Washington State Basketball: State of the Cougar Program


Dec. 5, 2012; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Ken Bone looks on against he Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second half at the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. The Bulldogs would go not beat the Cougars by a final score of 71-69. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

There once was a time in Cougar basketball, where it was actually fun to watch. I would even go as far, to where I would ask for time off from work to watch every Coug game. No joke! I would literally hand my manager a basketball schedule, and let him know, “I cant work these nights, I have Cougar basketball to watch!”

Safe to say, those days are over.

At 10-9, we seem destined for another run at the CBI, hopefully. It isn’t  for lack of effort though. This team has fought hard, and stayed close in many games; but the glaring holes of not having a true point guard and our lack of talent in the post have really hurt, especially of late.

Long gone are the days of the Tony Bennet era, where we could win with far less superior talent. Not saying our boys Kyle Weaver, Derek Low, and Robbie Cowgill weren’t talented; but let’s be real! I don’t think they would’ve got a legit shot on most Pac-10 teams back then. It was the system that made them special to watch.

We are now in the Ken Bone era of Cougar basketball, and it has been far from exciting. Unless you like trips to the NIT, and CBI tournaments. Which even I will admit, were pretty exciting. At times though, I wonder where Ken Bone is going with this team. What kind of defense are we going to run, zone or man to man? Are we a fast pace offense, or are we going to slow it down this game? Instead of establishing an identity and sticking with it, we are kept guessing as to what kind of team we are going to see.

Failing to establish an identity has never been more apparent than in Bone’s recruiting. You look at this team and kind of just scratch your head. Where are the big men? Where are the point guards? If we were playing a game of Slam Ball (who remembers that?!), I think we would have one kick ass team, but we’re not, we’re in the Pac 12. This season we are left with out a true point guard, and we lack talent in the post. This has been pretty evident to, seeing as we are ranked 272nd in assist with 11.6 per game, and 199th in rebounds with 34.4 a game.

With out a true point guard, the offense is even more stagnant than in years past. The past few years we at least had Reggie Moore, where we could come down pass the ball around until the shot clock was down to 10, then get the ball to Reggie, let him drive, and have him do something crazy. Pretty fun to watch, yeah, but not a good offensive scheme. It feels the same way this year as well, but with no Reggie.

There are a lot of what if’s, with this program. Maybe if Ken Bone had everything go right, I would be singing his praises right now. I mean, what if Reggie doesn’t get suspended and Xavier Thames stays on the team; what if Que Johnson, Richard Peters, and Greg Sequele qualify. This team actually looks pretty good! With any team in sports, there are going to be a million what if’s though. What if Russell Wilson decided to play professional baseball?  I don’t even want to go there.

The state of the WAZZU Basketball program is pretty grim right now. I do however think there is hope on the horizon if Moos does intend to stick with Bone as the coach. With Ikenna Iroegbu coming in to run the point next year, and Que Johnson hopefully qualifying and staying with the Crimson and Gray, that could develop into a nice little one, two punch for the next few years; and let’s be real there is a little optimism in every Coug fan.

Then again, maybe your optimism lies in a different way, and your optimistic that Moos eats up the rest of Bone’s contract, and hires the next Tony Bennett. Only time will tell my friends, and until then just keep on rooting.