Ken Bone was in the airport (Pullman I guess, but it might have been Spokane) and was delaying his embarkation until after his weekly scheduled-for-8-minutes-but-went-more-than-11-minutes appearance on the Pac-10 conference call. He excused himself to get on the plane, but before he did, he answered a lot of questions. Read on for his thoughts.
• I got on the call at 10:46 after waiting on hold for a while and Bone, who was scheduled to start at 10:51, was already talking. So I missed what I presume was the first question and most of the answer, which I gather was about the Pac-10 player of the year race. … The next, and another one later, was the obligatory ones about Bone's friendship with Lorenzo Romar, his former boss at UW. Nothing new here, as Bone talked about becoming friends when they were players and then Romar offering him the assistant position when he returned to UW as head coach. Bone said they talk, but not during the weeks of their games. Same stuff he said last year. … As for the rivalry, WSU sees UW as its one major rival, Bone said, but, during his time at UW, the Huskies split their rivalry hatred between WSU and Oregon. … Asked if his team was better prepared to handle the Dawgs this year, Bone said he's not sure. He knows WSU is better, especially defensively, with DeAngelo Casto in the middle and better execution of the team concept, but so is Washington. He just hopes his team's experience and maturity will show Sunday as it's done in some games this season. … When Klay Thompson struggles as he did Saturday versus Arizona, Bone said, he doesn't expect one guy to pick up the slack. He hopes each guy, whether it is Reggie Moore, Marcus Capers, Abe Lodwick or Faisal Aden, will do a bit more. That is sort of what happened Saturday – and I'll include Brock Motum in that mix – but it wasn't enough. By the way, Bone said Aden is fine, he practiced fine today and though his knee may be an ongoing thing, he expects him to be ready this weekend. … The biggest key for the Cougars on Sunday? I'm sure everyone who reads this blog can answer this question. Say it with me. “Transition defense.” When the Huskies get going they're exceptional. Slow them down and they're just good. … Patrick Finley is doing a story on all the new stats available for college basketball, so he's asking coaches about them. Bone gave the answer most coaches would, I believe, in that there is some value in them, but he's looking for things that are hard to stat from a box score or play-by-play. Things like rotation on defense, helping the helper, boxing out, filling your role in transition defense, rebounding position relative to your man, items like that. They look at those things on film and share them with their players. He looks pretty hard at some of the generic stats like assist-to-turnover ratio, rebounding and shot attempts. … He has no problem with playing on Sunday, feeling WSU needed the rest physically, as Thompson played lots of minutes over the weekend and others, like Aden, can use the time to heal. But it does cut into prep time for next week's games in Oregon. … Finally, you can rest assured the Cougars know how much this Sunday's game could mean at the end of the season. As Bone said, the Huskies are ranked and are good enough that they will stay ranked throughout the season. A win over UW and the resume gets a huge burnish. … I missed this link this morning but I expect you would like to read what Romar said on his radio show last night. I'll link the Times' coverage of his Pac-10 call later as well.
• That's all for today. We'll be back as events warrant. Until then …