This is the 3rd part of my three part series “The Future”, where I go over the future state of our beloved Cougar basketball team. You can find the 1st part here, The Future Part one , and the 2nd here, The Future Part Two.
I do indeed think there is a new hope for this Washington State Basketball team, and let me tell you why.
It all starts with recruiting, and as I said earlier, in his first two seasons, Bone’s recruiting classes lacked skill, and looked more like a Kansas walk on list, maybe worse. I gotta hand it to Bone though, he has picked it up these last two recruiting cycles, and has given me a new hope for the outlook of this basketball program. Landing the likes of a Que Johnson and Ikenna Iroegbu was huge, and they will likely be contributors as soon as they get on campus. Add in the likes of a Junior Longrus, and Brett Boese, we have ourselves some talented underclassmen, which we haven’t been able to say in the Ken Bone era very often.
Its hard not to get at least a little excited about this team next year, it will be the first year that Bone has all “his” guys on this roster from top to bottom. So let’s take a look at this revamped roster, and the key players that have me and maybe a couple other fans a little bit giddy about next year.
I’ll start with the uber talented, lone true point guard on the team, Ikenna Iroegbu. He will probably be my favorite player from day one. A gym rat, the kid can do it all; shoot, drive and pass. His only problem is he needs to slow it down from time to time, he sometimes tries to do to much, leading to turnovers. Look for Ken Bone to fix that really quick, because if there is one thing you can’t knock about Bone, is his ability to teach guards the game.
Being as we only have one true point guard, you could imagine that we have quite a few shooting guard/small forward types on the team. I believe Que Johnson will come in and start right away at the wing/small forward spot, he is just too dynamic not to get on the floor. Like Ikenna, he can do a bit of everything, and at a high level too.
Starting with Ikenna and Que I believe will be Royce Woolridge. Royce has exploded these past couple of weeks, most notably going for 36 points against a tough Oregon team. I only look for him to get better as the season goes on, and especially next season. He has been asked to play a lot of point guard this season, so with Ikenna coming in, he can slide to the two guard, his more natural position.
Those three alone could strike fear in any Pac 12 team. Pair that with sharp shooters DaVonte Lacy and Oregon transfer Brett Kingma, along with a Dexter Kernich Drew, who has been having a bit of a break out year himself; our back court is looking to be one of the more talented groups in the conference next year.
Losing Brock Motum will not be an easy hole to fill, but with that being said, I am not to worried about it. Brock has been our go to scorer the last two seasons, but with the emergence of Royce and the addition of Que next year, we won’t need his scoring ability as much.
Jordan Railey will come in next year and be our starting Center. We don’t have a true center, so there won’t be much competition but Railey is a very interesting transfer from Iowa State. It will be nice to actually have a big center who can match up with the mammoths we have to face on a weakly basis in the Pac.
Accompanying Jordan in the front court will be veteran D.J. Shelton, who will be a good senior leader on the floor for this very young squad we have. Along with being a senior leader, he will battle on the boards and block some shots while he’s at it.
Backing up those two, will be sophomores-to-be, Junior Longrus and Brett Boese. Junior has had a descent little freshman campaign, not showing up in the box score though, but still, he looks like a promising piece moving forward. Boese is the same case as Junior, just hasn’t got a whole lot of minutes to prove himself. I would love to see both of them get a good chunk of minutes to finish out the season.
With all that being said, I believe Ken Bone at the very least deserves to get one more year, if not finish out his contract. I have been one of his toughest critics over the last couple of years, and even I am coming around to him. His team finally looks like… well, a team. He has some great young talent, and I believe he will be able to build off that. But he has to produce next year, he cant afford another year like this, or he very may will be heading for the exits.
Ken Bone has sparked my interest enough to keep him around for another year, does he do the same for you? No matter what your answer may be, this team looks to be on the up and up, and has given me hope. GO COUGS!