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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bone talks USC, UCLA

COUGARS

While we wait for a return phone call – one of the major pastimes of journalists – we thought we would catch you up on basketball coach Ken Bone's press conferences today, so read on.

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• OK, we got our call back concerning linebacker Louis Bland's arrest early Saturday morning for second-degree assault. The story we put together will be on the next post. ... Back to basketball and to Bone's press calls (you can watch his comments to the local questions on the video below, courtesy of the WSU athletic video department and Jared Prenguber). The first question concerned getting ready for USC and if, after the egg WSU laid following the first win over Washington, Bone was planning on anything different this time. He said as far as the on-court preparation no, though he admitted he wanted to turn the page faster this time, so the Cougars started working on USC at Monday's practice. Usually, the prep starts Tuesday. ... The difference between USC early in the season and USC now? Experience, Bone said. The Trojans have fine-tuned some things and they are clicking on all cylinders. ... The keys against USC are simple, Bone said: keep the bigs off the glass and the guards in front. And WSU has to do a better job of valuing the basketball. ... I asked about Klay Thompson and his quicker free throws Sunday and Bone said he really didn't notice a difference. I did. ... Asked about the prep for a Saturday game and a Thursday game and the difference. That's for a story I'm doing for Saturday. Anyhow, one part of Bone's answer was interesting. The trip to Washington used to be a nightmare for the visiting teams, trying to get ready for two different styles. Now, it's a lot easier as WSU and UW play in quite similar ways. ... USC has one of the better big tandems in the conference with Nikola Vucevic and Alex Stepheson. Bone said everyone knows the inside game isn’t WSU's strength, so the two will challenge the Cougars in ways most teams don't. He also said he thinks the 6-foot-10 Vucevic might be the best NBA prospect in the conference. ... Asked about his expectations, Bone said in terms of wins and losses, this team is about where he thought it would be. Of course, some of the losses were disappointing but a couple of the wins made him ecstatic. ... With how well USC and UCLA are playing right now, Bone thinks two wins this week will put the Cougars back into the NCAA at-large discussion again. ... On the Pac-10 call, Bone talked about many of the same things, but did talk more about the play of DeAngelo Casto. Asked if Casto was overlooked and whether he needed to be considered for All-Pac-10 consideration, Bone answered yes to both. He thinks the overlooked part comes from people too often just looking at statistics and Casto's aren't eye-popping. But the one thing he as a coach appreciates is Casto brings his A-game every night and on nearly every possession.

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• Here is the video of Bone's local presser ...

 




Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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