PULLMAN - All you need to know about Reggie Moore's toughness and ability to survive is that he spent part of his childhood living a gunshot away from the rugged Little Saigon neighborhood near Detroit.
“It was rough,” Moore said.
Those same words would aptly describe the second half of the 2009-10 basketball season for Moore and his Washington State teammates.
Moore, flashing one of his frequent smiles, said he’s confident there will not be a repeat of last season’s late collapse.
“We’re a lot tougher this year,” the sophomore point guard said. “We’ve got a little bit more athleticism, which is cool.
“We just bonded as a team really well, too. We’re getting to know each other a lot better and knowing Coach (Ken) Bone’s system.”
Moore was the prize recruit Bone landed as a late signee after Bone replaced Tony Bennett as coach last season. Moore was often brilliant while the Cougars posted a 10-2 record against a lightweight nonconference schedule, but the freshman point guard and the team as a whole played inconsistently down the stretch and finished last in the Pacific-10 Conference.
“Last year, I wouldn’t say we didn’t believe in ourselves, but this year I think we believe in ourselves to the extreme,” Moore said.
“We know what we can do and the talent we have and the key players we have and our coaching staff. Last year, we just kind of lost focus sometimes. We were really young.
“Sometimes, we didn’t know how to win games.”
The senior-less Cougars return all five starters from a team that finished 16-15 overall and 6-12 in the Pac-10. Moore earned Freshman All-America honors by averaging 12.7 points and 4.2 assists per game.
“I do think a lot of people forget that I was a freshman,” Moore said. “That’s fine. Whatever.
“I think I played pretty well. I kind of had a slump at the end of the year. That’s just due to fatigue and not knowing really what to expect and mentally just being focused.
“This year, I’m pretty ready for it. I know what to expect now.”
As usual, Moore worked out in the offseason with NBA players such as cousin Aaron Brooks of the Houston Rockets, Nate Robertson of the Boston Celtics and Jamal Crawford of the Atlanta Hawks. All four came out of high-profile prep basketball programs in Seattle.
“It’s good to play against them because you see them on TV and you know they’re in the NBA,” Moore said. “Once you see you can compete at their level, it’s kind of shocking. It really instills a lot of confidence in you.”
Moore said his cousin passed along some tips that Brooks picked up while touring China with veteran Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash during the summer.
“Just learning your body, not going fast all the time,” Moore said.
Moore’s long-range goal is an NBA career. The former Rainier Beach standout said his immediate goals are centered on winning a conference championship (which hasn’t been accomplished at WSU since 1941) and playing in the NCAA tournament.
To accomplish those goals, Moore and his teammates should act quickly. Junior wing Klay Thompson said he’ll pass up his senior year to turn pro if the time is right, and Moore said Thompson is “definitely” ready for the NBA.
Moore was recently named the best passer in the Pac-10 by Sporting News magazine. Thompson was not surprised.
“He’s going to lead this team,” Thompson said, “because he’s a great passer. He’s going to score, too.
“He’s a year older. He’s going to take his game to a higher level.”
Marcus Capers, guard
School/hometown: Montverde/Winter Haven, Fla.
Height: 6-4Weight: 185
PPG: 6.9APG: 1.5RPG: 4.1
FG%: 55.9FT%: 81.4
Klay Thompson, guard
School/hometown: Santa Margarita/Ladera Ranch, Calif.
Height: 6-6 Weight: 202
PPG: 19.6APG: 2.3RPG: 5.1
FG%: 41.2 FT%: 80.1
Reggie Moore, guard
School/hometown: Rainier Beach/Seattle
Height: 6-1Weight: 180
PPG: 12.7APG: 4.2RPG: 2.4
FG%: 41.7 FT%: 79.4
DeAngelo Casto, forward
Height: 6-8Weight: 255
PPG: 10.7 APG: .52RPG: 7.0
FG%: 49.8 FT%: 59.0
Abe Lodwick, forward/guard
School/hometown: Mountain View/Bend, Ore.
Height: 6-7 Weight: 208
PPG: 2.5 APG: .36RPG: 1.8
FG%: 39.3 FT%: 84.6
The Cougars are a year older, but are they any wiser? WSU’s second-half collapse last season was one for the ages. The Cougars must shore up their defense substantially to crack the upper half of the Pac-10.
Pac-10 players name Klay Thompson the league’s best player in an ESPN The Magazine poll. Thompson says he wants to win the Pac-10 Player of the Year award. That’s the type of take-charge attitude the Cougars love.
Spread the wealth
Junior college transfer Faisal Aden appears to be the type of 3-point gunner who can draw opposing defenses away from Thompson. Point guard Reggie Moore and forward Patrick Simon also can light it up from the perimeter.
13vs. Southern Univ. 5 p.m.
16vs. Idaho 7 p.m.
23vs. Portland 7:30 p.m. Cougar Hardwood Classic at KeyArena TV: FSN
26 at Fresno State 7 p.m.
30vs. Sacramento State 7 p.m.
3vs. Kansas State 8 p.m. Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series TV: FSN
8vs. Gonzaga 8 p.m. TV: FSN
10vs. Texas-Pan American - a 7 p.m.
19at Santa Clara 7 p.m.
22vs. Mississippi State - b noon TV: ESPNU
23Baylor or San Diego - b TBA TV: ESPN2
25 Opponent TBD – b TBA
29at UCLA * 8 p.m. TV: FSN
31at USC * 3 p.m. TV: FSN
6vs. Oregon State * 7 p.m.
8vs. Oregon * 7:30 p.m. TV: FSN
13at California * TBA
15at Stanford * TBA
20vs. Arizona State * 7 p.m.
22vs. Arizona * 7:30 p.m. TV: FSN
30vs. Washington * 7 p.m. TV: FSN
3at Oregon * TBA
5at Oregon State * 5 p.m. TV: FSN
10vs. Stanford * 7 p.m.
12vs. California * 2 p.m.
17at Arizona * 5:30 p.m. TV: FSN
19at Arizona State * TBA
27at Washington * 7 p.m. TV: FSN
3vs. USC * TBA
5vs. UCLA * TBA
9Pac-10 tournament TBA Las Vegas
10Pac-10 quarterfinals TBA Las Vegas
11Pac-10 semifinals TBA Las Vegas
12Pac-10 championship TBA Las Vegas
a - at Spokane; b - Diamond Head Classic at Honolulu; * - Pac-10 Conference No. 11 Faisal Aden, guard 6-4/185, junior, San Diego/God’s Academy/Hillsborough (Fla.) JC
No. 12 Brock Motum, forward
6-10/230, sophomore, Brisbane, Australia/Australia Institute of Sport
No. 25 Dré Winston, guard
6-1/166, freshman, Lakewood/Lakes
Ken Bone, second season, 16-15 record