Washington State coach Ken Bone had a very insightful and somewhat provocative interview this morning with Mitch Levy at KJR-AM radio.
It’s insightful because Bone pins most of WSU’s problems on his inability to successfully recruit a point guard. It’s somewhat provocative because Bone also gives a lot of credit to his predecessor Tony Bennett.
Here’s a few snippets.
(How are you able to smile through all of this?) “Well, there’s not a whole lot I can do about it accept get up everyday and go to work and continue to work with the guys in the program and our staff. That’s kind of where our focus has been. Believe it or not, we’re doing the best we can. Unfortunately, we’re not winning games so it’s not good. But I do have a piece of mind and understanding that we’re not taking any shortcuts and we’re doing everything we can to keep the guys together and win ballgames.”
(Why aren’t you winning basketball games?) “I think it hurts when you don’t have a point guard and that falls on me. We lost our point guard two years ago, Reggie Moore right before school or right when school started. And this year, again we lost a point guard. We went out and recruited. I think it starts with that as far as this year’s team. Yet you go into a season with more than just one point guard, but the other guys we figured minute-wise maybe 7, 8 or 9 minutes a game and our starting point (guard) would be playing 30 plus minutes. And he would be a key part to our offense, which is what we missed last year. Well we lost him so we’re going with what we have and our kids have worked hard to try to become the best point guards that they can, but that’s not their true position so it’s difficult.”
(What would you say to the critic who argues you can’t have continued success at Washington State.) “I would say it would be hard to argue that at this point, but I think a lot of WSU fans would have loved to have seen Tony Bennett stick around. Him and (his father) Dick came in here and they instilled a system that in time was effective those two years that Tony had were really, really good. The last year he had, it dropped off but he’d been here a few years already. The system was in place. And if he could have stayed here, I think there’s a good chance they would have continued to have had good success.”
(What’s your observation of Lorenzo Romar and his year at Washington.) “I think he’s gone through a tough time. Like you just mentioned, they’ve had their ups and downs with a few injuries and when that happens, ust like DaVonte Lacy when he was out those eight games I think it was, your program doesn’t move forward. In fact, sometimes you even take a step back as you’re tweaking this and tweaking that to fill in the gaps more often that not. You’re doing that so it’s hard to progress. A month later when that person comes back into the lineup, other teams progressed and gotten better and you guys haven’t. I think that happened a little bit with Washington. Losing Jernard Jarreau early and then I think (Desmond) Simmons was out for a little bit and I know that (Shawn) Kemp was not playing at full speed early on so I think it was hard for them to continue to grow as a team. And then, they’re fairly young. Andrew Andrews, what is he a sophomore? And Nigel (Williams-Goss) is a freshman. Those guys are really, really good players, but they’re young. (Perris) Blackwell it’s his first year with the program so. (Darin) Johnson he’s a freshman (and) Kemp didn’t have a whole lot of minutes until this year. So I think it’s just a group that is a little bit younger than most team’s Lorenzo has had. My true answer to that some people don’t understand the whole situation. I think Lorenzo is doing a good job. I think he’s a good coach.”
(What do you mean when you say people don’t understand the whole situation?) “I’m talking about Lorenzo is a high-class guy and he’s not going to, he’s going to take the high road on everything. If people ask questions, he’s not going to say well we’ve got these injuries and we got this and that. He’s going to roll with what he’s got and let people say whatever they think. But at the end of the day, he’s a really good coach. His colleagues know it. Whether other people do or not I guess is sometimes irrelevant. But people can have their voice. But there’s a reason why he’s been coach of the year and there’s a reason why he’s had great success over the years. This year is a little bit down, but they’ll be back.”
(More on Romar) “It just seems like people talk about oh they got all of this talent and no wonder they’re winning. And then as soon as they’re not playing up to expectations, it’s all on him. And I’m a competitor of his. I hope we beat them bad tomorrow night, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s really good.”
THURSDAY MORNING LINKS:
— Bud Withers argues the UW-WSU rivalry isn’t much of a rivalry at all.
— No. 3 Arizona is looking very impressive lately. First the Wildcats blowout Colorado at Coors Events Center on Sunday then they return home and destroyed California 87-59 on Wednesday in a rout that’s reverberating around the college basketball world. With three regular-season games remaining, Arizona (26-2, 13-2) needs another win to secure at least a share of the Pac-12 title and two wins will guarantee the Cats the outright championship. Against Cal, Arizona ran away early and led 44–29 at the break. Nick Johnson scored 22 points and Kaleb Tarczewski had 16.
— Cal won the first meeting 60-58 on a last-second jumper by Justin Cobbs that sent the students pouring onto the court. In the rematch, he had 12 points to lead the Golden Bears which fell to 18-10, 9-6. They led 8-2 early and was up 14-13 when four turnovers fueled Arizona’s fast breaks and sparked a 9-0 run. Once Cal trailed 22-14, it just got worse. The Bears were also overwhelmed on glass and lost the rebounding battle 42-25.
— Jahii Carson scored 26 points — 23 in the second half — and Arizona State held off Stanford 76-64, snapping its two-game losing streak. With the win, the Sun Devils (20-8, 9-6 Pac-12) bounced back from a miserable Rocky Mountain road trip last week and moved into a four-way tie with Colorado, Stanford and California for third in the Pac-12 with three games to play. Jermaine Marshall added 16 points, including 12 during a key 10-minute stretch of the first half, as Arizona State opened up a 10-point lead and never looked back.
— Stanford entered the game with three straight wins, but never appeared comfortable at Wells Fargo Arena. The Cardinal committed turnovers on its first three possessions and fell behind 8-0. Stanford ended up with 10 first-half turnovers that led to 17 Arizona State points. The Cardinal trailed 39-29 at halftime. Stanford made a run in the second half, but when Chasson Randle (17 points) fouled out with 7:11 left the game was essentially over. Anthony Brown led the Cardinal (18-9, 9-6) with 21 points.
— UCLA’s three-man bench gives the Bruins a little bit of everything.
— Oregon forward Mike Moser had a good week last week when he averaged 22 points in a pair of wins against Washington and Washington State. He’ll need a similar performance Thursday if the Ducks are going to upset UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
— On the one hand you’d think Oregon State should easily handle USC even though Thursday’s game is at Galen Center. However, the Beavers squeaked out a 76-75 home victory over the Trojans last month. And OSU hasn’t fared well as the favorites. And it appears as if Devon Collier isn’t happy about his minutes.
— USC’s leading scorer Byron Wesley is expected to play Thursday when the Trojans host Oregon State.
TODAY’S PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Oregon (18-8, 6-8) at UCLA (21-6, 10-4), 8 p.m. PT ………….. ESPN2
Oregon State (14-12, 6-8) at USC (10-17, 1-13), 8 p.m. …………. Fox Sports 1
Picks: UCLA and USC
Pac-12 tally: 65-23Season tally: 164-46