Tuesdays with Ken Bone
FROM PULLMAN — We have news, notes and quotes from coach Ken Bone's meeting with the media on Tuesday. Read on.
– On the subject of the Seattle game — or the Cougar Hardwood Classic, if you're into semantics — Bone said he's been in talks with Idol Sports and Entertainment, the company that hosts and promotes the event, about scheduling a possible home-and-home (or home-and-neutral, or neutral-and-neutral) with a bigger program, with WSU traveling one season and hosting (even if it's in Seattle) the next. But it's been difficult to entice bigger programs to make the trip to Seattle, something Bone said has surprised him.
“Us trying to get them to start the home and home or the neutral neutral or whatever it might be has been very difficult,” Bone said.
“I know it’s difficult to get teams here (Pullman). But I thought more teams would be interested in coming to the Seattle area and playing, but we’ve not been able to lure too many BCS schools to Seattle to play in the Hardwood Classic over the years.”
Bone said smaller schools such as Portland have been able to schedule home games with teams like Kentucky and UNLV, both of which have players with ties to the Portland area (Terrence Jones and Mike Moser).
“Unfortunately, Pullman and the Palouse is not home to many kids out there,” Bone said. “So that’s hard. But we did reach out to schools like Louisville with Peyton Siva and some other schools like that to see if we can get them to play in Seattle, and there are very few to choose from, and it just hasn’t worked out yet and we continue to try to get those games in Seattle.”
– Bone said there's a possibility that Que Johnson, who is enrolled at WSU but ineligible to play this season, could be cleared to practice with the team next semester. Bone said the school is waiting for final grades to be released before applying for a waiver with the NCAA.
– Will DiIorio practiced today for the first time since spraining his ankle against Gonzaga on Dec. 5. Bone estimated that he practiced for about a third of the session and did fine, though he's still questionable to play on Friday against Buffalo. Bone said the training staff told him “it’s probably best if we can wait until after Christmas for him to be 100 percent.”
More quotes from Bone …
(On practicing more during holiday break) “It’s been good. We’ve had time to do exactly that. There were a couple times even today, this morning, where we were on a drill and it just wasn’t going quite the way we wanted, we weren’t getting out of it exactly what we wanted, we just added on four or five minutes. And I rarely, rarely, rarely do that, but knowing that the guys don’t have any homework, there’s not a whole lot going on, so just feel like we have the flexibility to add a few minutes here and there if we need to, so we’ve taken advantage of that.”
(Has the focus been better?) “Yeah, most days. Today wasn’t great. It was decent but first half-hour took a while for the guys to get going. Maybe that has something to do with starting fairly early. Once we got going we had a good workout today and we’ve had some good practices and the focus has been good.”
(Do you like having these “home” games during Christmas break at neutral sites?) “That’s a great question. A couple years ago I would have said no, we really need all of our games on our home court. That’s where we need to play, on our home court where we practice every day and work out. But the way the crowds have been the last two times out against Fresno State and Jackson State, maybe there’s something to be said about going on the road, if the road’s two hours away or an hour and a half away to Spokane, or to Seattle, to get better support, we’ve been able to get good crowds to those games over the last few years and unfortunately because of finals we just have not been able to draw very well in Pullman, especially the last two games that we’ve had.”
(On Que Johnson) “We are waiting to receive his grades and to see how he did this last semester and there’s a chance that he could practice. That’s a process. We need to send a waiver into the NCAA and see if we can get that through. There’s hope to get him on the practice court early January.”
“This is his redshirt season whether he practices or not this next semester, so he’s redshirting this year and then next year he would be a freshman eligibility wise.”
(What would it mean to get him on the floor?) “It’d be great. He’s not been around very much at all so he doesn’t really know what we’re doing. He’s at games and he’s been at a few practices but he doesn’t really know. So it would be good for him to get acclimated to our system and then just naturally, get on the court and do what he loves to do and get better at the game of basketball.”