COUGARS • UPDATED: 12:35 P.M.
Just got off the phone with Washington State basketball coach Ken Bone, who held an end-of-the-season press conference. Nothing really new or different, but we have some notes, so read on.
• More than likely the No. 1 thing on your mind is whether there's any movement on the Klay Thompson or DeAngelo Casto front. The answer is no. Bone said he hasn't talked with either since the team returned from New York because, as he said, he's giving everyone a little space. Some interesting things he said about Thompson and Casto include the nuggets that, in their first conversation after he was hired, their was a discussion with Thompson about him leaving early for the NBA; that Bone doesn't see himself having a large role in the advice Thompson will receive concerning his future, that role is rightly held by his father, who has a lot of experience; that his role is one of being a supporter of whatever Thompson decides and he will fill that role; that Klay wants to be first-round choice; that he would love to see Thompson go if that's what he wants, but he would, of course, love to have him back; that Faisal Aden and Mike Ladd are earmarked to fill Thompson's role if he does decide to leave early; and that there is no one on scholarship right now that can fill Casto's role (though at one point he started to say something about a committed recruit – D.J. Shelton – but caught himself). ... I asked Bone what type of grade he would put on the team for the season and he said B+ or A-. He talked about winning 22 games, the big games it won, making it to New York and a couple other things. He also mentioned the issues off-the-court and on, alluding to some bad losses that most every team has, concerning the latter. ... By the way, he gave himself a C when I asked. He said that's fair. My guess is he grades himself around there every year. ... Speaking of the off-court problems, I asked Bone if they will force him to change his discipline guidelines and he said yes. "There will be changes made in that area," he said. ... With no seniors and only non-scholarship junior Ben Loewen sure to leave the program, Bone was asked about the scholarship numbers. WSU has 12 players under scholarship currently, are sure to add at least three more and will give Ladd one (I asked that question directly just to make sure). So, to get to the NCAA limit of 13, three scholarships have to come free. Bone wouldn't talk specifics, but said, as he did last year, that "at the end of the day there will be 13 players on scholarship. There is no way around it unless you have less," which is what WSU had this season. Along those lines, Bone said he hasn't talked with anyone yet, but that will happen in the next two weeks. But, as has happened 70 to 80 percent of the seasons he's coached, there is always a chance a player or two might tell him they are transferring in search of more playing time. ... Bone praised the work Ladd and Dexter Kernich-Drew, the freshman redshirt from Australia, put in. He said Kernich-Drew worked harder than anyone in the weight room according to the strength coach, though it doesn't show yet. He is still having trouble putting on weight. But Bone expects him to contribute next season. ... He was asked directly about Patrick Simon's falling minutes and Bone said it was more due to the improved play of Abe Lodwick and Brock Motum than it was anything Simon was doing, though he wasn't shooting the ball as well down the stretch. ... Bone said it doesn't look like Aden will need surgery on his knee, that it is more of a chronic thing helped by rest. But they will check that and Reggie Moore's wrist to see if the scaphoid fracture has healed yet. There haven't been pictures taken of the wrist since December and these things take an inordinate time to heal. But Moore hasn't been feeling any pain lately. Still, the images will be used to make sure it's healing properly. ... Two last things. Asked about academics, Bone said the semester grades were fine, but there has been a lot of travel since then. The next five weeks are important for the players. ... And the reason he's not at the Final Four – Jeff Hironaka and operations guys Jared Barrett and Tim Marrion are – is it corresponds with his daughters' time off school, so he would rather spend the time with them. ... By the way, the first thing I wanted to know from Bone was if the April 1 date for this press conference reflected his opinion of the guys covering the beat. He said he didn't realize what day it was. Ya, right. ... One link. Saw these two guys in New York (we talk occasionally during the basketball season but I have an aversion to face-painters), but didn't realize the details of their trip. It's a fun read.
• If you want to watch the video, here it is, courtesy of the WSU athletic video department and Jared Prenguber ...
• UPDATE: Saw this yesterday and forgot to pass it on. Former WSU defensive line coach Malik Roberson has found a job. The ex-Lewis and Clark High football player who coached with Paul Wulff at EWU and WSU, caught on at Portland State. The school made the announcement today. Roberson was let go by WSU following last season.
• That's it for now. We'll be back if events warrant. Until later ...