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Basketball: Washington State scouting report

If Gary Franklin bolted Cal because he wasn’t convinced he was team’s point guard of the future, it was partly his own doing.

It was Franklin who talked lifelong pal Justin Cobbs into coming to Berkeley after Cobbs decided to transfer out of Minnesota.

Now Franklin is enrolled in classes at Baylor and Cobbs is counting the days — actually months — until he is eligible to suit up game nights for Cal. It won’t be tonight when the Bears face Washington State at Haas Pavilion.

Beginning next fall, Cobbs will be in the mix among the Bears’ floor leaders, along with returnees Brandon Smith and Jorge Gutierrez. In the meantime . . .

“Just trying to get better, trying to not be complacent,” Cobbs said.

There are times in practice, according to coach Mike Montgomery, when Cobbs takes over.

“He can dominate sometimes,” Montgomery said. “He’s pretty good. He’s hard to guard. He’s very strong. But of course he’s not playing, so it’s hard for him to be motivated every day.

“It depends on his focus.”

Cobbs acknowledges that it’s difficult to maintain that focus when there is no carrot of game night to keep him sharp.

“That’s the thing I need to work on, to make these practices my games,” he said. “That’s going to help me get better, preparing myself for next year.”

Cobbs said he expects to contribute in a variety of ways next season.

“A facilitator, pressure the ball, score, get to the basket. Just help my team.”

Asked to describe Cobbs’ point guard style, Montgomery said, “He can distribute, but he can also score. He can get where he wants to get. For a while today, because his team was turning the ball over, he said, `I’m going to make plays.’ And he’s hard to guard.

“He can cause lots of problems.”

WSU SCOUT: The Cougars are coming off a pair of home victories over the Oregon schools, their first Pac-10 weekend sweep under second-year coach Ken Bone. WSU is a far different team under Bone than with former coaches Dick and Tony Bennett at the helm The Cougars are much more wide-open offensively, although they have improved their defense substantially over a year ago. WSU is third in the Pac-10 in scoring (76.4 ppg) and fifth in defense (63.4 ppg). They rank among the top three in the league in offensive and defensive field-goal and 3-point accuracy.

Junior Klay Thompson, the Pac-10′s leading scorer, has broadened his game from the catch-and-shoot perimeter player he was a freshman. His 92 free throw attempts are third-most in the conference and he is fourth in the league in assists (4.1). The Cougars have benefited from the arrival of JC transfer Faisal Aden, a shooting guard who has combined with Thompson to score 80 3-point baskets. PF DeAngelo Casto is a physical rebounder/shot blocker and sophomore PG Reggie Moore had 25 points against the Bears when the teams met last year in Pullman, Wash.

THOMPSON VS. CAL: Cougars junior wing Klay Thompson has averaged 18.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in four career games vs. the Bears. He has shot 12 for 26 from the 3-point line and 49.1 percent overall. He scored 28 points (23 in the first half) when the teams met last Feb. 13 at Berkeley, one of 30 games of 20 points or more he’s piled up in three seasons.

THE SERIES: Cal leads 72-45. The Bears have won four straight and five of six vs. WSU. When the teams met last year at Haas Pavilion, Jorge Gutierrez contributed 15 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals to an 86-70 win.

ETCETERA: WSU’s Klay Thompson ranks 11th nationally in scoring. He currently stands ninth on WSU’s career scoring list with 1,379 points, most of any active Pac-10 player . . . WSU’s DeAngelo Casto is the league’s active leader in blocks with 132 . . . For what it’s worth: Cal is No. 49 nationally according to RealTimeRPI.com, and WSU is No. 62. How is that possible? Cal’s strength of schedule is No. 5, according to the computer, while the Cougars’ SOS is No. 101.

TIPOFF: 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Haas Pavilion. TV: CSNBA. Radio: 910-AM.

Cal (8-7, 1-2)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
PF Harper Kamp 6-8 Jr. 13.1 5.6
C Markhuri Sanders-Frison 6-7 Sr. 10.0 8.2
SF Allen Crabbe 6-6 Fr. 9.5 5.5
SG Jorge Gutierrez 6-3 Jr. 12.9 4.0*
PG Brandon Smith 5-11 So. 4.3 3.0*
Key reserves
F Richard Solomon 6-9 Fr. 4.7 4.3
F Bak Bak 6-9 So. 2.6 2.7
G Nigel Carter 6-3 Jr. 2.3 1.2

*Assists

Washington State (12-4, 2-2)

Starters Ht Yr Pts Rebs
PF DeAngelo Casto 6-8 Jr. 9.8 6.0
PF Abe Lodwick 6-7 Jr. 3.1 4.2
SG Marcus Capers 6-4 Jr. 6.9 5.1
SG Klay Thompson 6-6 Jr. 22.3 5.2
PG Reggie Moore 6-1 So. 8.6 4.2
Key reserves
F Brock Motum 6-10 So. 7.8 3.1
G Faisal Aden 6-4 Jr. 14.8 3.4
F Patrick Simon 6-8 Fr. 4.4 2.3

*Assists

Jeff Faraudo

  • JMod

    TIPOFF: 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Haas Pavilion. TV: CSNBA. Radio: 910-AM.

    Wow, early tipoff