Bone preaching team-first message to Cougars

THERE ARE FEW similarities between Ken Bone's preferred style of basketball compared with his direct predecessors at Washington State. But the Cougars' third-year men's coach sounded a bit like Dick and Tony Bennett during his Wednesday teleconference when his theme was that WSU has no stars and has to embrace a team-first concept to be successful.

Bone guided the Cougars to a 22-13 record and 9-9 mark in the Pac-10 last season. But wing Klay Thompson, who averaged a conference-best 21.6 points per game, and center DeAngelo Casto decided to forego their final season of eligibility. Thompson was a first-round pick by the Golden State Warriors, while Casto -- who now is known as DeAngelo Hamilton -- plays in Turkey. The latter averaged 12 points per game and led WSU with 59 blocks last season.

"We don't have that shot blocker in DeAngelo, that post defender like DeAngelo," Bone said. "We miss his presence on the court.

"We don't have a Klay Thompson."

He said the Cougars do not have anyone on the roster who will be drafted by an NBA team next season. Some WSU players said during the offseason that they felt they relied too heavily on Thompson to win games last season.

The Cougars, who play an exhibition game at 6 p.m. Saturday against Lewis-Clark State College at Beasley Coliseum, will not have that luxury this season and need significant contributions from several players. Others, such as junior Brock Motum, are adjusting to new roles.

Junior Brock Motum hardly has been known as a banger during his time at WSU, but without Casto, he has been asked to play center. Bone said the 6-foot-10, 245-pound Motum has embraced his new role.

"He's gained 15 pounds," Bone said. "I'm not sure how much stronger he is. It has not really affected his quickness at all."

But he said Motum and others have been willing to adjust to help the team fill its needs.

"I see attitude," Bone said. "What I like about the attitude is I see a number of kids accepting their role. That's not easy when you're Brock Motum and we need you to be more aggressive and score."

Motum shot a team-best 59.9 percent last season from the field, but averaged just 7.6 points per game. Bone said he wants him to be more assertive on offense this season.

"I think he's handling it well," he said. "He's a great kid and is not selfish. He's very well liked by his teammates."

After the LCSC contest, the Cougars play at 9 p.m. Nov. 14 at Gonzaga. Bone said his top goal between now and then is to improve the "overall execution of our defense and offense."

NOTABLE NOTE:
  • Bone joked that he felt his team was in good health until the team's trainer arrived at 11 a.m. today. He then learned that three players would be held out of today's practice. Motum and junior point guard Reggie Moore suffered groin injuries during the team's scrimmage Sunday in Post Falls, Idaho. Well, at least the latter did.

    "Brock hurt his, I guess, on the van ride home," Bone said, laughing. "That was the first I heard of it.

    Senior guard Faisal Aden suffered a concussion when he took an elbow to the head during that scrimmage.

    Bone expects all three to play against LCSC.


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