Old Coug brings his game to practice

PULLMAN -- If only he could play Thursday and Saturday, too. Washington State's Cougar basketballers, losers of five of their last six games, received an infusion of talent in practice Tuesday. Reggie Moore took on the old vet head-to-head and found the challenge exhilarating.

Former Cougar standout Taylor Rochestie, now playing professionally in Germany, is in Pullman this week and was at Beasley Coliseum banging bodies with the Cougs, showing off his lightning-quick speed and deft outside shooting.

NCAA rules allow alums to occasionally come back and practice with their old mates.

Rochestie mostly worked with the second unit, matching him up against Moore, freshman who succeeded Rochestie as WSU's starting point guard. Moore said battling someone with such experience and knowledge is a benefit.

"It's very exciting," Moore told CF.C after practice. "It's always good to have alumni and people who have gone through what you're going through to get pointers and advice." In other practice happenings, sophomore DeAngelo Casto continued to work hard on the glass and on defense. He had some impressive blocks on second-year freshman James Watson and true freshman Steven Bjornstad. Casto also looked sharp with his low-post game, gaining great position for easy put backs or lay-ins.

Post-man Charlie Enquist remains sidelined with an ankle injury. He was in street clothes on Tuesday and also had a boot on his left ankle.

Sophomore guard Marcus Capers was not at practice Tuesday because he is in Florida due to a death in the family. He will be back in time to play against the Bruins on Thursday night, according to WSU's sports information office.

Lone senior Nikola Koprivica had a productive practice, shooting the lights out from behind the arc. The Serbian native connected on 4-of-6 three-point attempts during the team's final 5-on-5 drill.

"The whole season I think I've been shooting pretty well but every practice I need to come in focused and keep working on my stroke," Koprivica said. "I feel pretty confident from outside right now."

Koprivica has only five regular-season games left in his collegiate career, and said the thought of his limited time left in a Cougar jersey is starting to sink in.

"It's getting to me a little bit because senior night is already next," Koprivica said. "But when I step on the court I don't think about it because I've got to keep playing and playing. It's been a great four years ... I'm still fighting and it's been a great experience to enjoy."

The Cougars (15-10, 5-8 Pac-10) are treated with three-straight home games coming up. It starts against UCLA on Thursday (FSN TV) at 5:30 p.m. The Cougars fell to the Bruins 74-62 on Jan. 23, but Moore and Koprivica explained the team knows what they must do in order to come out on top this time around.

"This week in practice we've been working on going against UCLA's zone," Moore said. "It's pretty easy to prepare for a team when you have already played them."

"We need to be more patient offensively," Koprivica said. "Just keep sharing the ball, and get better shots because they play that zone so we have to seek an outside and inside game. Defensively we have to play as a unit, help each other and make sure to not give up on plays."


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