As the frustration of Cougar basketball grows, the seat that Ken Bone sits on, continues to get hotter. In this three part series I take a look at the future of Cougar basketball and what we have in store for the next couple of seasons.
In part one of this series, I first take a look at the past and the present to get a better understanding of how we got to where we are today. Then I will go over some of the newcomers who look to make an immediate impact on next years’ team. In part two I will be taking a look at Ken Bone, and the direction he is taking this program.
Long gone are the days of Bennett ball, where a high scoring game would be in the 60’s, and counting down the seconds in the shot clock was all the rage at Beasley. Remember when we were more excited for basketball season than football? Who did we think we were, Duke? Football has always been number 1 in these parts (even though we haven’t had much to cheer about), except for those couple of years that spanned the brief but magical ride of the Tony Bennett era.
In steps Ken Bone, taking over a team with a good amount of talent. From Klay Thompson the up and coming superstar, to DeAngelo Casto the stud post defender; this team had some great pieces, but never seemed to put it all together. The underachieving, might have had something to do with the struggles that we are in today. This team failed to establish an identity under Ken Bone, and many of us are still wondering, what kind of team is he trying to put together here.
The pieces of Ken Bone’s extremely confusing puzzle might actually be coming together next season, as this team is set to add some key pieces, that just might complete that puzzle, or at least fill a good chunk of it in so we can see what the picture kind of looks like.
Demarquise Johnson: Perhaps the biggest piece to this puzzle is “Que” Johnson. The 6’5″, 205 lb, wing man out of Phoenix, Arizona, was Bone’s biggest recruit to date. He was originally apart of the 2012 crop of recruits, and was suppose to come in this year and help right way, but with bad grades and low test scores, he was marked as a partial qualifier.
No need to worry though, he will be dawning the Crimson and Gray this next season, and boy do we need him more than ever.
Que is a dynamic player, one that this team has been missing ever since Klay Thompson left. With virtually no production coming out of the wing/small forward position this year, I fully expect Johnson to come in and start doing work from day one. He can do a bit of everything; shoot from the outside, drive, throw down highlight reel dunks, and a bevy of other tools. Honestly the kid has all the tools to be the next Coug great. I cant wait to see him fill up the stat sheet.
Ikenna Iroegbu: If Que is the biggest piece to this puzzle, then Ikenna is the missing piece. I say that because at the current moment, we don’t have a true point guard. Iroegbu hails from the world famous Oak Hill academy, famous for putting player after player on a division 1 team, and also in the NBA.
At 6’2, 180 lbs, Ikenna is Pac 12 ready in terms of size, and skill. I am sure glad Ken Bone got him on board too, because what ever point guard he did bring on, was going to start right away, and I feel like we have a real gem in Ikenna.
Like Que, Ikenna is going to be a dynamic piece coming in. Instantly he gives us that true point guard we so desperately need. He is an athletic point-man who can drive and create, much like Reggie Moore could do for us in the past, especially late in the shot clock, the Moore specialty. Along with being able to drive and create, Ikenna excels at finishing at the rim, he is extremely crafty, and that combined with being able to jump out of the gym, makes me very excited to see this kid on the court next year.
As he does possess all the physical traits for the point guard position, he will need to improve his knowledge and the mental portion of the game. He often relies on his athleticism to take control of the game, and that often leads to turnovers, but that’s to be expected with any young player. He will only be a true freshman, playing in the daunting Pac 12 next year, so patience will be the key with Ikenna, but he will be one to watch!
Jordan Railey: Now I know I said earlier that Que, was the biggest piece to this puzzle, but that was just figuratively. The actual biggest piece has to be Jordan Railey. Railey hails from Beaverton, Oregon and originally spent a year at Iowa State before transferring to Washington State.
At 6’10”, 264 lbs, Jordan is finally that true post presences that we need. Along with being the big body we need to bang down low with all monsters in the Pac 12, Railey can also hit the outside jumper from time to time. So he won’t necessarily be confined to the paint on offense, having a big man that can shoot can create all sorts of fun match ups, and who doesn’t like seeing a true big man shooting threes.
Jordan will come in and help right away, I honestly see him filling out the starting center position, and getting a lot of minutes there. He will immediately help with the offensive and defensive rebounding. He also gives us the ability to actually match up with the other big men in this conference, instead of having one of are undersized forwards having to do that deed. He is getting rave reviews for his work in practice, let’s just hope he produces and can stay healthy for the Cougs, as I see him being the X factor for us, much like Carrick Felix is for ASU this year.
I can not wait to see these three on the floor together, they will instantly give the Cougs an impact in just about every stat column there is, including wins. The good thing about this current season we’re in, is that it can’t get much worse and we can only go up from here. GO COUGS!