Bone not stressing about nontraditional point

SINCE REGGIE MOORE was dismissed from the program, a lot of the discussion around Washington State's men's basketball program has centered on the point guard position. But coach Ken Bone said during his Tuesday teleconference that not having a traditional point guard is nothing new to him. Bone also looked ahead to the 7 p.m. Wednesday game against Utah Valley (TV: Pac-12 Networks).

Bone estimated that in half of his seasons as a coach, his teams did not have a traditional point guard. But when he coached from 1990 to 2002 at Seattle Pacific University, he frequently watched another coach without a traditional point guard. George Karl compiled a 384-150 record and guided the Sonics to the NBA Finals once during the 1990s with Gary Payton as his point guard.

"When Gary Payton came out and was on the Sonics, he became more and more of a scoring point guard," Bone said. "Coaches are allowing them to do more and create."

That is not to suggest that WSU (1-0) features a player of Payton's caliber. But neither did Portland State, where he coached from 2005 -09 and guided the Vikings to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.

"At Portland State, there was a few years where we didn't have a traditional point guard and we competed pretty well," Bone said.

"They're hard to come by nowadays. We're getting by with a nontraditional point guard. We're just going to go without that like some teams go without a center."

In the Cougars' case, they might be without both. Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge made his first start at point guard and finished with seven points and two assists during Saturday's 88-69 win against Eastern Washington. As far as center is concerned, WSU lists both Brock Motum and D.J. Shelton as forwards. The latter had a team-high 12 rebounds and six points against the Eagles.

"D.J. did a great job on the glass the other night," said Bone, adding that he believes the 6-foot-10 Shelton has enough range to eventually make 15- to 18-foot shots consistently. "What he needs to do more than anything else to take a step forward is relax and let the game come to him. We would like him to slow down just a little bit."

Shelton might be tasked with defending 6-foot-9 Oklahoma transfer Nick Thompson, but Bone said the coaches have not determined who will have that task yet. Thompson has averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds this season for the Wolverines (1-1).

"There's been Thompsons before lighting up Beasley," said Bone, referring to former WSU standout Klay Thompson. "Hopefully this one doesn't do the same."

Bone said he watched Utah Valley's 67-54 loss Friday at UIPUI, but not Monday's win at North Carolina A&M. He said he is familiar with coach Dick Hunsaker from competing against him in the past.

Right now, he said the early season games are more about improving as a team, but he added that "we also need to respect our opponent."

  • Bone said the team's health seemingly changes each day. He said it is fine right now, but sophomore wing Dexter Kernich-Drew walked around campus with a protective boot over his ankle after the Nov. 6 preseason game against Saint Martin's.

    "Kernich-Drew tweaked it on last play on game against Saint Martin's," Bone said. "He got bumped on the way down and came down awkward."

  • Bone said he did not have an opportunity to watch Monday's television hoops marathon. But because WSU plays Nov. 19 against Kansas in Kansas City, Miss., he will make a point of watching the Jayhawks' next contest.

  • The Cougars anticipate signing three players this week, Bone said. Because of NCAA rules, he cannot name those individuals, but CF.C has listed commitments from Shorewood High center Josh Hawkinson, guard Ikenna Iroegbu and forward Tanner Lancona.

  • Cougfan Top Stories