Washington State's Faisal Aden Making Early Case for Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year
Really? Two games into the season and someone is already giving out awards?
That would be unfair and irresponsible for anyone to make the case for any player to win an award at this point in the season. But it's never too early to starting creating a resume.
Washington State's Faisal Aden (pronounced Phase-el Aid-in) through two regular season games, is averaging a team high 22 points to go along with four-and-a-half rebounds in 30 minutes of play per game. He also leads the team in steals with six.
The 6'4" transfer from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla. has been the scoring leader in both of the team's first two games against Southern University and last night when the Cougars hosted Idaho and won 88-71 to improve their record to 2-0.
As a freshman at HCC, the native of Somalia, averaged 20 points, three-and-a-half rebounds, and just over two assists and steals a game. He entered his sophomore season as a preseason All-American and saw statistical improvement across the board.
Now at Washington State, his numbers have not dropped off.
From afar. people might notice these early numbers and say he's a benefactor of preseason Wooden award candidate Klay Thompson's presence but if you watch the games as I have, I can honestly say that's not the case.
Aden, has more shot attempts than Thompson and a better field goal percentage including being more efficient from three point territory with both having equal shot attempts. While Thompson has grown into a player who shoots better when he receives the ball and is able to set his feet, Aden has shown the capability to create off the dribble and pull up and knock down a jump shot from anywhere on the court.
In an exhibition game against Lewis-Clark State back on November 5, Aden poured in a team high 22 points in just 19 minutes coming off the bench.
Due to an injured left wrist for point guard Reggie Moore, which has him labeled as day-to-day, Aden has found himself in the starting lineup the first two games.
When Moore comes back, it will be interesting to see how head coach Ken Bone adjusts his lineup. Will Aden stay in the starting lineup which would most likely mean taking the place of Marcus Capers? Or leave Capers in who despite his offensive deficiencies, is a terrific defender and currently team leader in rebounds averaging just under ten a game.
Aden gives the Cougars something they lacked last year. Another pure scorer to help relieve Thompson of trying to carry the team offensively. The Cougars have not had a duo of scoring threats in a long time if ever.
Even during their back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2007 and 2008, Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver only averaged 14 and 12 points respectively. But much of that could be attributed to the team's style of play back then when scoring wasn't exactly No. 1 on their priority list.
It's easy to scoff and look at the Cougar opponents and try and diminish Aden's early performances, but I just want to throw his name out there and put it on your radar.
Aden and the Cougars travel to Seattle next week for their annual Cougar Hardwood Classic where they will host Portland at Key Arena on Tuesday, November 23 at 7:30 PM
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