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Xavier Cooper to the NFL and a basketball loss

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Not the best of Fridays for WSU athletics.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year, WSU's football team will have to replace its best defensive player. While Deone Bucannon headed to the NFL after exhausting his eligibility, Xavier Cooper declared with a redshirt senior season still on the table.

There have been rumblings of the move for a while. While it would have been great to have Cooper back for his senior season, the decision does make some sense. Cooper is already 23, making him an older NFL prospect and is in line to complete his degree soon. Most draft experts predict he will be drafted in the middle rounds, so he appears very likely to at least get a shot. If he can catch on as a middle-round pick and start his career, it's hard to fault the move. Still, it leaves a big hole to replace on an already troublesome defense.

The men's basketball team opened Pac-12 play at Stanford and after getting off to a strong start, the Cougars struggled coming in and lost 71-56. Competitive and more entertaining than last season, but ultimately a loss. WSU will have Saturday off before playing at California on Sunday.

*****

Football:

Tacoma’s Xavier Cooper leaving WSU early for NFL Draft | Washington State University | The News Tribune
The football rebuilding process at Washington State took a turn for the worse Friday afternoon when defensive lineman Xavier Cooper informed The News Tribune that he will bypass his senior year and declare for the NFL draft.

Cooper leaving WSU for NFL draft - Spokesman.com - Jan. 2, 2015
Washington State defensive lineman Xavier Cooper will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft this spring. Cooper, 23, is a junior but said he will take online classes to graduate in May with a degree in criminal justice. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman played his high school ball at Tacoma’s Wilson High.

WSU’s Xavier Cooper declares for NFL draft | Cougar Football | The Seattle Times
Washington State junior defensive lineman Xavier Cooper has decided to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL draft.

Xavier Cooper Says Thank You to Cougar Fans - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State redshirt-junior defensive lineman Xavier Cooper has decided to forego his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Men's basketball:

Cougars Can't Sustain Strong Start - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Chasson Randle scored 17 of his 18 points in the second half and Stanford opened Pac-12 play with a 71-56 victory over Washington State on Friday.

Washington State men lose Pac-12 opener at Stanford | Cougar Basketball | The Seattle Times
Anthony Brown offered several reasons for Stanford’s poor start, and he didn’t sound entirely sold on any of them.

Second-rate second half dooms Cougars | The Spokesman-Review
There were a bunch of bullies in Maples Pavilion on Friday afternoon and the Stanford players didn't know how to deal with them.

Video: Ernie Kent after Stanford | The Spokesman-Review
Video: Ernie Kent after Stanford

Women's basketball:

Cougars Open Pac-12 Play Saturday at Arizona - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State opens Pac-12 Conference play with a trip to the desert for a Saturday matchup against the University of Arizona. Tipoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. (PT) on the Pac-12 Networks.