Washington State Basketball: Coaches, Players Struggling to Shed the Monkey


Feb. 16, 2013; Pullman, WA, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Royce Woolridge (22) fights for the rebound against Oregon Ducks center Tony Woods (55) during the first half at the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

So you want to play big boy basketball in the Pac-12, on a team that’s had recent success but for the most part is a perennial non-contender for the conference. You want to win there, but other teams have better everything than you do. How do you plan on doing it?

It’s pretty obvious that nobody here likes losing, it’s also pretty obvious that the team is playing above their talent level on a nightly basis. The team could find it easy to point fingers when things are going wrong, but they don’t seem to be doing it. But it’s not particularly easy to point to positives either, when your team is on a 5 game losing streak.

Several tv announcers around the conference nightly say the conference is so close that it comes down to execution and coaching. In the final moments of any given game, the Cougs just don’t seem to do any of that right. However they are close enough to make that a factor, so it’s a bit of a catch-22 when talking about how good or bad this team actually is.

Washington State has had the worst luck in the league since before the season began and it continues on a nightly basis. For example if they had a full compliment of a roster this weekend I think they come away with at least one and maybe 2 victories. But alas, an injury during the week to Mike Ladd, the team’s resident point-man since they lost theirs in the preseason, thinned Washington State to the point where two walk-ons were competing at the same time against Oregon State.

When it comes down to it, everybody (including our team) knows WSU as the team that will come really, really close, but still find a way to lose.

Still the team is a lucky bounce away from changing their fortunes and possibly their identity in this trying season. Unfortunately, there aren’t any teams left that don’t know that and would be surprised to see the Cougars in the basketball game. Also unfortunate for the Cougs, is the fact that it seems nearly impossible to win when the other team knows that they just have to keep playing the game for it to eventually go their way before the buzzer sounds. All of it is just difficult to overcome.

Just one of the issues that the Cougs are dealing with is affectionately termed as “running with a monkey on your back”. In Washington State’s case,  it’s a bunch of monkeys.