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Archive for December 17th, 2007

Cougs hang steady in both major polls

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 17, 2007

The Cougs are hanging tight at No. 6 in the latest coaches poll and No. 7 in the latest AP poll, both released this morning. No big surprise here, what with the light schedule of games across the country as teams finish up finals and the lack of any major upsets. Things will pick up again this week.

Look for my BlogPoll ballot, and the newest edition of the overall BlogPoll, tomorrow.

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW: Rodrigo de la Fuente

Posted by Jeff Nusser on December 17, 2007

Periodically, we’ll try and track down some information on former Cougs from the recent past (read: Since I began college at WSU in 1995). Today’s subject is a man who made a short splash on the Palouse, only to take off too soon from a team that was already embarrassingly short on talent.

Rodrigo de la Fuente, a Spaniard, stood out as one of Kevin Eastman’s few decent recruits in his shockingly awful tenure at WSU. He was pretty much everything we stereotype about European players — he was a so-so shooter but a smart player, solid passer, and did a lot of the little things that help teams win. At 6-foot-6, he also was an excellent defender on the wing.

Too bad he stuck around for less than two years. After a solid campaign in 1996-97, he left the program midway through the next season — he was averaging 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists — to seize an opportunity to return to Spain and play for FC Barcelona. De la Fuente was never looked at as a superstar in Pullman, but he parlayed his talent into a long career in Spain. He had played his entire professional career for FC Barcelona until this year, as he now plays for Benetton in Italy.

The highlight of his career overseas appears to be a silver medal finish with the Spanish national team at the 2003 European Championships. He also won numerous national championships. And it appears his M.O. didn’t change when he got to Spain, averaging 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds over his career, but was named the league defensive player of the year in 2003-04.

But when all is said and done, anyone who attended a game in Pullman in which de la Fuente played will remember him best for this: The way Glenn Johnson used to say is name. You just had to be there.

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