Mar 12, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Ken Bone instructs against the Stanford Cardinal during the first half in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
After the final whistle of Stanford’s 74-63 win over Washington State in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament, a whole lotta Cougs had had enough.
A small sampling of social media comments from Twitter:
Now oddly, this is extremely mild compared to the firestorm of response after the final loss for a team that actually did something with its 2013 season. Mike Leach took a beating on twitter and facebook for the final two minutes of the best season in a decade of Cougar football, so this is nothing really.
But don’t be fooled, Cougs everywhere are far more fed up with what their basketball program represents in terms of competitive nature than these comments indicate. It’s just that they are so tired of saying it that they’ve given up putting in the effort. Also, there is that sense of ‘what if?’ in the air for a program that really would have made a move last season if it could have. At least recently Bill Moos has said that the money part ($1.7 million on Bone’s remaining two years of his seven year deal) is no longer an issue “if it’s the right move for the program”.
After the fifth straight loss in an opening Wednesday of the Pac-12 Tourney, there’s not a Cougar fan you could talk to that thinks change isn’t right for the program. Even those that defended Bone to his retaining last season have jumped ship. Sure, the players are loyal to their coach, he brought them in and he’s taught them the whole time. Change can be hard as a player, comfort and familiarity have set in at this point. And truly, Ken Bone is a nice guy with a good basketball background and even some legit teaching skills. As a player I can see supporting a Ken Bone.
But there are plenty of examples, even last night when the Cougs played tough, where he fails as a strategist, game manager and role distributor at the Pac-12 level. I mean honestly, say what you want but the Cougars should have taken that game over at 50-47. The removal of a player who has just sparked your team with a huge 3-point play and has been your best penetrator all game (Royce Woolridge) with less than 10 minutes to play just doesn’t make sense. The Cougars were down 57-50 four minutes later when Woolridge next saw the court.
Based on five years of a resume that is full of those kinds of brilliant moves and has seen the Cougs decline from a nationally ranked and attention-grabbing school with an NBA-Lottery-caliber player on the hardwood to, well, less than forgettable, it’s clearly not going to change. Contrary to what players like DaVonte Lacy may think when they say “it’s unfortunate if he doesn’t return”, if a change is not made because of whatever reason, it’s less than a player of his caliber deserves. This team should no doubt be competitive and Bone most definitely should have won several games in the conference tourney with the talent that he has been blessed with over the past five seasons.
So it’s up to Bill Moos now and the question we are all asking until a definitive decision is reached; Is Bill Moos ready to turn the page on this program and get it back on track for national recognition of some sort? We all know he’s generally not a fan of mediocrity, so the obvious answer is; yes.