Bone: ‘There should be criticism'

WASHINGTON STATE has struggled since it advanced to the NIT Final Four in 2011 and the criticism of coach Ken Bone seemingly has increased each season since. Bone was asked about that, the Cougars' 7 p.m. game Wednesday against Oregon State (TV: Pac-12 Networks) and much more during his Tuesday teleconference.

In February, CF.C's Howie Stalwick reported that athletic director Bill Moos had not made a decision on whether to retain Bone. While Moos ended up bringing Bone back for another season, he repeatedly has indicated the fifth-year WSU coach is on the hot seat after the Cougars finished 13-19 overall and 4-14 in Pac-12 play last season. Speculation about Bone's future has not subsided as WSU (8-10, 1-5) is off to a slow start.

Based on a question from Moscow-Pullman Daily News reporter Tom Hager, Bone said frustration among fans is merited.

"There should be criticism," said Bone, who enters the OSU game with a 78-75 record with the Cougars.

Bone said there is no magic elixir outside of winning.

"What breeds that confidence is having success on the court," he said.

Among the players Bone feels has struggled with confidence is center Jordan Railey, a transfer from Iowa State. He noted that Railey missed several close shots before Saturday's 76-55 loss at California. Railey made 2 of 4 shots and scored four points during that game.

"Hopefully that will give him a little more confidence," Bone said. "He really has not played with a lot of confidence."

Or consistency. That could apply to several players, though. With the exception of redshirt freshman guard Que Johnson, no consistent scorer has emerged since junior DaVonté Lacy sustained a rib injury Jan. 5 at Arizona State. Bone told CF.C that Lacy won't return before their game Feb. 1 against Washington and even that is "wishful thinking." With a small rotation, Bone said that means others must emerge on a consistent basis.

"I feel like all of those guys need to step up," he said. "We need those top guys to produce.

"We've scored an average of 49 points in conference play. That won't get it done in a lot of games."

One player who continues to do that is Johnson. Despite shooting just 4 of 11 from the field against the Golden Bears, he made 8 of 9 free throws en route to a team-high 18 points. Bone said he and other coaches warned Johnson that teams would be more physical defending him, which is what transpired at Cal.

"They're starting to pay a little more attention to him," he said. "Cal was very physical with him. I thought Que handled it well. He attacked and got to the free-throw line."

The Cougars will need more of that against the veteran-laden Beavers (10-7, 2-3). Led by senior guard Roberto Nelson (21.5), OSU features four players who average double-digit points per game.

"We're going to have to play a great game," Bone said. "They've shown they can score from a lot of different positions."


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