With the lone game this week on Sunday – guess you probably already know that – coach Ken Bone held his media call today. Most of the questions, of course, had to do with the Washington game, but there was one with a totally different subject. Read on.
• We've had a lot of stories for you in the past few weeks concerning the Washington players' response to WSU's students rushing the floor after the first meeting. In fact, we even linked one this morning. But Bone for his part, doesn't think the Husky players will really be motivated any more by the actions of the Cougar students. They will have enough motivation as it is, was his basic thought. He also loves the atmosphere in Hec Ed, or any loud college venue for that matter. The students being students, being loud, being boisterous, being, well, students. ... As for pregame trash talk via Twitter or whatever, Bone said he hasn't talked with his team specifically about that this week, but has mentioned acting professionally to them often during the season. The transparency of their lives, thanks to social media, amazes him. There are no secrets anymore, he said. ... I asked Bone about WSU's defensive problems in three of the last four games and he turned the question back to the Cougars offense, which he hasn't been happy with for a while. Later, in a follow up, he explained that often with this group, when the offense is working well, they are more focused on defense, more intense and get more out of it. And vice-versa. ... As for the Huskies, Bone acknowledged that Isaiah Thomas is the key to the UW offense and, despite not shooting the ball well the first game, got the offense going just by being able to penetrate and make plays for others. But he's also really worried about Matthew Bryan-Amaning, who he said is playing really well right now. ... He also understands UW is better, more physical, at home than on the road and the Cougars have to be ready for that. ... As for Faisal Aden, Bone went into a little more detail concerning the nature of his knee problem. It's sore because there is some tendonitis in there, something that will not go away during a season. He said Aden was bothered by it last year and has dealt with it all season. He expects, however, Aden to be ready to go this week after getting Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday to rest. As we relayed early, Aden did practice Monday and Tuesday. ... In answering a question about having to win every game on the schedule to get into the NCAA tournament, Bone said that's not true. All the Cougars have to do is win the Pac-10 tourney and they are in – of course. But he did say, win the next five, get to and lose the conference tournament final and there's still a shot at an at-large berth. Everything else is a no-go for sure. ... Finally, Danny O'Neill, the Seattle Times' NFL writer, asked Bone about a former Portland State basketball player, Julius Thomas, who is at the NFL combine this weekend. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Thomas played for Bone at PSU and with the Vikings football program at tight end this fall. Bone compared him to Jon Brockman on the basketball court, not in talent but in physical toughness, and said it wouldn't surprise him if Thomas played in the NFL.
• That's it for now. We'll hit WSU's practice this afternoon to talk with players for our stories coming up. If events warrant, we'll be back. Until then ...