Bone: No change in Moore's status, but ...

WASHINGTON STATE SOPHOMORE point guard Reggie Moore remains suspended. But coach Ken Bone said during his Tuesday teleconference that Moore could start when the Cougars play at 7 p.m. Thursday against Arizona State at Friel Court.

There was some Internet speculation that new facts might have emerged against Moore, against whom marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges were filed Jan. 4 by the Whitman County Prosecutor's Office. But Bone said "nothing changed" and that he will make a determination on Moore's status when they meet. He said that will occur no later than Wednesday morning.

Some questioned the timing of Moore's suspension for Saturday's game at Stanford because he was cited in December. But Bone said was a matter of having the necessary information before making a decision.

"After the Cal game on Thursday driving to Palo Alto, I felt what I had what I needed," he said. "It's just the process took longer than I expected."

WITHOUT MOORE, WSU (13-5 overall, 3-3 conference) earned its first Pac-10 road victory of the season with a 61-58 win at Stanford. The Cougars now are 6-0 when Moore, who missed the first five games of the season because of a wrist injury, does not play. They are 7-5 with him.

"I think part of that was competition," said Bone, referring to the caliber of teams WSU has played with Moore. "We played some good teams. Our kids have kind of rallied and did a nice job when he was not in there."

If Moore, who is not practicing during his suspension, plays, Bone said junior guard Faisal Aden will return to his customary role off the bench. Aden converted 8 of 19 shots en route to 20 points against the Cardinal as a starter. But Bone said he values the offense Aden provides as the sixth man, comparing his role to Boston Celtics Hall of Famer John Havlicek, who also came off the bench. Aden averages 14.6 points per game.

"We are more used to that rotation at this point of the season," Bone said. "I just think with the dynamics of the team it's best to bring him off the bench."

He said some of that is related to Aden being a natural shooting guard rather than a pure ball handler and playmaker.

"Faisal is kind of wired to score," Bone said. "He's thinking 'score first and pass third.' "

WHILE THE POINT-GUARD situation was in flux last week, Bone said he was pleased with the play of junior wing Klay Thompson, who converted 12 of 22 shots to score a season-high 36 points in an 88-81 overtime loss Thursday at California.

"Klay has become a very well-rounded player," Bone said. "He just continues to get a little better all the time."

He also was asked about Thompson's NBA prospects and said he hopes the team's leading scorer, at 22.9 points per game, puts himself in position for that.

"I hope so," Bone said. "I know that's his dream to get to the NBA."

Thompson will see a couple of different looks this week as ASU (9-8, 1-4) features its traditional match-up zone, while the Cougars host Arizona (TV: FSN-NW) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Wildcats (15-3, 4-1) predominantly use man-to-man defense.

Bone said he uses the nonconference games to focus on areas where WSU needs improvement, but focuses more on breaking down the schemes run by opposing teams during the conference slate. While he acknowledges that ASU and Arizona feature vastly different systems, Bone said the Cougars are accustomed to that as they already have faced Oregon State and Oregon.

The Sun Devils have struggled offensively this season — they shoot just 42.7 percent from the field — but still feature senior guard Ty Abbott. He averages 13.4 points per game and hits 38.4 percent of his 3-pointers.

"That young man can really play," said Bone, adding that the coaching staff has not determined who will guard Abbott. "He just finds ways to score."

The Wildcats feature a different challenge. Derrick Williams, a 6-foot-8, 241-pound sophomore, is considered a likely NBA lottery pick if he elects to forego his final two seasons of eligibility. Williams averages 19.7 points per game — he is the only Arizona player who averages double figures — and shoots 65.8 percent from the field.

The Cougars limited Williams' offensive opportunities as they swept the Wildcats last season. Williams averaged 14.5 points per game in those contests, but attempted just 17 shots.

Bone said he has seen the Wildcats three times on TV, but almost nightly sees Williams in the highlights. He anticipates Williams will provide a greater challenge for his team this season.

NOTABLE NOTE:

  • Steven Bjornstad, a 6-foot-10 center, has only played twice this season because of knee problems. Bone said Bjornstad could play, but is not fully healthy. The sophomore is able to perform most of the team's drills during practice, though, he said.


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