FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone conducted his weekly press conference earlier this afternoon, and we have a bit of news to pass along. Read on.
The biggest news to come from Bone's meeting with the media is that the NCAA has upheld its decision to not allow Que Johnson to practice this season. Johnson is on scholarship, and though the NCAA ruled him ineligible to play or practice prior to the season, WSU had sought a waiver to allow him to practice beginning this semester. But that request was denied. It shouldn't have any impact on Johnson's eligiblty for next season, Bone said, adding that he found the news “very unfortunate” and “disappointing.”
“They just stuck to their guns and said, 'no, he’s allowed to be in school, go to class, but he’s not allowed to practice,'” Bone said.
Here are some additional comments from Bone.
(On Arizona State running more with Jahii Carson) “They are different. They’re a much different team than they’ve been in the past. They’re looking to push it a ltitle bit more. They’ve got a big fella in the middle – well, they have more than one big guy in the middle – but they’ve got some guys in the paint that are really efficient and effective on both ends of the court and with Carson, he’s a guy that can beat you a lot of ways. He’s a good defender, a very, very good on-ball defender. He’s good in transition and then in the quarter-court he can make plays very well, especially for a freshman. And then they just have a lot of other pieces. I think Carrick Felix has been conference player of the week three times so obviously he’s really, really good. (Justin) Gilling is an outstanding shooter. They’ve got a really, really good team. There’s a reason why they’re tied for third at 5-2.”
(On ASU's defense) “They’ve changed. They’ve played a lot of matchup (zone) in the past but they’ve gone to playing more of a traditional man to man defense and they’ve had good success. Their statistics are good on the defensive end, too.”
(Are Arizona and ASU still such different teams to prepare for, or has that changed?) “Not as much. Not that that makes it easy to play them. If you add their record compared to any other travel partners I think they have the best win-loss record at I guess it’d be 10-4. I think they’re both 5-2. But they play a little more similar style now because of Arizona State now pushing it a little more in transition and playing just a little faster.”
(On Mike Ladd stepping up as a scorer) “We felt like Mike Ladd would be able to step in last year and contribute in a really positive way, maybe average 10 or 11 points a game. But because of the injuries, like I’ve mentioned numerous times, he was held back because of those injuries all season long. He either was hurt with the thumb or he was trying to play through it and he just didn’t really have an opportunity to show how good of a player he was last year.”
(Did you think he might not score as much this year because he has to handle point guard duties?) “Yeah, that’s fair to say because I really felt like he had so many other responsibilities with the ball, initiating our offense, just doing other things that he’d be more of a complementary player. But he’s done a great job and continues to score well for us.”
(Will you continue to try to rest guys earlier in the game to keep them fresh?) “It’ll be game to game. depending on the matchups, the tempo of the game, what we’re trying to do on both ends of the floor, whether Bryce (Leavitt) or anyone else gets in there.”
(On final possession against OSU and deciding not to foul) “We actually chose to foul. And we just didn’t do a very good job of fouling.”
(Where do you want that foul to occur?) “Depends where the ball is. is it underneath the basket? Is it being taken out on the other end where it was the other night, where they have to go the length of the court? How much time is on the clock. Who’s going to have the ball in their hands. There’s just so many things to think about in regards to what you’re going to do strategically. But in the incident the other night, we wanted to foul (Ahmad) Starks near midcourt. We figured he’d cross midcourt between five and six seconds and let’s foul him right about that point. But he made a good move and Mike Ladd couldn’t get to him.”
(On winning a close game) “It was huge for us at the time. You often wonder how that translates into the next game or games, so we’ll wait and find out. But I think for the time being it was really important for us to be able to come out of there on the road with a win and make some good plays to make that happen.”
(More on Ladd) “Right now, he’s a guy that we’re looking to get shots for and depending on him to provide for us until some other guys are able to do the same thing that he’s doing, which I think will happen. I don’t think you’re going to see for the rest of the season where certain guys aren’t able to score or not scoring. Royce Woolridge did a great job the other night the last few minutes. He stepped up, made a couple big buckets and then hit two critical free throws.”
(On D.J. Shelton) “I thought he did a good job. Came out, had 10 rebounds, did some really good things defensively. Did not make shots from the perimeter, but he did some good things for us.”
(Do you ever tell him to reel it in at all?) “No, I don’t, right or wrong. If they’re bad shots, I would. But I thought D.J. was getting good looks. He just didn’t make them. I think he’s a pretty good shooter. We see him every day in practice. We chart every shot. So he’s proven to us as a staff, as a team, that he’s a pretty good 3-point shooter. But that game he didn’t shoot well.”
(How can DaVonte Lacy get going?) “Make a few shots. I think if he makes a few shots he’ll be just fine.”
(On ASU's Carrick Felix) “I would say that he’s very similar to Mike Ladd in that he’s played a lot of minutes and he’s confident out there. Therefore he’s producing.”
(Have Felix and Ladd improved the most in the Pac-12?) “I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought but they’re two of the better ones. They’re two of the guys that have improved as much as anybody else. The (Jason) Washburn kid I think has improved quite a bit from Utah. Even one of Felix’s teammates, (Jordan) Bachynski. They’ve turned him into a great player. He’s going to have a chance to play in the NBA. There’s a few guys out there but I think Mike Ladd and Carrick Felix are two of the guys who have done a great job this year.”
(On Ladd and Woolridge) “I wouldn’t really say either one of them is our point guard. I think we have a few combo guards and I guess whoever initiates the play would be considered the point guard for that possession. But we change that around quite a bit. Mike is the guy most of the time but Royce initiates plays quite a bit also, so therefore on that possession Mike’s more of an off guard or a combo guard. They’re just sharing that responsibility.”