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Pac-12 leading scorer Motum back at Washington St

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Pac-12 leading scorer Motum back at Washington St

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) The cupboard isn't completely bare for Washington State, not with Pac-12 leading scorer Brock Motum returning for his senior year.

But the Cougars have few other returning players with experience.

Guard Davonte Lacy is the only other starter back, and only Mike Ladd and D.J. Shelton saw any significant playing time last season.

Coach Ken Bone sees the lack of experience as an opportunity, not as a problem.

``I've been in this situation before over the years, where you are kind of looked at as an underdog, and you don't have this and you don't have that,'' Bone said. ``A lot of times those are the groups that pull together as a team and maximize their talent.''

Chief among things the Cougars don't have is a point guard, after senior Reggie Moore was recently kicked off the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. Moore, a three-year starter, was the second-leading returning scorer at 10.2 points per game and led the Pac-12 with 5.2 assists per game.

In his place will be Lacy (8.5 points per game) and Royce Woolridge, a transfer from Kansas who red-shirted last season. Neither is a true point guard.

``Defensively he will give us a lift,'' Bone said of the 6-foot-3 Woolridge.

The most talented player is likely to be Motum, who led the Pac-12 with an average of 18 points per game last season. The 6-foot-10 forward made 55 percent of his field goals, and added 6.4 rebounds per game

Bone needs Motum, an All-Pac-12 first team selection, to provide some leadership.

``He's not a rah-rah guy,'' Bone said.

``He's going to have to take another step on the defensive end and with his rebounding to help us out,'' Bone said. ``He will score points.''

Last season, Washington State advanced to the championship round of the College Basketball Invitational before falling in the series 2-1 to Pittsburgh. They also tied for eighth in the Pac-12 with Oregon State with a 7-11 league mark.

Their 19-18 overall record marked the team's sixth-straight winning season, the longest such streak since 1991-96.

But lost to graduation were productive players like Marcus Capers, Faisal Aden and Abe Lodwick. Patrick Simon and Mike Harthun transferred.

That means players like Woolridge, Ladd, Shelton, Dominic Ballard and Dexter Kernich-Drew must do more.

Bone said one way to accomplish that is to instill more confidence in those players.

``Making sure everybody understands that we can be successful, that we have some talented players on the floor,'' Bone said of his top priority.

Bone likes the way the Cougars bonded during a five-game tour of Australia in August. He doesn't think the loss of Moore will hurt the offense, and may improve the defense.

Top recruit Demarquise Johnson was ruled academically ineligible to play this season, but is enrolled at WSU and could play next year, Bone said.

Washington State added freshmen Brett Boese and Richard Longrus this season. They also picked up transfers Jordan Railey and James Hunter and walk-on Keaton Hayenga.

Ladd averaged 5.4 points and three rebounds last season in limited playing time before he was injured. He's been named a team captain for the second consecutive year, and Bone expects him to bring leadership to the program.

Shelton averaged 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds.

``He's definitely gotten bigger and stronger, and that could equate into playing more physical basketball, which we need,'' Bone said.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler