Posted on February 10, 2021
Now, Jackson’s injury is not officially disclosed by WSU yet, but I suspect he’ll miss at least two games.
The Cougars are 2-1 in their last three games, and their next five games are at home. So WSU has an opportunity to soar through the standings and grab a good seed before the Conference tournament.
Jackson was in the process of a very productive month, averaging 7.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in his last 10 games. He quickly became one of the Cougars’ main options on offense with his low-post prowess.
But now the Cougs needs to replace that, and I’ll be honest, the other bigs’ low-post skills are not nearly up to par.
The freshman center will likely have a lot more pressure on his shoulders to produce at the position now that Jackson is gone. And I think it’s fair to say that Abogidi is more of a player who would rather jump over his defender than post them up.
Which is fine to a degree—he’s had some productive games, such as picking up double-doubles in points and rebounds against USC and Washington. But his athleticism will only get him so far against the Mobley brothers form USC, who come up very soon on WSU’s schedule.
Abogidi may see more time at the five, but will likely remain at the four with sophomore center Volodymyr Markovetskyy becoming the temporary starting center for the Cougs.
And that’s the biggest of my worries: Markovetskyy potentially taking over at center.
Markovetskyy certainly has the size to not be pushed around in the Conference, at 7-foot-1 and 270 pounds. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the agility to not get jumped over, outran, or just plain dribbled around by 95 percent of the league.
But it’s not his defense I’m worried about, it’s his offense.
Markovetskyy doesn’t have the ability to shoot from mid-range like Jackson does, and he certainly doesn’t have the off-ball IQ that Jackson has. With senior guard Isaac Bonton flourishing in the pick-and-roll as of late with Abogidi and Jackson, Markovetskyy will have to be on his A-game in the coming games.
With junior forward Aljac Kunc coming back from his brief injury this week, he’s on the list of fill in bigs for WSU. But much like Abogidi, his low post presence isn’t there; however, his three-point shooting is.
Kunc can stretch the floor better than any WSU big, and yes, I’m including Abogidi. Kunc has a quick release, which is very rare for his position, and he has a great awareness on when to shoot those open threes.
Watch out for Kunc to put together some considerable numbers off the bench, or maybe as the starting four for the Cougs in the coming games.
Redshirt freshman forward Brandton Chatfield has barely played any minutes this season, but he may see his number called a little more in the near future. Chatfield has a similar skillset to senior forward Tony Miller, an athletic forward with out-of-the-gym dunking ability.
However, with Miller being in and out of the lineup throughout the season due to a recurring injury, Chatfield will likely see more playing time than Miller.
Other than Chatfield’s ability on offense, he’s struggled on defense in the few games he’s played for the Cougs. Of course, this is probably due to the lack of experience playing in official games, and his defensive abilities will develop with time.
He’s already got the frame and stature for the position at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, and he’s arguably the best sideline presence for WSU during big plays and timeouts—he’s always hyping up his guys.
Chatfield might have an opportunity to become even more of a presence off the bench in coming games.
If I could predict the starting lineup in the next few games with no Jackson, the guards are obviously taken care of and Rodman will likely return at the three. But I’m predicting that Abogidi makes the move to center and Kunc comes in as the four.
It’s unlikely, but Kunc has just one less start than Markovetskyy this season, despite playing three less games. All I’m saying is don’t be surprised if Kunc makes the jump against UCLA on Thursday.
Of course, there’s’ always the chance that Jackson’s injury could be a lot worse than fans anticipated.
That would be detrimental for the Cougs moving forward—to say the least—but they have options to try and make up as much of Jackson’s impact as they can.
—Recent Ryan Root Stories—
- Root: Changes Still Needed for Cougs after Snapping Streak
- Root: Dishon Jackson Moving Up Food Chain for Cougs
- Root: Falling to Arizona was best loss possible for 8-0 WSU
- Root: How WSU can Maintain its Momentum into 2021
- Root: WSU Freshman Hoops Grades after First Two Weeks
- Root: Top Candidates to Replace CJ Elleby as WSU’s Leading Scorer in 2020-21
Root: How will WSU replace Dishon Jackson’s Production?The freshman center has become one of the Cougars’ main offensive options - February 10, 2021
Root: Changes Still Needed for Cougs after Snapping StreakNow that sophomore forward DJ Rodman is back from injury, he must play a bigger role - February 4, 2021
Root: Dishon Jackson Moving Up Food Chain for CougsWSU is beginning to take advantage of the low-post opportunities the freshman gives them - January 27, 2021