Nov 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Washington State Cougars guard DaVont Lacy (25) dribbles the ball in the second half of their Old Spice Classic game against the Butler Bulldogs at HP Field House. The Butler Bulldogs beat the Washington State Cougars 76-69. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
It had to happen to DaVonte Lacy, didn’t it? The Washington State Cougars’ best shot at upsetting the Arizona teams next week is on the sidelines after getting an emergency surgery to remove his appendix.
True enough, Mississippi Valley State had no hope against the rest of the Cougs on Saturday evening, but Arizona is next folks. While there are guys in the backcourt that can fill it up, there’s nobody on WSU’s team that puts fear into another roster like Lacy might, at least not a team remaining on the schedule. Lacy can and generally does explode at some point in any given basketball game, holding a type of Wildcard for Wazzu, but there’s more to his game than the 18.9 per he’s putting up.
The only positives I see in this whole thing are that D.J. Shelton might have to focus more on trying to take games over from the paint now. Ken Bone could really use this to focus everybody up, actually. Somehow in the past, whenever the most important Coug has gone down for a game or two the team actually plays better “team” basketball under Bone. It’s weird. The young guys are forced into more playing time and “yada, yada, yada”, there’s things you can point to and actually improve as a team while Lacy’s down and I’m sure Bone will do that.
But to me DaVonte was/is the key to any success in this quickly approaching Pac-12 season. The Cougs played another pretty pathetic non-conference preseason and did pretty poorly, only going 8-6. They only really overachieved in the Old Spice Classic tournament down in Orlando, and even then they came away with a 1-2 record. Lacy was hot-as-the-devil down there. It doesn’t leave much for optimism.
So I guess the thing I’ll be watching for is how the young guys respond. I’m not suggesting they’re going to mail-it-in, just that the Pac-12 could get rough. Ike Iroegbu, Que Johnson and Brett Boese need to play well right now for the Cougars to even keep it respectable, but more importantly to get a start on the future of Cougar basketball. These guys are going to be the core in two seasons and if there’s one place where Bone has impressed me these last couple of seasons it’s in his ability to somehow have recruited some possibly prime-time guards to Pullman as the program flutters.
By the way in Washington State’s 85-48 pasting of the extremely over-matched Delta Devils last night, Que put in 19 while Ike put up a pedestrian, but I suppose only necessary 6 points. Junior guard Royce Woolridge put up 16, which I wish he could do during a game when the whole team was around him on a regular basis. He seems to thrive when somebody gets injured, but fades to the background when everybody’s good to go.
At any rate Lacy’s status is still unknown at this point. He was not feeling well on Saturday and decided to go into the doctor several hours before game-time. The decision was then made to give the Coug’s shooting star emergency appendicitis surgery and the extent of the damage is unknown. The Cougs definitely won’t have him available in Tuscon and I would venture to guess not for a while. The opening slate is Arizona, ASU, Colorado and then Utah with all games taking place by the 12th. I’d say Lacy is gone for at least that much time.