Relax. Aden still on track for WSU

WASHINGTON STATE basketball coach Ken Bone failed to mention junior college sensation Faisal Aden when discussing incoming recruits at a recent booster function in Yakima, and that sent the rumor mill shifting into overdrive. CF.C talked to both Aden and assistant Ben Johnson, however, and here's where things stand.

Relax, Ben Johnson says. Cougar fans will be watching Faisal Aden nail 3-pointers at Friel Court in no time.

"He's doing really well (academically). He did really well on his finals," Johnson, a WSU assistant coach, said Wednesday.

Aden planned on arriving to WSU in May-June but will have to settle for just arriving "on time." He'll miss out on most of the unofficial summer workouts in Pullman while completing some summer classes and earning his Associate of Arts degree.

"I'm currently in summer school here in Florida," Aden told CF.C Wednesday, "I have a couple classes and then I'll be finished. I'm going to head out to WSU at the end of July.

"I want to probably try and get out there as soon as I can -- I wanted to get there early but I have to take some extra classes. I have three classes but one of them is only a couple weeks long, so it's more like two."

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Aden said WSU has stayed in close contact, monitoring his progress.

"We talk all the time," said Aden. "They've come and visited me and we've got a lot of paperwork going back and forth."

ADEN SAID his primary focus these days is in the classroom but he's also maintaining his shooting touch on the court.

"My classes are really spread out so after studying I have a lot of time. I've been in the weight room a lot more, I'm trying to add about 15 pounds over the summer..I've been trying to go every day," said Aden.

Aden played at around 187 pounds over his 6-4 frame this past season. He estimated he was around 190-192 pounds currently. Fifteen pounds sounds like a lot to gain over the summer months though, does it not?

"If you aim high, you'll end up pretty good," said Aden.

And getting to Washington State is on his mind.

"I'm anxious. I think about it every day. We will have a really good team, I believe -- and I believe were are going to do some things, build some good team chemistry and it should be exciting," said Aden.

BORN IN THE impoverished African nation of Somalia, Aden moved to San Diego in grade school and graduated from high school in Dallas. He wound up at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., when he was unable to meet NCAA Division I academic requirements after signing a letter of intent with New Mexico State.

"He's fine," Johnson reported. "He's working hard."

Aden led Hillsborough with 23 points per game last season. The Hawks won the Suncoast Conference, and Aden made first-team all-league. Note: Aden's listed ppg might be a little low -- the official NJCAA site looks to be missing some of his games, including an outing where he scored 31 points.

Official stats have him averaging 3.0 steals a game, shooting 43 percent overall from the field and 32 percent on 3-pointers. He made 74 percent of his free throws and also logged 3.3 assists and 4.05 rebounds per game.

JOHNSON HAS OTHER important things to worry about besides JC guards. Wife Nicky presented Johnson with the couple's second child last Wednesday, a boy named Aziah.

"Hopefully, he'll get his athletic genes from his mom," Johnson joked. "He'll be a point guard. His mom was a point guard."

Johnson played and coached in the Australian pro ranks after playing with former Cougar coach Tony Bennett, a childhood friend, at Wisconsin-Green Bay. Nicky was playing pro ball in her native Australia when she met her future husband.

The Johnsons had their first child, daugher Samira, 16 months ago.

"I'm done -- no more!" Johnson said with a laugh.

NOTABLE NOTES:

  • In women's hoops, KiKi Moore, who started at point guard as a freshman at WSU last season, has transferred to Fresno State.Moore, a San Francisco native who reportedly grew homesick in Pullman, must sit out next season to satisfy NCAA Division I transfer rules. Moore led the Pacific-10 Conference in steals (3.3) and turnovers (4.9) per game. She averaged 12.0 points, second on the team to April Cook (14.0).

  • Winston Bell, who played basketball at Washington State from 1988-90, is the new head basketball coach at Beamer High in Federal Way.

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