Bone is pressed on lack of rebounding

COACHES AND THEIR athletes often talk about areas where they need to improve. And sometimes when pressed on the subject, it gets really interesting.

Washington State coach Ken Bone again was asked again about rebounding during his Thursday teleconference — an area that some think will determine the outcome when the Cougars host rival Washington at 7 p.m. Sunday (TV: FSN) — and he tried to provide some specifics.

Bone said it is important to avoid penetration and short-distance shots because that puts teams in position to get offensive rebounds. WSU (14-6 overall, 4-4 conference) was somewhat successful at that during a 65-63 loss Saturday against Arizona. But the Wildcats negated some of that by converting 11 of 18 3-pointers.

And when Arizona missed from the outside, 6-foot-8 forward Derrick Williams generally came up the rebound. Williams shot just 4 of 13 from the field, but still managed 17 points. He had a game-high 19 rebounds — nine on offense — which led to second- and third-chance opportunities or free throws. He made 8 of 13 from the stripe.

Bone said all those factors represent the worst-case scenario when a team cannot get a defensive rebound.

"It's a little deflating to work hard for 20 or 25 seconds (and allow an offensive rebound)," he said. "It really puts you on your heels and makes you vulnerable to fouls."

Bone said that is where defenders setting screens becomes important. He noted that junior forward Abe Lodwick does a "fantastic" job of screening an offensive player out of position to corral a rebound, but cannot ask every player to do that. Junior center DeAngelo Casto averages a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game, but Bone said asking him to screen out a defender might not make sense because it could put him out of position to collect a rebound.

While the Cougars rank last in the Pac-10 in rebounding defense at 36 per game, the No. 18 Huskies (15-4, 7-1) are first in the conference in rebounding offense at 40.3 per contest.

"We need to be physical and understand every time a ball goes up, it's a battle for a rebound," Bone said.

HE ALSO WAS asked about the potential for both programs to sustain success. After three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, Washington posted losing Pac-10 records in both 2007-08 and 2008-09 before returning to the postseason the last two seasons. WSU also has experienced fleeting success dating back to George Raveling's tenure. The Cougars advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 1980 and '83 under Raveling, but had losing records in the season following those appearances. More recently, the Cougars advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and '08 under Tony Bennett, but have not returned since. WSU fell to last place in the conference with a 6-12 record in the Pac-10 under Bone last season.

"We've played better basketball even though our record is about identical to last year," Bone said. "We've handled adversity well."

He said junior wing Klay Thompson's 8-foot shot that did not fall against Arizona was an example of that. Bone said it was a good shot that "probably 8 out of 10 times on your home court, that goes in."

Bone said the Huskies are the best team in the Pac-10 right now, but he is hopeful that the Cougars also can become a consistent contender in the conference.

"I'm anxious to get seniors next year," he said. "I think you need that at WSU. The teams that have been good here have had juniors and seniors."


  • Bone did not utter the words "must win," but he did say the difference between entering the midpoint of conference play at 5-4 versus 4-5 is significant.

    "That's where we want to be," he said. "This is another opportunity to beat a very good team and put us in a very good situation."

  • Junior guard Faisal Aden will play against the Huskies, Bone said. Aden has experience sporadic soreness in his left knee and missed last week's game against Arizona State, but played against Arizona. Bone said Aden's knee probably will not be 100 percent until May or June.

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