Bone says Gonzaga might be better than ever

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FROM PULLMAN — Ken Bone met with reporters today to discuss Wednesday's game against Gonzaga, as well as a few other things. Read on for notes.


– Bone was more optimistic about DaVonte Lacy's chances of playing on Wednesday than I expected. He said Lacy will warm up this afternoon and if all goes well, he'll practice with the team for the first time since injuring his left knee against Kansas on Nov. 19. If he's able to go through practice without any setbacks, Bone said “my guess is he’ll be playing Wednesday, but again it’s one step at a time and the next step is see how he does warming up today.” If Lacy is able to play against Gonzaga, that would put his recovery time at just over two weeks.

Bone said he wasn't sure if Lacy would start or come off the bench if he is able to play. They won't know that until Wednesday, and it'll depend on how close he is to 100 percent.

– On Gonzaga's big frontcourt — 7-footers Przemek Karnowski and Kelly Olynyk, 6-foot-9 Sam Dower and 6-foot-8 leading scorer Elias Harris — Bone said it'll be a “huge challenge, because not only do they have size, they’ve got guys that could potentially end up in the NBA. They’re not just big, (but) athletic, good strength, active. They’ve got all the pieces inside between at least the four guys and they just keep coming at you. It’ll definitely present a challenge.”

I asked Bone if he was curious to see how Brock Motum fares against such a deep, talented group, the likes of which he probably won't see the rest of the season in the Pac-12. Bone said “I’m always curious how Brock’s going to do. It doesn’t matter who we play because if we feel the other team’s a little undermatched at his position, they still might double him, they can smother the post, they can corral him. There’s different ways they can defend Brock and it seems he gets every look during the course of three or four games.”

More quotes from Bone …

(On how WSU can combat Gonzaga's size advantage) “On the offensive end there’s chances to bring the big guys out. Some teams have tried that. You can try to go at them and see if somebody gets in foul trouble. The problem with a team like Gonzaga is they just keep coming at you because it’s not like they’re just two bigs deep. They’ve got a third and a fourth and for all I know maybe they’ve got a fifth guy there too. It’s a challenge.

(On Gonzaga's guards) “Their backcourt’s very good. There’s a reason why they’re tanked 10th or 11th or 12th in the country. They’re a very good team. It might be their best team ever. It very well could be the best Gonzaga team they’ve ever had. Up to this point, you can definitely argue that. They have all the pieces and depth to be a really, really good team throughout the year.”

(On whether the team gets more excited to play Gonzaga) “I would assume they are but the name Gonzaga’s not come up yet. It will this afternoon. Last game we were concentrating on Portland. After the game we told them, 'you’ve got Sunday off, we’ll see you Monday at 3.' We know Gonzaga is the team we play next on Wednesday but we have not talked about them at all as a team. But they’ll be excited. Any time you play at home it’s exciting and any time you play an opponent the caliber of Gonzaga, it’s a real challenge. So I think it’s an exciting opportunity for our kids.”

(On Woolridge shooting more against Portland) “He had eight shots against Idaho, he just didn’t make any of them. I think if he would have made a couple, he would have taken 10 or 12 shots that game. He just came out against Portland, maybe there were opportunities because he hadn’t shot well the game before, and therefore he got better looks at the basket and he made the best of it.”

(On the death of Rick Majerus) “Rick Majerus did an outstanding job coaching basketball for a number of years and that’s what he’ll be remembered for, just what a great x-and-o coach he was, and taking that Utah team to the Final Four I think in 1998, if I’m not mistaking it, when they played Kentucky. They did not have near the talent but there they were in the championship game and I think a lot of it had to do with his knowledge of the game and being able to educate guys on how to play the game.”

(On Motum leading the team in scoring every game) “It doesn’t bother me, but it is nice when other kids can produce those kind of points, where Brock is not the leading scorer every night. You look at some programs and maybe the leading scorers are anywhere from 14 to 8 (points per game) and it’s harder for other teams to key on certain guys because any night, somebody else can be the leading scorer. So it would be nice to have two or three guys at least who are capable of scoring 20 or 25 in a game. Hopefully that’ll happen. It happened the other night where Royce got 20, I think. Maybe down the road it’ll happen again.”

Christian Caple can be reached at christianc@spokesman.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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