Hoops News and Notes

For a day in April, there was a lot of Washington hoops news post-March Madness on Monday. Brandon Roy turned down an opportunity to go pro and Ken Bone took advantage of an opportunity to be a head coach again. What else was going on? Keep reading...

"I was in Las Vegas last weekend recruiting and got a couple of messages from Tom Burman, the Athletic Director at Portland State," Bone said Monday from Portland via telephone after accepting the Vikings' head coaching position. "I called back Sunday afternoon to let him know that I had a good situation at Washington and thanked him for calling me but didn't think it would work out. From that point until last night, he was very honest and showed a lot of integrity in what he was able to do. He put in a great situation for me and my family, so I decided to run with it and I'm excited about the opportunity."

Bone spent the past three seasons as an assistant head coach to Lorenzo Romar. Before that, Bone was a head coach at Seattle Pacific, racking up an impressive 253-97 record, including six conference championships and eight NCAA Division II tournament appearances.

Of the three Washington assistants (Bone, Cameron Dollar and Jim Shaw), Bone appeared to be the one least interested in moving on. But Burman would not be denied. "There's a real excitment and a buzz around here about the (Portland State) basketball program," said Bone. Unfortunately the Trailblazers have not had a lot of success and all of a sudden Portland State has kind of come out of nowhere and become the media darlings. So he (Burman) wanted to capitalize on that. He was able to put together a situation where it was good for me and my family to accept.

"I've spent the past 19 years in Seattle, and in looking at opportunities, I wanted to be a head coach again, but preferably in the Northwest. And you can't get much closer to Seattle if you want to coach Division-1 basketball. I think I could have stayed at U-Dub for at least another three, four, five years and been very content. But it is fun to be in charge and I'm looking forward to that again."

Bone will be reunited in Portland with former Husky hoopster Anthony Washington, who transfered from UW and redshirted this past season.

Even though Romar was caught a little off guard with the immediency of the announcement, he was far from surprised. "As of last week, I had no idea," Romar said Monday. "But if you hire good assistants, they are going to become head coaches. I think it was great that that was able to happen to him (Bone). I imagine that it will also happen to our other guys - Cameron Dollar and Jim Shaw. Whenever that happens, it's cause for celebration. There's no mourning process, although we will miss what he brings to the table. He's very sharp and he's helped us. He was a big part of our recent success."

The Huskies finished the 2004-2005 season with a 29-6 record and a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Bone echoed Romar's thoughts about Dollar and Shaw, but he did have one very important piece to his resume that caught Burman's attention from the starts. "The only thing he (Burman) said was that I have head coaching experience," said Bone. "There's not a whole lot of difference between Jim, Cameron and I as far as who could take over a program and run with it."

Bone was also quick to point out that he's not going to forget his UW experience any time soon. "The experience was unbelievable," he said. "He (Romar) changed the personality and character of the team. Our guys just played together and didn't care about who got the points. I was really impressed with how Lorenzo dealt with the kids in adverse situations and still get the best out of them. Hopefully I can do the same thing down here."

In the ever-evolving coaching carousel, Romar was ready for Bone to step back on. "That's why it's always important to have a short list of guys," he said. "I'm always watching and observing in the event one of our guys leaves and becomes a head coach. And just like talent, competency is very important. Work ethic is very important. Being passionate is very important but also being the right fit for what we're trying to do."

There's no timeline for hiring a new assistant. "We want to make sure we pick the right guy," said Romar. And don't expect the Huskies and Vikings to be playing a game any time soon. "I don't like playing against guys that we've worked with in the past," added Romar.

"We'll pull for them though."

Gasser's ride: It was recently reported that sophomore forward Hans Gasser would be walking on for the 2005-2006 season and giving up his scholarship. That's part of the story. The other part was fleshed out by Romar Monday. Because of the overload of incoming players, Hans Gasser is going to pay his way for one year and then he'll be back on scholarship for his senior season. Scholarships are renewed anually. "In fact, we're not allowed to promise four-year scholarships to players," Romar said. "We're glad he's a part of what we're doing."

Scheduling notes: Because North Carolina's Marvin Williams is going pro, the chances of the Tarheels coming to Seattle this coming season are basically nil. "They probably won't come here, but maybe we'll go there first now," Romar said, breathing some more life into talk of a home-home with UNC. The schedule is expected to be completed soon.

Romar also announced that Washington will be playing in the Wooden Classic in Anaheim, California on December 10th, but did not talk about any of the other teams playing. The Classic is not a tournament but rather a one-day double-header event. UCLA, where Wooden coached, is typically one of the teams invited to play. Since they aren't playing in any exempted tournaments like the Great Alaskan Shootout, Washington will play at least 2-3 fewer games in 2005-2006 than last season.

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