One-on-one with Cougar coach Ken Bone

KEN BONE hasn't had much time to fully decompress and analyze the 2010-11 season but in speaking with a few days after WSU's NIT semifinal loss to Wichita State, he offered insights on the season generally, his offense, Klay Thompson's future, Patrick Simon's playing time and much more.

"I am really pleased that our guys were able to pull off 22 wins in what had to be one of the toughest schedules in Washington State history," Bone said when asked to characterize the entire campaign. "We beat some really good teams along the way, we were able to get to New York and play in the NIT. I think our guys accomplished a lot."

Here are Ken Bone's thoughts on some high and low points from the 2010-11 season:

CF.C: What was your most memorable moment of the season?

Bone: Probably getting to New York and competing in the NIT, although we played so poorly, that's a feat Washington State has not been able to do. You have to have a good team to do that. I was really proud of the guys, that they were able to fight through difficult circumstances and off-the-court issues.

We lost a few games along the way that were disappointing losses but probably not unlike any other season. You look back and think, shoot, we should have won a couple of those games, like Stanford here and Arizona State down there. Man, I'd love to play those games again.

CF.C: What was your most forgettable moment of the season?

Bone: Probably the Wichita State game. The disappointment that we ended the year playing so poor. We had a game like that in early February at Oregon. It was similar. We just never got it going. We never had any real runs offensively. You can't win a game scoring 44 points. Defense is important, but you also have to be able to score. Those two games we couldn't manufacture points.

CF.C: The UCLA game in Pullman was a loss, but it still sticks out as one of the best performances of the season. Do you recall planning strategy for that game?

Bone: That would have gone down as probably the greatest win of the season if we had been able to pull it off, and we were pretty darn close. The strategy was to minimize possessions and really try to take their best players out of what they were capable of doing.

CF.C: Have you ever considered going to more of a possession-type game?

Bone: Not very often. There have been times, it's either do that or it's next to impossible to win. That's kind of how I felt that day. Coming off the USC game that was outstanding and the Washington game, playing so well, then you don't have your horses for UCLA. You've got to make some drastic changes.

CF.C: Patrick Simon was a factor early in the season, then he all but disappeared from the rotation during the Pac-10 season. What happened, and can he rebound?

Bone: The main thing with him is, he's a really good shooter, but he didn't have a good year shooting. He was shooting the lights out until about Christmas, then he had a hard time finding his two-point shot. Brock Motum and Abe Lodwick had good years, and since they were playing well, it was hard to get time for Patrick. More often than not, I went to Abe or Brock. Pat's time went down because he didn't shoot the ball well. But he'll get there. Abe Lodwick, he didn't shoot the ball well at all his first year, and the next year, he was starting.

CF.C: What do you expect next season from DaVonté Lacy and Greg Sequele, the two players you signed in November? (Editor's note: We didn't ask him about the third member of the class, verbal commit D.J. Shelton, because coaches aren't allowed to comment on players who have yet to sign their LOIs.)

Bone: In DaVonté, we see a young man that has a good body and can play right away, but I don't put a lot of expectations on freshmen. It's a difficult transition. He's a good, solid basketball player. Greg Sequele, he's a little more on the raw side, similar to Dexter (Kernich-Drew) who redshirted this year. His best years are down the road. He would be a redshirt candidate, but I'm not sure we can afford to redshirt him right now because of his size.

CF.C: Any insight as to whether Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto will return for 2011-12?

Bone: I'm sure Klay with test the waters and see what's going on. I'd be surprised if he didn't put his name in the draft. DeAngelo, I'm not sure whether he'll test the waters or not.

CF.C: If Klay doesn't return, how do you replace his scoring?

Bone: You do it with different guys. I'm not sure we have a guy who can average what he does. It's done more by the team, rather than one individual who is scoring a lot. It could be Brock, he could be a better scorer, or Marcus Capers.

CF.C: Washington State fans understood the offensive system of Dick and Tony Bennett, but they're still trying to understand your offensive philosophy. What are you attempting to accomplish?

Bone: It's points per possession. With the type of athletes we have, let's push the ball more. We had a really good scorer in Klay, so we wanted to create some opportunities for him to get the ball in his hands, make space and make plays, and someone who can come off numerous screens. We want to put the ball in our point guard's hands to start the break, then give Reggie chances to make plays. During the conference season, we really tried to go to Casto more.

CF.C: What is your ideal offensive system?

Bone: I like the motion offense or passing game offense, where there is a lot of movement with the ball, good spacing and you try to get the ball to your best players. It's easier to recruit kids when they feel like they can play in an up-tempo system. That's the way I've coached over the years.

CF.C: But isn't it getting difficult to recruit those type of players because many teams have gone to an up-tempo style?

Bone: It's not easy getting those players, but some teams are slowing things down. If you look at teams in our league, USC, UCLA, Arizona State and Oregon State, all those teams play at a fairly slow pace compared to how they were playing five to six years ago.

CF.C: When you're stuck for a solution to a problem, is there someone you turn to?

Bone: I turn to my assistant coaches quite a bit, because that's who I depend on. They're the ones who have the best feel for what I'm trying to accomplish.

CF.C: Obviously one of the story lines to this season were the drug-related suspensions. Any thoughts at rethinking policies?

Bone: We'll try to clean up things as best we can. There are a lot of things that are hard to control. But the things we can control, we're going to really try to put our thumb on and continue to hold guys as accountable as possible. … Drug problems, they're not going to go away. I need to do a good job of recruiting kids of the right kind of character.

CF.C: Now that the season is finished, what do you do this spring, and how to you get away from basketball?

Bone: Recruit, recruit, recruit. I'll work with the players and individual skill developing. I'll basically take care of kids in the program. I'll get away a little bit this summer. We do some things, get out of town. We'll find a way to get over to Lake Chelan for a few weeks.

Cougfan Top Stories