WSU Basketball: Ken Bone’s Clearest Stategic Failure Rests on the Misuse of D.J. Shelton

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Yet for most of the games in his career Shelton has been an absolute non-factor in the offensive board-work because he’s so busy trying to find that oh-so-valuable chance to throw up some wild shot for his team because his coach told him to “keep stroking those bricks, they’re beautiful!” So I ask again, why in the world would you need a stretch-four when you can dominate the paint with him instead!? Can you simply imagine the numbers he may have put up on the boards had he been allowed to play where he should have been playing all along?

I could go on and on at just how confounded this idea is with D.J., but mostly I just wanted to get it on ‘paper’ that the strategic plans of our coach have gone a long ways in determining his fate. I’ve seen a few articles recently stating that Bone just had some ‘bad luck’ that changed the dynamics of his coaching career here at WSU. Let me tell you, while that may be true to some degree, there are many, many examples of terrible coaching decisions and strategies that played a huge role in his current status.

Multiple times he’s brought a guy off the bench to try and save a close game in the final moments or second half by jacking up 3’s. And I’m not talking they came in and started shooting with reckless abandon… no, multiple, specific plays were clearly drawn up to get these kids a shot at the basket in a game that had a hot hand or two already established. What’s the old saying, ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’? Patrick Simon was victimized by that crude move against both Oregon and Washington, while Brett Boese and Will DiIorio were sacrificed this season in similar situations. And those are just the games I can remember that particular event happening.

His rest of players as they were streaking the Cougs into leads they rarely possessed always baffled me as well. This happened far too often to count and always seemed to come with the caveat that two or three other contributors to the hotness should come off the floor as well to all rest up together. Basically, I’ve never got Bone’s continued attempts to platoon multiple ‘groups’ that worked well together on the floor on any given night instead of just letting the players decide their time by playing well and staying on the floor. But also, this has always seemed to happen around the 8 minute mark of most any second half in which the Cougs look like they are in the game, (the time when you would generally want any ‘hot’ player on the floor).

I guess the given rest is for the final push, but by that time, the game has normally gotten away after a 5 minute drought because nobody good at shooting was on the floor in hopes of creating some late magic. What’s worse, those players are generally no longer hot and therefore come back in even colder than their subs were, creating the ultimate double-negative effect that so often plagues Bone’s teams these past 5 years. It happened as far back as Klay Thompson and far too often with Faisel Aden, now DeVonte Lacy and so on.

Using timeouts and subbing appropriately in the first half has also been an issue, creating other issues with being able to actually keep your stars on the floor late in games…

But I ramble.

Whatever, you’ve probably seen all this yourself. I suppose by next Wednesday or at latest Thursday late evening it’s unlikely to make any difference, except that coach Ken Bone will have run his course with such inquisitive decisions. Maybe a kid like Jalen Canty can come in and become what I always hoped for D.J. Shelton to be in the paint at WSU. Here’s to hoping Bill Moos can find a coach that would know how to use him properly.