Washington State center Jordan Railey has been a mainstay in the starting lineup, handling the opening tipoff in 18 of 20 games.
But while getting on the court has been a given for the 7-footer, staying there has been a challenge. WSU coach Ken Bone has had a quick hook for his starting center, as the junior transfer from Iowa State averages less than 16 minutes per game.
Railey did not see extensive minutes at ISU and had to sit out last season under NCAA transfer rules. As such, the coaching staff expected him to have some rust. But Bone said that when Railey struggles to put the ball in the basket toward the beginning of the game, it has a negative effect on the rest of his game.
“I felt like he was on his way but since then I think there are a few games where he did not have success and sometimes a guy can be his own worst enemy,” Bone said. “Jordan can be hard on himself and he’s a young man that wants to do well, he’s trying, he works hard every day in practice.”
Railey has shown flashes on offense, scoring 13 points in the Cougars’ win over Purdue. But with WSU last in the Pac-12 in scoring at 62.0 points per game, Bone said the team can’t afford to play Railey unless he’s a threat to score. The center currently averages 3.0 points per game.
“I believe strongly that his better days are ahead of him and he’s got to believe in himself that he can do it. We believe in him, he’s got to believe in himself,” Bone said.
Madison stuffs stats
The Vandals have typically had a balanced scoring attack under Don Verlin, but senior Stephen Madison has had to carry more of the load this season – in almost every facet of the game.
Madison, a 6-foot-6 small forward from Portland, came into the week as the only player in the nation to lead his team in five major statistical categories – points (17.5 per game), rebounds (7.8), assists (2.4), steals (0.8) and blocks (0.6).
Gonzaga junior guard Kevin Pangos celebrated his 21st birthday last Sunday in a “low-key” manner.
He joked that he started losing his voice, which wasn’t much of a present. Pangos, bothered by turf toe, said he achieved his main goal of getting treatment on his right big toe.
Pangos had family and friends in town and the group went out to dinner after Saturday’s win over BYU. Pangos joined a few teammates and buddies for a birthday dinner Sunday night, followed by a movie.
“Despicable Me,” Pangos said. “I didn’t get to finish it. I heard it’s a good one, I liked it so far.”