Bone in a Midwest recruiting frame of mind

YOU MAY HAVE heard Ken Bone's staff restructuring was done for recruiting reasons. But what exactly does that mean? Bone talked with CF.C this morning about that subject and others, including the how and why of Jeff Hironaka's new staff role. He also addressed the next steps for would-be Cougar center Richard Peters and whether Peters' Westwind Academy teammate, Demarquise Johnson, will qualify.

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With Hironaka moving to the role of player development/special assistant to Bone, the head coach is looking to fill the newly opened assistant coaching slot with a recruiting crackerjack.

"I really wanted to add an assistant coach with different recruiting ties and contacts around the country ... Mainly the Midwest. If they can also help back East and maybe into the South, then that would be a bonus. But it's mainly the Midwest," said Bone.

Like Bone, Hironaka's basketball roots are exclusively in the Pacific Northwest. And so are assistant coach Curtis Allen's.

With that as a backdrop, it's probably no surprise that the 2011-12 Cougar roster included more players from the state of Washington than any time since the Marv Harshman Era of the '50s and '60s.

BONE SAID THE MOVE will strengthen the staff in recruiting and other areas. Hironaka, he said, will be in charge of academics, studying video tape and playing a key role in scouting, as well as still be working with players in practice.

"I really hope it doesn't come across like Jeff is being demoted," said Bone when asked about that perception that has been floated on the CF.C message boards. "This is a positive for Washington State University basketball. Jeff is one of my closest friends, he's my guy ... he's extremely valuable to our program. He and I will work as closely together as close as anyone on our staff.

"I feel very comfortable with him philosophically, we've been together for years. I'm in his office more than anybody's, continually bouncing things off him, and that won't change. I'll still be conferring with him continually."

HIRONAKA'S SALARY WILL change but total compensation, when it's all said and done, might not.

"His base is slightly changing, but there are ways to supplement that -- the base salary is a small change but there are other ways to supplement ... I'm taking care of him the best I can and we do have to make a new hire," said Bone.

Bone, who is headed out of Pullman later tonight for a coaching clinic in Chelan, said finding just the right recruiting dynamo to his staff could take some time. Or not.

"When I find him, and I'd love to do so sooner than later but ... it's just like recruiting a player, you want to get it right," said Bone.

BONE CONFIRMED THAT center Richard Peters, who signed with the Cougars in the fall, has failed to qualify and is looking at junior college options. But he'll remain on Bone's radar.

"We're continuing to communicate with Richard and at this time we're waiting to see where he ends up to play junior college basketball. He's definitely someone we're going to continue to follow and we have a good relationship with him…and he really wants to be a Coug," said Bone.

Bone also said he's more optimistic on the qualification chances of Demarquise Johnson who like Peters, is from Westwind Academy in Phoenix.

"Definitely. Que is working at getting a higher test score, were in a holding pattern to see what those scores are," said Bone.

Johnson told CF.C recently he was 10 points shy of qualification on his latest SAT. Some bloggers and fan recruiting sites in recent days have said opined it's "doubtful" Que will qualify and one said that there are also issues with Westwind Academy's courses.

"He's been gone from Westwind for five months, now it's a matter of that (SAT) test score," said Bone.

Test scores from the penultimate SAT on May 5 are due out by the week of June 1. The final SAT test is on June 2, with results due out by the week of June 29.

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