FROM LOS ANGELES -- Ken Bone spoke with the media today via teleconference on an iPhone in the second-floor lobby of WSU's hotel -- isn't technology something? -- and we have a summary of his comments posted below.
Bone said last week that Oregon State is one of the hardest teams in the Pac-12 for which to prepare. And the Cougars obviously have just three days to do so. I asked Bone what it is about the Beavers that makes them so difficult to prepare for on such a short turnaround. He said the main reason is their 1-3-1 zone defense-- it's different and it's something nobody else in the conference uses, so dissecting it takes a certain amount of preparation. "It’s nice to have a couple days to review what we’ve already seen," Bone said. Of course, WSU didn't have much of a problem against it in Corvallis. OSU hasn't used the 1-3-1 quite as much this season as it has in the past, and the Beavers went away from it in the second half of their last meeting against WSU because the Cougars attacked it so well. If that's happening, Bone said, then he wants OSU to keep playing it. ... Bone was asked again about the whole "hard to beat a three times" theory, and he said the same thing he told me on Saturday: that it's only harder than usual if the winning team gets overconfident. "That is not the case with us," Bone said. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for Oregon State. We know how good they can be. They’ve shown it against every team in our league." ... I asked Bone what he thought of conference tournaments in general. He said he thinks they're exciting, because anyone can win it and the tournaments reward teams that are peaking in March. "We’ve been working hard for months and the reality of it is, if you’re hot at the end and you’re healthy, you have a chance to win and it makes it exciting," Bone said. ... Bone also said the top four seeds have an advantage because they don't have to play on Wednesday, but that can work the other way, too. For example, if WSU plays well against Oregon State and wins, the Cougars will face Washington the next day having already built a little momentum, a better feel for the Staples Center floor. The downside, though, is if in the final 10 minutes or so, WSU tires because it's playing its second game in as many nights. ... The game time doesn't make much of a difference to Bone, though he did note that the noon start means WSU won't have a shootaround that morning, and the Cougars won't be able to get on the court until an hour before the game starts. But since it's the same for both teams, Bone doesn't mind. ... He agreed that the tournament is more wide open than in past years, citing Arizona State's win over Arizona and Stanford's win over California on Sunday as evidence that the unpredictable is already happening as the season enters the stretch run. ... Bone was asked about the decision to stay in Los Angeles this week instead of returning to Pullman before the Pac-12 tournament. He said that it simply would have been too much of a hassle to go back home for such a short amount of time, only to hop back on an airplane the next day. There are pros and cons to being away from home for this long, Bone said. They're doing their best to make sure the players aren't just lounging around their hotel rooms all day. They went to Santa Monica Pier on Sunday for a couple hours. There's an academic advisor on the trip with them to make sure they stay up on their class work. (When I spoke with Brock Motum and Reggie Moore last night, the team was just about to begin a study session.) "If we were back in Pullman the guys would be going to class, which is not a bad thing, but we do have opportunities where we can meet with guys, show them some video and just spend a little extra time," Bone said. "To me there’s just pros and cons to the situation."
UPDATE: We've added some reaction from Brock Motum and Reggie Moore to their all-conference honors.
Motum, on making first-team: "I was just watching a movie and got a few texts. I thought that was pretty cool."
On which award he's more proud of between first-team honors and most improved award: "They’re both pretty cool awards. It would have been cool to win a Pac-12 championship, too, but I guess that's in the past now."
On whether he sets individual goals prior to the season: "You set goals in specific areas in what you want to improve on, try to reach them just by working on it each day. They're more rocess goals and ways to get there and accomplish them."
Moore, on being named all-Pac-12 honorable mention: "It’s dope. I didn’t really think I was going to get anything like that. It’s pretty surprising to me."
Surprising even though you were Pac-12 assists leader?: "Nobody’s really talked about that. I didn’t even know I was doing that until my cousin called me and said 'hey, did you know you're doing this?' I didn’t even know that. I hadn’t heard much about it."
On becoming a true point guard: "For sure. No doubt. That’s what coach (Lorenzo) Romar told me, he pulled me over to the side and said, 'you’re transitioning into a true point guard, instead of just being a guard.'
On focusing on distributing the ball: "It wasn’t that difficult. I was always able to pass because I’ve got some really good teammates. Every time I dish to Brock it seems like I’m getting assists. You can’t get assists without having good teammates."
All for now.