WSU Basketball: Get Ready To Watch The Cougs


March 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Royce Woolridge (22) shoots against the Washington Huskies during the first half in the first round of the Pac 12 tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Washington State men’s basketball surfaced yesterday despite the tsunami of Cougar football media coverage. There were two significant issues shared by WSU athletics.

First off, longtime assistant coach Ben Johnson has left Ken Bone’s staff. Johnson is said to be heading down under to live in Australia, the homeland of his wife.

Johnson has been a big part of the Cougar basketball retooling which began when Dick Bennett came out of retirement to get things going back in 2003. Ben came to Pullman in 2004.

Since that time he’s not only influenced the development of Cougs who have gone on to play pro ball, Johnson was a key factor in recruiting such stellar Aussie players as Aron Baynes, Brock Motum and Dexter Kernich-Drew.

Classy aptly describes Johnson. Fittingly, this is his public statement offered with a fond goodbye wave to Washington State:

"“I want to thank everyone at Washington State University for their genuine care and support over the past nine seasons,” Johnson said.  “My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of Cougar Nation and the University community.  I want to wish Coach Bone, our coaching staff and players the best of luck and continued success.”"

This writer wishes Johnson much success in the future. It’s extremely likely a head coaching job can’t be too far down the road for a guy who knows how to mentor young men and is a gifted coach.

The other item of note for Cougar Nation is the release of WSU men’s basketball television schedule. If you enjoy watching the Cougs, there will be ample opportunity this coming season.

All seven WSU home non-conference games will be aired on the Pac-12 Network. Presently, P12N is scheduled to carry 14 of the Cougar 18 conference tilts. You will be able to see the Cougs compete in the Old Spice Classic tournament over the Thanksgiving holidays on ESPN.

If you have to settle for second best, watching the Cougs on television rather than being a part of the madness inside Beasley Coliseum, this coming schedule warrants marking your personal calendar dates now!

A glance at Coach Bone’s roster suggests WSU should be able to run and gun against all comers this year.

Last season the Cougs struggled mightily lacking a true point guard.  Junior JC transfer Danny Lawhorn looks to fill that void along with the on-job-training maturity of junior Royce Woolridge last season.

And the guy most WSU fans are looking forward to see run the hardwood is redshirt freshman Que Johnson who brings a pro-level offensive game to the team. His ability to hit from anywhere on the court will change defensive schemes employed by opponents.

Lacking a legitimate center a year ago was a handicap Ken Bone couldn’t coach around. He’ll have junior transfer Jordan Railey filling up the lane when the season begins November 1st with an exhibition game against Central Washington.