Feb 5, 2014; Boulder, CO, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Ken Bone calls out in the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Coors Events Center. The Buffaloes defeated the Cougars 68-63. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
It is with hope that Ken Bone’s post as head coach of Wazzu Men’s Hoops will end mercifully soon. It does not take much to drag Coug fans from the mire, but fetid seasons will breed apathy in Pullman, and Bone has not been able to perfume the malodor. Any great chef will tell you that your recipe needs to match your ingredients. Bone is throwing his rump roast onto the BBQ, and expecting it to grill like a filet mignon. He needed to get creative with the quality players on the roster, but not coach them beyond their ability.
Bone is (gracefully, thankfully) going to be gone. We’re certain? We can attempt to grow optimism once again in Cougarland. We have been pouring over lists for months wondering who might take up the fight. Who would be the right guy? Keeping in mind the cowboy AD we have running the show, no one should be a surprise. Here is a top 5 wish list, of guys who could really turn things around on those cold winter nights.
5. Michael White (Louisiana Tech)
White has a reputation for running the opponents out of the gym by having a deeper, more athletic, and well conditioned bench. Imagine the polar opposite of Bennett Ball. In fact, it would not be unrealistic to see Bennett and White match up early next week. Pullman embraces wacky offenses (LT has the 15th highest scoring offense in the Nation), and if games are at least entertaining, folks might arrive at Beasly.
4. Archie Miller (Dayton)
Dayton is what Gonzaga had been, an up and coming mid-major. However, Dayton is not Spokane, and Ohio is Buckeye Country. Archie Miller will fast outgrow this pond, and let’s hope he feels that way now. His brother is already down in Tuscon doing well and if he can send some of his cast offs toward Pullman, well, we could use the help.
3. Bruce Pearl (ESPN)
While Pearl is not available for hire until August, this might be a power move by Moos, dragging a disgraced great coach from the southern bogs to return the Palouse to national attention. Pearl would add the entertainment so missed during this dark period of Cougar Hoops. Take what is on the boards for recruiting, play a game under the table with a gentleman’s agreement. This would be the best long run hire.
2. Ben Howland (coach at large)
Seriously, UCLA are a bunch of hoops-snobs, and if you aren’t John Wooden, you can not remain in Westwood. If Howland comes to Pullman, things will improve. Actually, if Howland’s golden retriever were walking the sidelines the team might improve beyond the Bone malaise.
1. Shaka Smart (VCU)
This is a reach. Smart would thrive in the Pac-12, and his peak popularity might have already passed. If he does not take his chance at a new, major conference post soon, he might dwindle into mediocre seasons, losing any cache he has already built. Again, VCU is not Gonzaga or Butler, this will not last, but Pullman could!