S signed a binding Letter of Intent, with the internet being what it is, anyone can create an anonymous user name and claim all kinds of authority and inside knowledge. And with that, rumor and falsehood can sometimes appear, and there has been a smattering of rumor and falsehood regarding Aden's commitment to WSU out in cyberspace these past couple of weeks.

Aden is mystified by it.

"That's nonsense. I've seen some crazy things out there, but I don't pay any attention to it. I can't wait to get to Wazzu, I'm very excited about being a Coug," said Aden.


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