A rebuilding season is nothing new for Washington State basketball. The Cougar basketball program has been in a state of rebuilding more often than it hasn't. Cougar fans are well aware of the process, the low expectations and the low points that are part of it all.
They are also well aware of the breakout seasons.
Being a fan of a downtrodden program is not easy. Year after year of losses piling up and being picked to finish last. The thing is though, eventually those rebuilding efforts pay off. It may take multiple efforts from different coaches to happen, but it does happen and when it happens, the result is a season fans don't forget. The Cougar football season appears to be in the midst of a breakout season and now the basketball program will have the chance to do the same.
Washington State doesn't rebuild like some programs do. The Cougars can't load up with a half-dozen All-Americans and be expected to turn things around in a single season. Instead, when the Cougars' rebuilding effort comes to fruition, it's usually a surprise to most. A combination of things come together and WSU goes from picked to finish near the bottom of the conference to a surprise contender.
On paper, that would seem to be an arduous task for Ernie Kent and Company this season. It seemed like an arduous task in 2006 and 1993 too.
The Cougars started to make progress in Ernie Kent's first season. They have an opportunity to make even more this season. They should make progress this season. The only question is how much.
-- Mark Sandritter
By The Numbers
If you’re hoping for computer projections and prognostications to give you a lot of hope heading into WSU’s basketball season, you’re probably looking to the wrong place: Virtually everywhere you look, the Cougars are predicted to finish at or very near the bottom of the Pac-12.
Ken Pomeroy’s laptop says WSU enters the season as the 152nd best team in the country, 12th in the Pac-12. Sports Illustrated says No. 127 and 12th. TeamRankings.com says No. 129 ... and 11th! (ahead of Washington!) Additionally, the Pac-12 media picked the Cougars 12th, and by a wide margin.
But projections are just that: Informed guesses as to what will happen in the future. If the Cougs are going to beat these projections and make a push for some form of postseason, here are some key statistical areas that will likely come into play.
(Most stats via the totally awesome KenPom.com)
Improve that awful, awful defense
Ernie Kent's calling card has always been his offense, and that was taken to an extreme in his first season at the helm of WSU: No team in the country had a greater differential between its adjusted offensive efficiency rank (No. 71) and adjusted defensive efficiency rank (No. 313). Ken Bone took a lot of heat for his poor defenses, but none of his teams even came close to allowing the 1.14 points per possession in conference play (Pac-12 median: 1.04) that Kent's first team did. Such is the power of exceeding expectations.
The biggest culprits were an inability to protect the rim and generate turnovers; the Cougars ranked 11th in the conference in 2-point defense (52.4 percent) and 12th in takeaways (just 12.7 of opponents' possessions ended in a turnover). In espousing the athletic virtues of his newcomers, Kent said he made a dedicated effort to improve that part of the team. Valentine Izundu, a transfer from Houston who is now eligible, should provide additional rim protection. And the team has forced a ton of turnovers in its exhibitions, which indicates an emphasis there.
The defense will almost certainly never be elite under Kent -- none of his teams at Oregon ever finished above 54th in adjusted defensive efficiency -- but if WSU can improve in those two areas, it would help the team take a step forward.
Replace DaVonté Lacy
Because of the era of WSU basketball in which he played, Lacy likely will never get his due for just how good of a player he was. That's a shame, because he really was awesome. And WSU has a tall task in terms of replacing his production.
Lacy dominated the ball more than any other Coug -- more than one in four possessions ended with the ball in his hands -- and he was efficient to boot. Now, those shots have to find their way elsewhere.
Will they fall to Josh Hawkinson, who actually led the team in efficiency last season? And will he be able to maintain his superior efficiency under an increased workload? Ike Iroegbu could also be a candidate for increased opportunities; Kent recruited junior college point guard Charles Callison with the idea in mind that it would allow Iroegbu spend more time off the ball.
Or could Que Johnson -- at one time considered to be a top 100 recruit before falling off the map -- finally deliver on his enormous potential?
Someone will need to.
Pick up some offensive boards
Put simply, WSU was one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the entire country last season -- the Cougars grabbed just 26 percent of their own misses, ranking 311th nationally. Poor offensive rebounding isn't necessarily a huge problem; a number of programs eschew the offensive glass in an effort to get back and prevent transition buckets. (Hello, Tony Bennett and Bo Ryan!)
Unfortunately, that wasn't WSU: the Cougars had both poor offensive rebounding and short defensive possessions (17.9 seconds on average, 94th-least nationally). That's ... not a good combination.
For all his defensive rebounding prowess, Josh Hawkinson could stand to pick up a few more of his teammates' misses. Izundu seems to have the requisite athleticism to sky for some offensive boards. And one of Junior Longrus' few measurable contributions is offensive rebounding -- he's in line for more minutes this season.
Will it add up to more second chances for WSU? More bites at the apple lead to more points ... and hopefully better defense, as opponents are pulling the ball out of the net.
-- Jeff Nusser
The Gravitron Diaries
I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited for this basketball season. I haven't been this ready to go since a certain NBA All-Star was raining threes throughout the Pac-10. I plan on being on my sofa Friday evening to watch this game, brown liquor in one hand and "SPORTSMANSHIP" pennant in the other. I really want to believe in this Cougar team.
Here's the kicker: I really am not convinced this team will be any good.
Last year, I was not really enthused about the selection of Ernie Kent to coach this team. I thought Bill Moos had a giant stack of cash and could really go out and get anyone he wanted within reason. So the selection of someone we figured was probably going to be Ken Bone's successor left me wondering how many phone calls Moos actually made to fill the position. Perhaps what I should've been wondering was why I spent so much time worrying about such an obvious choice.
And again: I don't know if this team is any good.
I promise to not make rash declarations before Christmas. I'll probably break that promise.
Win or lose, Ernie Kent is a great steward for our University. His excitement for his players is infectious. I've caught that bug. He has sold me and continues to sell me in the potential of this team and the future of this program. I am looking forward to an exciting brand of basketball, where Ike Iroegbu flies past defenders, Valentine Izundu and Junior Longrus take turns jumping over backboards and Josh Hawkinson drains 15 footers like balled up socks in a Nerf hoop. Renard Suggs and Viont'e Daniels took a combined 21 shots in the last game. For all you knew, I might have made those names up. But I didn't. And I'm excited to meet them along with you.
So here's where I'm at. I don't know if this team is any good. I've said that. I want to find out. And I promise to not make any rash declarations before Christmas. I'll probably break that promise. But I am excited to find out which way that declaration leans. Because I don't know!
Go Cougs. I am genuinely looking forward to watching these guys play for the first time and hope our fan base catches on to the wave of endless positivity from their coach.
Just please don't lose to Idaho again. That is really gonna be tough to spin a second time.
-- Kyle Sherwood
Ernie Kent's Rebuild
By just about any measure, Ernie Kent's first season as head coach at Washington State was a successful one. Not only did he improve both the overall and conference win totals from the previous year, he did it with a pleasing uptempo style of play that put a little bit of fun back in WSU hoops for the first time in years.
The team was immediately better, the sort of thing you expect when you hire a high-priced coach.
But while 2014-2015 was good relative to expectations, Kent wasn't hired to win 13 games, and he wasn't hired to finish 8th in the conference. He was hired to get the Cougars back into the NCAA tournament -- a place he landed five times in his 13 seasons as head coach of Oregon -- for the first time since 2008.
Frankly, that's an unlikely destination for this year's team. But that's the eventual goal as Kent continues to remake WSU's roster, which suffered from severe talent depletion under Ken Bone.
Kent came to WSU with a reputation as an ace recruiter. At Oregon, he successfully recruited eight consensus top 100 players to Eugene between 1997 and 2010; WSU, by comparison, recruited just one -- Klay Thompson -- in that same time frame, and hasn't recruited one since.
If you're wondering what's so magical about top 100 recruits, they actually make it significantly more likely that team will make it to the NCAA tournament. Thanks to some data provided to us by Sports Illustrated's Dan Hanner and crunched by our own Brian Anderson, here's how the presence of former top 100 recruits (as classified by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index) affects a team's likelihood of advancing to the Big Dance:
Now, this is for all of Division I, so the numbers on the low end are skewed just a bit -- teams in low-major and mid-major conferences make up the vast majority of Division I, and virtually all of those teams have zero top 100 recruits. But that analysis cuts the other way, too: If you're in a high major conference, playing against teams with top 100 recruits, your road to the NCAA tournament is a lot tougher.
Everything changes if a program can land just a couple of top 100 recruits. Secure two, and a program's chances of making the NCAA tournament double. Entice four to your campus? The NCAA tournament is a 50/50 proposition before the season even tips off.
*By the way, can you guess the one team with nine or more top 100s that didn't make the NCAAs? We'll put the answer in the comments.
Obviously, having top 100 recruits isn't everything when it comes to making the NCAA tournament; WSU famously had zero top 100 recruits when it twice advanced to the NCAA tournament under Tony Bennett in 2007 and 2008, ascending into the top 10 of the AP poll at one point and earning a pair of top four seeds in the process. Clearly, it can be done.
But just as clearly, those Cougars were the exception rather than the rule. (And lest you think Bennett is still working his diamond-in-the-rough magic at Virginia, his 2010-2014 teams featured four, one, three, three and four top 100 recruits).
If you catch fans in a moment of honesty, they know this is the case -- "It's not the Xs and Os, it's the Jimmies and Joes," right? If it wasn't the case that teams with more talented players are more likely to be better overall, coaches wouldn't fight so hard over the most talented players.
Kent was no exception to this at Oregon; he had at least one top 100 recruit on each of his rosters (except for his first one, for which there is no top 100 recruit data). Here's a look at the rate at which he turned those into NCAA tournament appearances:
|Top 100s ||No. Of Teams ||Years ||NO. Of NCAAs ||Years ||PCT Of Making NCAAs
||99, 00, 03, 04, 09, 10
||05, 06, 07
This is pretty much in line with what the probabilities tell us you'd expect. About the only thing a little out of whack here is that he only made it one time with those four top 100s, but making it twice with just one makes up for it.
Additionally, Kent's Ducks were at their very best when they were talented and experienced. For this graph, put together by Eric Winters, I assigned a value to each top 100 recruit based on their year in school -- one point for a freshman top 100, two points for a sophomore, etc. -- to come up with a roster total and compared it to the team's ranking by Sports-Reference.com's Simple Rating System:
Pretty clear pattern, yeah?
Here's why this matters to WSU: With two recruiting classes and the 2016 early signing period in the books, Kent has yet to land a top 100 recruit, and doesn't even appear to have been seriously in play for one -- the vast majority of WSU's recruits under Kent haven't even had other reported high-major offers. One of the premises upon which Kent was hired was that he had the pedigree to attract high-level recruits to Pullman, even after being out of coaching for four years. That hasn't come to fruition yet.
Perhaps it is taking Kent some time to reestablish recruiting ties; the world of grassroots basketball is an ever-changing amoeba, and four years is a long time to be away from that ecosystem. Perhaps he is putting all of his energy into the 2017 class, which is currently projected to have seven scholarships available. Perhaps he's just lost his touch.
Whatever it is, if Kent continues to put together recruiting classes at WSU that are substantially less heralded than what he was able to assemble at Oregon, he'll have to buck his own established history -- as well as probability in general -- if he's going to return the Cougars to prominence.
-- Jeff Nusser
Ernie Kent has the tough task of replacing a pair of starters, including last season's leading scorer and program great, DaVonte Lacy. He, Dexter Kernich-Drew and Jordan Railey combined for 30 points per game, and to replace that — along with Railey’s size — Kent will turn to a handful of junior college transfers mixed in with an experienced group of returning players.
33 - Brett Boese - F - 6-7/230 - SR
30 games, 16.5 minutes, 4.3 points, .377 FG%, .361 3FG%, 1.2 reb., 0.9 assists
Boese's minutes quadruped as a junior, though about 15 minutes a game off the bench sounds about right this season. Strictly a perimeter player, Boese will ideally knock down a couple triples a game while providing a spark on defense, though he could shoot himself into significant minutes with an effective outside shot.
23 - Charles Callison - G - 6-0/183 - JR
*33 games, 20.3 minutes, 15.4 points, .418 FG%, 36.5 3FG%, 2.9 reb., 4.1 assists
Callison, a junior college transfer, is expected to open the season as the starting point guard. The junior has above-average athleticism and possesses good size, which allows him to excel on the defensive end. Callison isn't a pass-first point guard, but he's still able to dish it and carries with him a decent jumper that couples nicely with his ability to attack the rim.
2 - Conor Clifford - C - 7-0/283 - JR
*35 games, 22.5 minutes, 14.7 points, .634 FG%, 6.2 reb., 0.8 assists, 1.1 blocks
As one of the biggest additions this year, both literally and figuratively, Clifford provides much-needed size on the defensive interior, and should pair nicely with Izundu as a platoon at center. The junior college transfer, who started his career at UC Irvine, has good hands and excellent footwork, which he'll use to create high-percentage scoring opportunities.
4 - Viont'e Daniels - G - 6-2/163 - FR
Stats not available
Daniels, the consensus Washington 4A player of the year, is a smart guard with a balanced game. He can light it up from beyond the arc and plays aggressive defense, though there's room for improvement there, which should develop as he builds up his strength. With Iroegbu and Redding ahead of him, Daniels may not see the floor this year, and that's not a bad thing.
22 - Robert Franks - F - 6-7/250 - FR
Stats not available
Not unlike most true freshman, Franks isn't completely ready for Pac-12 basketball and will likely see limited minutes this season, if any. However, he's a matchup problem with his size, as he can play both inside and out. His game is best tailored to work from the mid-range in with an ability to create shots off the dribble. In time, Franks has a chance to be a quality Pac-12 player.
24 - Josh Hawkinson - F - 6-10/232 - JR
31 games, 32.7 minutes, 14.7 points, .500 FG%, .853 FT%, 10.8 reb., 1.1 blocks
No longer a mystery to the rest of the conference, Hawkinson will look to build on a sophomore season that saw him average a double-double, lead the nation in defensive rebounds per game (8.7) and be named the Pac-12's most improved player. Clifford and Izunudu will provide depth on the inside, which should allow Hawkinson to find more mid-range scoring opportunities, while also taking a load off of his defensive responsibilities.
2 - Ike Iroegbu - G - 6-2/195 - JR
31 games, 27.0 minutes, 8.9 points, .435 FG%, .356 3FG%, 2.8 reb., 3.4 assists
With the DaVonte Lacy gone, Iroegbu will be counted on to pick up some of the scoring slack at shooting guard, especially with Callison taking over point guard duties. He'll be expected to play more minutes as a junior and will have plenty of chances to score inside and out in the Cougars' up-tempo offense. A big season could be in store for the Cougars' electric guard.
45 - Valentine Izundu - C - 6-10/235 - RJR
Stats not available/transfer redshirt year
Izundu, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, is unlikely to be anything more than a rebounder on the offensive end, however his length on the interior allows him to be a defensive force. The Houston transfer can swat shots both on- and off-ball, and while his offensive game is nearly non-existent at this stage, he'll be a difference-maker in the paint.
32 - Que Johnson - G - 6-5/208 - RJR
31 games, 18.0 minutes, 6.1 points, .387 FG%, .364 3FG%, 2.3 reb., 1.0 assists
Is this finally the year that Que puts it all together? The former four-star prospect saw his minutes drop last season and was never able to put up back-to-back solid games. Expected to start at the wing, Johnson will be one of many asked to help make up for lost scoring. One of Kent's priorities will be to get Que more involved on the offensive end. He has all the tools.
0 - Derrien King - F - 6-6/170 - SO
23 games, 7.3 minutes, 11.8 points, .417 FG%, .370 3FG%, 3.3 reb., 1.0 assists
King, also a junior college transfer, is a lengthy wing that shoots it well from the perimeter, though he's probably a year or so away from being much of a slasher to the hoop due to his slender frame. Nonetheless, he's a capable scorer outside of the paint and will provide another rangy body on the defensive end, though there's still work to be done there, as well.
15 - Junior Longrus - F - 6-7/240 - SR
31 games, 11.7 minutes, 1.5 points, .500 FG%, .321 FT%, 2.9 reb., 0.5 assists, 0.4 blocks
Longrus does a lot of everything and provides a needed spark off the bench, especially on the defensive end, but he saw his minutes cut in half last season and doesn't ideally fit in Kent's system. Likely just a defensive substitute, Longrus is a proven leader that will provide positives in small spurts throughout the season.
3 - Ny Redding - G - 6-2/166 - SO
31 games, 19.4 minutes, 4.1 points, .400 FG%, .231 3FG%, 1.7 reb., 3.3 assists
Redding stepped in and did a decent job distributing the ball as a true freshman last season, though Kent clearly saw a need to upgrade the position with the addition of Callison, who is now the expected starter. While Redding doesn't bring a lot to the table offensively, he should do enough on the defensive end and in the assists department to see significant minutes spelling a suddenly crowded backcourt.
1 - Renard Suggs - G - 6-2/188 - JR
35 games, 26.9 minutes, 13.5 points, .415 FG%, .376 3FG%, 3.4 reb., 2.7 assists
Suggs is a pure scoring guard and expected to log major minutes this season. The junior college transfer is able to handle the ball, but he's probably best at the off-guard. He has a decent perimeter shot, but what makes Suggs special is his ability to get up and down the floor and attack the rim with authority. Suggs could end up being a double-digit scorer this year.
-- Britton Ransford
Once the season tips, Washington State travels out of the Palouse just once until January 14 when they take on the Sun Devils in Tempe for their fourth conference game. That lone trip is to Hawaii for the holidays to play in the Diamond Head Classic. Rough.
The Cougars opened last year with two road games and that wasn't a fun thing because they didn't win those games. Now they're playing games at home and that's fun. There will be other games, as well. Some will be enjoyable games and other games will be not so enjoyable, but we're here to help you get started.
December 2 vs. Gonzaga
In the final year of their current three-year agreement — and possibly the final year of their long-running series — the currently ninth-ranked Bulldogs travel to Pullman to take on the Cougars in each team's fifth game of the year. It will also be the first nationally televised game for the Cougars.
Washington State has lost four straight in the series but should be a more improved version of last year's team that lost at Spokane Arena to the then tenth-ranked Bulldogs, 81-66. This is the first of two top-10 non-conference opponents the Cougars will play, the students will be in town and no one likes Gonzaga, so it should be a great environment.
December 10 at Idaho
The Cougars lost to Idaho last year at home, snapping their 11-game win streak against the Vandals, and it wasn't a fun thing that happened.
WSU was 5-of-30 from deep and let the Vandals dictate the pace until the clock hit zeroes, confirming what we all probably already knew: we were in for a long season. But, it's a new season and this will be the 110th consecutive meeting between the cross-border rivals, so that's a pretty cool reason to follow along, even if the game isn't expected to be competitive.
December 22-25 at Diamond Head Classic
Joining the Cougars in the Diamond Head Classic are Auburn, New Mexico, Oklahoma, BYU, Harvard, Northern Iowa and Hawaii, which is a really, really cool mix of teams and should make for a fun tournament. Washington State, however, opens with the toughest of them all, facing eighth-ranked Oklahoma on Dec. 22. That should be a very good test for the Cougars and a second marquee matchup of the preseason.
From there, you get a chance to potentially face Northern Iowa, New Mexico, Harvard or BYU, each of whom received NCAA bids last year. And don't forget Bruce Pearl, who will be rocking some crazy jacket, and should have Auburn playing well.
It's a fun bracket that, if nothing else, should give the Cougars a chance to play a lot of quality competition in what's expected to be another rebuilding year. Each team will play three games, so you'll get to open presents with the Cougars on Christmas.
January 9 vs. Washington; March 2 at Washington
First of all, we need to get something straight. This isn't the Apple Cup and when you call it that, it makes you sound like a silly buffoon. Also, be careful calling out Husky fans (or media) when they use this incorrect terminology because they'll resort to mom jokes. Seriously, though, you don't want to subject your mother to this.
Anyway, back to basketball. WSU will host the Huskies to open the series on January 9, though that game will be at noon on the Saturday before spring semester starts, so that's tricky and not fortunate. The rivalry moves to Seattle for a Wednesday night clash at 8 p.m. on March 2, which is the last regular season conference game.
The media isn't expecting much out of WSU and UW this season, picking the Cougars to finish 12th and the Huskies to finish 11th in the Pac-12 preseason poll. Those could end up being accurate predictions or they could be wrong, but rankings don't matter when these two match up and it's going to be fun watching not the Apple Cup.
-- Britton Ransford
Best And Worst Case Scenarios
A year ago, Josh Hawkinson was entering his sophomore season coming off a rather unimpressive freshman debut. There was significant question whether he'd even be an adequate starter. Instead, he proved to be one of the best players in the Pac-12. Now, WSU is relying on a whole new crop of unproven players. That makes for a relatively unknown roster. It also makes for an uncertain season. We know what the media expects, but until they take the court for real, we don't know this cast of Cougars is really capable of.
We'll learn quickly, but there is a wide range of how this season could go.
If everything breaks right
We all saw the jump Hawkinson made between his freshman and sophomore seasons. That doesn't mean he's done progressing and instead of just being one of the best players in the Pac-12, Hawkinson is one of the most-productive post players in the entire country. He racks up double-doubles with ease as the centerpiece of the roster.
Hawkinson isn't alone, however. Que Johnson finally fulfills on the potential he came to Pullman with. He's not Klay Thompson, but he becomes a very reliable scorer and No. 2 threat behind Hawkinson. Think Faisal Aden, but longer and more efficient. Charles Callison makes an immediate contribution and fills the gaping hole at point guard that's existed since Reggie Moore left. Renard Suggs also contributes immediately and is instant offense off the bench. The entire roster seemingly progresses. Hawkinson is the headliner, but WSU gets contributions from the entire roster. Everyone fills a role and makes a difference.
The Cougars turn in a strong preseason, finishing 10-2 with only narrow losses to Gonzaga and Oklahoma. Not many expect much from them during the Pac-12 slate, but they prove the non-conference success was no fluke and nab a few wins early. No major upsets, but steady progress throughout the season. The offense continues its progression from last season. The defense isn't great, but also progresses led by Junior Longrus and Valentine Izundu who combine to be more than adequate rim protectors.
Washington State finally scores a signature win, upsetting California in Pullman late in the season. WSU caps the regular season with a sweep of Washington. They finish a respectable sixth in the Pac-12. Behind Hawkinson, the Cougars get rolling in the Pac-12 Tournament. They make it two in a row against the Bears in the championship game as Hawkinson scores 40 points to top the Bears.
WSU makes a miraculous run to the NCAA Tournament and draws the ire from all the bubble teams. They are sent to the First Four as a No. 11 seed where they win and advance. They lose in a close game the next round, but are one of the rising teams heading into the offseason. Hawkinson gets mentioned as a Player of the Year candidate for the 2016-17 season and the Cougars even draw preseason Top 25 votes. Kent signs by far his best recruiting class yet.
If everything breaks wrong
Hawkinson is still very good, but regresses some as teams focus on him heavily. His counting stats remain close to the same, but he doesn't get to them in an efficient way. The Cougars rely on him too much and force the ball into him at times.
That happens because the rest of the roster can't fill the void around him. There are good games from an array of players, but no consistency. Kent shuffles lineups frequently trying to find some mix that works. The youth of the roster struggles to take the next step forward. That becomes a bigger problem because the junior college players Kent recruited and relied on struggle to adjust to the Pac-12 level.
Heading into the season, Kent praised the depth of the roster and how stiff the competition is for playing time. That proves to be because the Cougars don't have legitimate Pac-12 starters and shuffling the lineup only yields the same result with different players.
The Cougars win a handful of games in the non-conference but get blown out by Gonzaga and show very poorly in the Diamond Head Classic. Pac-12 play isn't any better. An early season loss to Washington drops WSU into the Pac-12 cellar. They get blown out by the good teams and add a couple of frustrating losses along the way. They finish conference play just 6-12, good for last in the conference. They are one-and-done in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Hawkinson decides to forgo his senior season and instead heads to Europe to play. There is significant shuffling on the roster as several other players depart for the second straight offseason. Kent struggles to fill the roster spots on the recruiting trail, once again taking a home run swing with a handful of unheralded junior college recruits. WSU heads into the 2016-17 with no clear leader and even more question marks than when Kent was hired two years ago. The only watch lists the Cougars make are ones involving hot seats.
-- Mark Sandritter
CougCenter Hour Preview
First, we talk to Ernie Kent about what he expects from a junior and senior heavy squad as they try to navigate their way through a still difficult Pac-12 conference. Then, we sit down with June Daugherty ahead of her ninth season at the helm of WSU's women's team. What's the plan for replacing nearly two-thirds of their scoring and how will the switch to four, 10 minute quarters effect them? We'll get to all that and more!
Design: Mark Sandritter | Contributors: Jeff Nusser, Kyle Sherwood, Britton Ransford, Michael Preston | Special thanks: Tim Cato, Graham MacAree | Photos: WSU Athletic Communications