WSU Basketball: Injuries Changed Ken Bone’s Offense, Which Will Save His Job

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Jan, 23, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Royce Woolridge (22) dunks the ball against the Oregon Ducks during the game at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

With as much movement and screening as the Cougs have been doing, it keeps the defense in constant motion which obviously tired out UCLA and then accomplished the same goal against USC. And the Cougars have the perfect lineup to take advantage of all the intricacies of the offense.

A five in Brock Motum that can shoot from anywhere, make a one on one move to the basket against practically anyone on the floor and pass the ball efficiently. A four in D.J. Shelton that has similar abilities (though definitely not a one on one wonder) and a point that’s finally willing to penetrate and can finish around the rim. And to that point, Royce Woolridge has also changed his shot (release point) at least a little bit from earlier in the year and is shooting lights out right now too, which makes him as dangerous as ever.

What all that has done is speed up the offense from a normal Princeton offense, which is generally a slow developing thing. So instead of WSU having to necessarily take it down till they get a layup, they can get a shot from their bigs if it’s open. The bigs for the the Bruins and Trojans didn’t wanted to come out and play defense after the first 10 minutes and it’s opened Motum especially to do whatever he wants. He hasn’t been so open all season as he was all week and when he is closed out on, he’s taking the ball himself and dishing it to the guy who’s open when help has to come over.

It’s almost too bad they didn’t have those two major-ish injuries earlier in the season. You never want to lose two of your more athletic scorers, but this team is set up perfectly to put up big numbers with this new offense and it took 2 guys getting hurt to unintentionally stumble upon it. I’m guessing that it was supposed to help the Cougs be able to make it through the game without getting totally embarrassed, instead it changed the outlook of the entire offense. For evidence I’ll point out that 217 points in the past 3 games is the highest 3 game total since the opening 3 games, which produced 218 against EWU, Utah Valley and Pepperdine.

Now that Ladd is back, the team is even more dangerous, because he can now move to the two or one and spread the floor. If you add Dexter Kernich-Drew, who is finally playing without hurry within this new offense and is shooting it pretty well again (first back to back double digit outputs of the season if I remember correctly), it’s easy to see why this team is dangerous. Depth is still an issue though, especially as the tournament wears on, if the Cougs advance.

Regardless, basically I was on the #FireKenBone train about a month ago, but as I found more and more evidence that he’s probably not going anywhere due to a brilliant contract negotiation by one party or another, I’ve been trying my best to find positives and ways that this can be positive going forward. What I saw this week was nothing short of miraculous, but then again, not really. It’s what we should’ve been seeing all along, and it may just be the turning point for Bone and His Cougs.