#11 / Guard / Washington St. Cougars
Hometown: San Diego, CA
High School: God's Academy-Texas
Last College: Hillsborough CC
This is the latest in our series of WSU basketball player profiles, a new one of which will hit the site every couple of days until the season officially starts on Nov. 13. You can read the other players' profiles here.
Scouting Report: Faisal Aden comes to the Cougs from Somalia via San Diego via Texas via Florida. One of the biggest questions headed into this season has to be:
How is he going to handle that long, cold, Pullman winter?
Joking aside, Aden looks to be the newcomer with the biggest potential to make an immediate impact. He did just that in WSU's exhibition against LCSC. Faisal became an instant fan favorite as he led the team with 22 points on 9-13 shooting. Ken Bone described him after the game as making it look "effortless." Our own Brian Floyd also came away impressed, especially on the defensive end, where Aden showed some surprising effectiveness.
Of course, with big-time junior college scorers, there is always the worry that they were filling up by just overpowering their opponents physically. Two prime examples come from the failed Rodney Edgerson and Antonio Chavers experiments. Both came to the Cougs in Dick Bennett's second recruiting class. Edgerson was hampered by injuries, but clearly did not have the quickness to get open against Division I opponents. Chavers was uber-athletic, but could do little else to score.
The hope is that Faisal Aden is better than that, and that hope is justified because this kid was a Division I prospect out of high school, actually signing a letter of intent to play for Reggie Theus at New Mexico State before having some NCAA Clearinghouse issues, as Jeff detailed a year ago when Aden sent in his letter of intent. This kid should be more than just a JC scorer, he has the size and athleticism to compete in Division I basketball.
What Coug fans are going to love about Aden is his effectiveness on the outside. When Ken Bone has shooters, he likes to give them the green light to launch from deep. Aden's ability to score in bunches makes him a prime candidate to be that sixth man spark off the bench. This team really lacked a man who could create his own opportunities outside of Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson last year. If Faisal's exhibition performance is any indication, he should bring that ability to the table. If his defensive capabilities are also better than advertised, he could also find himself getting some extended minutes in crucial situations.
Best Case Scenario...Aden's performance against LCSC is on par with what we are going to see all year. He is effective enough on the defensive end to stay in games for long periods of time, potentially even taking over Marcus Capers's starting role. He makes opposing defenses pay for giving too much attention to Klay Thompson. This also allows Klay to have a much easier time on offense. Aden's addition makes WSU's offense one of the most potent in the Pac-10.
Worst Case Scenario...Aden isn't ready for Division I basketball. He has a hard time getting open looks and finds himself eventually losing minutes to freshman guards.
Likely Scenario...Aden is a spark plug in many games and is the first guard off the bench. He is inconsistent, but has a few performances where he gets hot from the outside and puts up 20+ points. His presence allows Reggie and Klay to get a few more minutes of rest each game, allowing them to be more effective as the season wears on. He gets some extra minutes as Bone falls in love with the idea of having shooters at every position on the floor.