PULLMAN, WA-If DaVonte Lacy’s freshman campaign at Washington State University were a movie, the reviews might have read something like this:
In his first supporting role, Lacy emerges as a pleasant surprise with range: graceful from beyond the arc, tenacious when on-screen with more-seasoned actors and, for you action buffs, some rim-shaking dunks. 4 out of 5 stars.
By most accounts, the Curtis product’s first year with the Cougars was successful. An honorable mention on the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, Lacy became a starter early and one of WSU’s most consistent outside shooters, averaging 8.5 points a game, and defenders. He also shared ball-handling duties against the Pac-12’s best backcourt defenders.
The next logical question: What will Lacy do for an encore during his sophomore season?
Whatever he does, his role won’t be that of a wide-eyed freshman.
“This being my sophomore season, I know what to expect,” he told Patch. “Last year, I didn’t know the pace of the game. I didn’t know the intensity.”
“For myself, I just want to build off last year.”
To be sure, this year’s squad doesn’t look like the same WSU product. Point guard Reggie Moore was dismissed from the team during the offseason. Marcus Capers, Faisal Aiden and Abe Lodwick have graduated.
The Cougars’ still have their most prolific scorer in Brock Motum.
And of course, there’s Lacy, who’s expected to contribute more in all parts of his game. With Moore’s departure, he’s expected to share ball-handling duties with redshirt senior Mike Ladd. He will also be expected to defend the opposing team’s best backcourt scorer most nights, something that he and Coach Ken Bone discussed at the end last season.
Lacy says he has plenty of room to increase and diversify his scoring.
“I think people got the impression I was just a shooter last year,” he said. “Going out to this season, I’m out to prove I’m not just a shooter. I can also be a scorer.”
He doesn’t have to convince anyone who followed him while playing for the Vikings. Through the first two games – convincing victories over Eastern Washington and Utah Valley – Lacy has averaged 13 points, 3.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 28 minutes a game.
Bone is also looking to Lacy to be a floor leader, and he’s showed glimpses of it already. For instance, against Eastern Washington, the Tacoma native drove the right side of the key and dumped the ball to Shelton, who was a few feet away from the basket. Instead, of diving to the hoop immediately, Shelton dribbled once and was fouled. Lacy immediately was in his big man’s ear after the whistle, telling him that he should have gone up strong.
WSU hopes Lacy will become even more of a leader as the season progresses. The Pac-12 – which sent only one team to the NCAA Tournament last year – looks to have improved.
Lacy says it’s his team that could be the surprise of the conference.
“I don’t think they know how good this can be or how hard we work,” he said.
Up next for WSU is a 7 p.m, game against Pepperdine - the team the Cougars beat last year in its lone "home game" in Seattle - in Malibu.
Brent Champaco is a journalist who claims he can make it as a sports journalist. Don't let him fool you.