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Ken Bone and the team he leaves behind

From Pullman — Rejoice, anti-Bone blog commenters. Your long-awaited day is at an end. Washington State athletic director Bill Moos fired basketball coach Ken Bone earlier this morning in the fifth-year of his seven-year contract. No word yet on who his replacement may be, but here is our story on the firing, Bone thoughts on his tenure and a look at who could be next.

Before he left Bone and I spoke in-depth about next year's roster and what he expects to see from certain players. His thoughts are after the jump.


On the Team:

It really is a group, and I told them in the locker room after the (Stanford loss in the Pac-12 tournament opening round), “It’s one of the most favorite teams I’ve ever had a chance to coach, and yet maybe one of the worst teams I’ve coached in 30 years.” But it’s because they’ve had really good attitudes, they’ve been extremely coachable, they’ve been a close-knit group. They play together and they have fun, it’s hard to have fun when you’re not winning games. It’s hard. But because of the character with a lot of these kids and the leadership, believe it or not it was a great group to work with.

The losses have been very difficult. It’s hard to lose. This isn’t little league. So that is difficult but what a great group of guys if you’re going to go through a losing season and it was a great group of guys to have to go through it with.

On DaVonte Lacy:

Hopefully an injury-free, great player because he’s getting better and better. He needs to work on his ball-handling, but he’s improved in almost all other areas of his game. I’d like to see him improve in his rebounding, too. He needs to improve in rebounding and ball-handling. His defense – I think he’s done a good job of valuing defense more than in the past and I think he’s become a very good scorer. He really knows how to score. There are some guys that are just shooters but he scores a variety of ways.

I think the other thing he could add to his game is being able to post up. So come off that high-post rub and if they’re guarding him with a quicker guy, just make it miserable for people to guard him. If they’re guarding him with a big guy then take the guy outside like against California. Cal kept switching so we set on-balls, let them switch and then isolate him. If they guard him with quicker guys, which would be a good option at times to get a different look, post him up a bit. Take the quickness away and let him use his strength.

So I think he’s so versatile and multi-dimensional in how he can score that he’s going to be able to put up some good numbers.

On D.J. Shelton's season:

I think DJ did such a great job, especially his rebounding. Unfortunately he missed the last, I don’t know how many 3’s he shot on the year but … I just can’t believe it. It’s hard to imagine that. But on the positive side he did a great job effort-wise. I mean he really, really left it on the floor every night. And man, did he have some great rebounds that last game or not? I mean those weren’t just rebounds those were putbacks and on a couple of them I think he got fouled on them. To have that many double-doubles is really impressive. And so I believe he’ll get an opportunity and maybe a tryout and get a chance to play in the NBA summer league and see where it goes.

It was hard to take him off the court. I lean toward guys like that if you go back over the last 20 years of my coaching I’ve been fortunate to usually have a 4 man who takes the ball out of bounds, we run the offense through quite a bit through the high-post or top of the key, and that guy has got to be skilled enough to help break the press and DJ was a good fit for that. And he kind of worked himself into that position because, really, we recruited him to be more of a DeAngelo Casto but it didn’t seem like he was as efficient in the paint so we moved him to the perimeter and not every night, like at the end of the year he didn’t do it, but for the two years he did a pretty good job shooting the ball he did a really good job handling the ball, being able to make passes and doing some things to help us.

On Ike Iroegbu:

A lot of physical tools: speed, explosiveness. He has some stuff there but we need to help him understand when to do what.

It was hard to play (Ike) consistently because I didn’t feel he was playing consistent. You know one of the worst things that happened to him was he went up and – Mark Few and I just talked about this a week or so ago – he had that phenomenal game against Gonzaga. And I think he set the bar pretty high for a lot of people and himself, and sometimes a situation like that can be detrimental because you’re all, ‘I did it! And I did it against Gonzaga, I know I can do this.” And as the games went on, and more and more people knew about him and how to guard him, it becomes harder. At the end of the year people got up in D.J., took away his 3 and forced him left. Tough deal. And that’s the same thing that happened with Ike.

I got a text from Daivd Lang, our strength coach about 1:30 a.m. … and he just said Ike came by his room, or called him or something at midnight, and asked when they could meet to talk about offseason training and conditioning stuff.

On Josh Hawkinson:

Josh I think is going to get better, too. If there is one guy on the time who, if he came to the office and said, ‘look, I really feel I should have played more, can you help me understand why I didn’t more minutes?” I think it would be Josh. I think he would have every right to come in and say why.

And my answer would be, “You’re a freshman and unless you totally beat out the other guys I was really going to go with the upperclassmen.” I mean we’re going to play the best players but Jordan Railey – you know maybe I’ve given him too many chances. Because it’s not like he had a great year. But I think there is something there. And he showed it against UCLA, I mean he showed it against one of the best teams in the country. He rebounded, he scored a couple buckets, he was aggressive, he was good defensively. We need to work with him on and off the court.

On Jordan Railey:

I really, honestly think Jordan Railey’s got a chance to be a good, solid big for us. There’s a lot that’s gone on in his life this last year that most college kids don’t have to deal with. I think next year will be an easier season for him and I just foresee him being a better basketball player.

On Tramaine Isabell:

I also think Tramaine Isabell is really good and we need scoring and he can score. It’s not like, ‘well, he needs another year or two.’ No. He could step in and help out right away.

He can handle the ball. He’s a good ball-handler and he can create opportunities for others and he can definitely score. I think he had a really good year and physically he’s strong, too. It’s not like he’ll need a year or two to get a little bigger and stronger – some kids do. He’s strong, he’s put together. 


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