PULLMAN – There was no ultimatum issued by Washington State athletic director Bill Moos to men’s basketball coach Ken Bone.
But Bone, who met with Moos on Wednesday and will return to coach the Cougars next season, knows his team has to improve.
“He didn’t say anything like, ‘Hey, you’ve got to go to the NCAA tournament or you have to win X amount of games’,” Bone said. “We have to get better.
“I don’t think the players, myself, anybody in Coug Nation is excited about the amount of wins we have.”
WSU finished 13-19 and 4-14 in the Pac-12 this season, tied with Oregon State for 11th place in the conference standings.
The Cougars missed the NCAA tournament for the fifth consecutive season – four of those under Bone – and failed to reach the postseason for the first time since 2010.
The Cougars are 70-65 under Bone – the fifth-highest winning percentage by any WSU coach who worked three or more years – but attendance has waned.
WSU loses key seniors Brock Motum and Mike Ladd, but Bone said he thinks the players returning, as well as incoming recruits and those who redshirted this season, will form a solid foundation for next season.
“I think the kids showed this year a great amount of perseverance in a lot of games, and before they had to persevere, we showed we could play with a number of teams in our conference,” Bone said. “Unfortunately, we lost a lot of close ballgames. If we can clean some things up, take care of the ball better and get stops at critical times on the defensive end, I really believe we can compete with most of the teams in our league.”
Bone said he hasn’t met with players individually yet, so he isn’t sure if anyone plans to transfer or leave the program. He also isn’t sure if there will be any changes to the coaching staff.