FROM PULLMAN — There were a couple of news items to come out of Ken Bone's press conference today, so we'll get right to it. Hop on over to the jump to read more.
As has been rumored for a while now, WSU signees Richard Peters and Demarquise Johnson still have some work to do to get eligible. Ken Bone said as much on Tuesday, adding that the two other signees in this year's class — Richard Longrus of Oakland and Shadle Park's Brett Boese — are “good to go” in terms of eligibility. Johnson told the Spokesman-Review last week that he's still 30 points shy of a qualifying SAT score. Bone said he's optimistic that both Johnson and Peters will be eligible and on campus in the fall. … There was lots of talk about postseason tournaments, specifically the CBI, as that appears to be where WSU is most likely headed. Bone said he believes the Cougars have a good chance to receive an invite, citing past appearances by Oregon and Oregon State when those teams had similar records to WSU. And remember, the Cougars finished in last place in the 2010 standings but still received a CBI invite, which they turned down after meeting as a team and deciding it wasn't in their best interests. That season, as Bone has said before, he simply felt the team was too fatigued, both mentally and physically, to benefit from playing more games. But it's different this year. Despite the Cougars' record, Bone said, they're still coming to practice every day with energy and focus, and because of the boost it could provide heading into next season, he said the team would be very interested in any postseason opportunity that may arise. Of course, there are also financial considerations — teams that host CBI games must pony up a $70,000 fee — which Bone said have not been discussed with the administration yet. … DaVonte Lacy was said to have sprained an ankle on Saturday, but Bone said the issue was actually with his calf, and it's fine now. … Bone said he has no preference as to who the Cougars play in the first round of the conference tournament — it's likely to be Oregon State, though Arizona State still has a crack at the No. 9 seed, too — adding that he thinks OSU and ASU are the two hardest teams to prepare for because they both play such a unique style. … As for Saturday's free-throw issues, Bone said that his team's 6-for-20 performance in the second half isn't something they can run from. Still, he said it wasn't a matter of lack of focus. The Cougars just simply didn't make them. “Sometimes if you play a game, it’s a 20-point game and all of a sudden you miss free throws and the other team comes back, makes a run and you chalk it up to, 'you know what, we had our opportunities to put that team away and we just didn’t make free throws. We probably lost focus.' That was not the case. So I feel good in knowing that the guys really stepped up there and tried to make them. Just didn’t go in,” Bone said. … He didn't want to delve too much into what's happened to UCLA's program this year — the Bruins were picked to win the conference but currently sit in sixth place — but said there's still plenty of talent there. “I look at their players, though, and there are some players there that we couldn’t even get to visit Washington State,” Bone said. “So I know they’ve got a lot of talent sitting there in their program and they’re capable of beating anyone in the conference. I believe that.” … Playing the game at the Sports Arena instead of Pauley Pavilion likely won't be much of an advantage for WSU, because Bone said players nowadays likely don't have a firm understanding of all the tradition of UCLA lore, anyway. … On the Pac-12 call, Bone again defended his decision to run the final play for Patrick Simon, saying that with Abe Lodwick on the bench after fouling out, and with WSU being 2-16 from 3-point range at the time, there wasn't an obvious hot-hand in the game. Bone said that Mike Ladd was to set a screen for Brock Motum, who was to cut to the hoop, but that Simon was open and was instructed to shoot the ball immediately if that's the position he found himself in, so Motum never really became an option. … Bone was asked to name a Coach of the Year candidate in the Pac-12. He said Washington's Lorenzo Romar would be a good pick, and that he hadn't thought about the Player of the Year race any.
All for now. Sorry this was so late. Lots of people to talk to and interviews to get done today before departing for Los Angeles.