FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone's press conference was cancelled today — he was supposed to return from a recruiting trip in Seattle this morning but his travel plans got muddied — but he still was available on the Pac-12 coaches' call. We have some notes from that, as well as from WSU players, to pass along. Read on.
For tomorrow's newspaper, we wrote about WSU's ongoing search for a team identity. So we asked Bone what he thinks the Cougars' identity is at this point. Bone said what he's seen is a group of players “trying to pull together and compete every night. Every game they have gone out there and competed hard, tried to play together as a group. I know I appreciate their effort and the fact they’re trying to do it as a team. Sometimes it looks like Brock (Motum) is a on- man show. It takes them a great deal of effort to get him the ball and execute things.” … Mike Ladd says he thinks WSU is still searching for an identity, though he believes that kind of thing starts on the defensive end. “The main key with us is we need to defend. Even if we’re not completing buckets and we’re not doing well on the offensive end, if we can get stops, we’re limiting the other team to less shots. … I would love for that to be our identity. If we can stop the other team from scoring, buckets will come for us. We’ll get more transition buckets. Defense is the key to win games.” … D.J. Shelton said the team's identity isn't established but that the Cougars have at least found out they have a number of players who can score. “We’re still searching, because any given night DaVonte (Lacy) could have a good game, then Royce (Woolridge) and then Mike and even me. So I feel like Utah has been one of our best games so far as far as our starters and key players giving production offensively.” … As for Oregon, Bone and players see what everyone else has seen during the Ducks' hot start — a balanced team with several offensive weapons that plays hard on both ends of the court. “I think thye’ve added some really, really good players,” Bone said. “They’ve added a number of guys that are in the rotation that can really play and they’re doing a great job not just on the offensive end of being able to score, they’re very actively defensively, playing confident and good basketball.” … Ladd said he's watched Oregon play a couple of times, and that “they’ve got good defense. They pressure the ball pretty well and they try not to let the best scorers on the other team touch the ball and do what they do best. They’re good offensively, though. They’re an under control team. They take their time until they get good shots.” … Bone said WSU's travel plans are the same as they were for its first trip — the Cougars flew to Eugene today, will fly back after tomorrow's game, then will fly back down on Friday and return on Saturday night.
All for now.