Hello Followers. Hope you’re doing great.
As for me, well, the last several weeks of this has pretty well taxed my ability to become the super-human blogger that I almost entirely never am. But today, I am back in the saddle...
After the jumperoo, I will offer the most incredibly poignant analysis of the state of Cougar basketball that has graced these pages since yesterday...
Followers, those of you who have read this blog for a while know that I haven’t been a big fan of our coach, Mr. Ken Bone.
But, in spite of the fact that I haven’t been a central—or even peripheral--member of his fan club, I have rooted for us to do well over the years. And a good part of that “good spiritedness” has been reflected in my pretty consistent commitment to stay up late into the wee hours of the morn to watch us play on the tee-vee.
But this year, things have changed for me. Now, instead of staying up late to watch our team, I’ve been falling asleep before (or not long after) tipoff. And, on weekends, I have gone out to movies with the brood instead of watching games that would have otherwise captivated my time and interests in years past.
Of course, none of that should trouble Ken Bone and the other Banshees who help constitute Bone Nation.
But what should trouble Bone and his supporters is as follows: I am far from alone in my apathy. For instance, all it took was a quick look at my Twitter feed on Saturday night to see that virtually NO ONE was commenting on the WSU-UCLA game. Even more importantly, the Cougcenter.com game thread—which usually has 700 or so comments for each contest—now routinely has less than 60. And attendance? Well, let’s just say that a lot has changed since the higher points of the Bennett years.
Of course, Bill Moos is not blind to apathy that currently surrounds Cougar Hoops--an apapthy that LucasCoug and Huddy have recently coined as the #KenBoneEffect. And, in his weekly Cougar Calls show aired yesterday, Moos sent out an endorsement of Bone that made the word “tepid” seem ice cold. As noted by Cougcenter, this morning:
Asked point-blank if he has decided if Bone will be retained or let go after this season, Moos said, "No."
He added, "At the end of the day, I’m the one responsible for making those decisions, and it’s never easy."
Asked if money alone will impact his decision on Bone’s future, Moos said, "No."
With this quote firmly in mind, it’s now fair to say that we’re in the final countdown of the Bone era of Cougar Basketball. With the Cougs now sitting in the cellar at 2-9, we’re going to have win 5 out of the next 7 to give Bone a decent shot at returning next year. And based on the play we’ve seen so far, I think we all know that just isn’t going to happen.
And yes, I know that next year’s team—who will be comprised entirely of Bone recruits—figure to be much improved. But that is typically when an AD wants to pull the trigger—when the new guy has a chance to succeed right away. And nothing would do more to bring energy back into Cougar hoops than to put a different face on a program that was in the Sweet 16 not so long ago.
In the meantime, here’s to hoping that our boys and Bone can find a way to right this ship starting tomorrow night against the equally as hapless Oregon State Beavers.
But, like many of you, I’ll probably find myself reading about that game instead of watching it. And therein lies the problem of the current #KenBoneEffect.
All for now. Go Cougs!
Bruce Pearl. A Leach doppelganger. Big(ger) name, left previous position under questionable circumstances, lots to prove, but likely willing to stay.
Let the renaissance continue!
I have every intention of watching the game tonight. I even have every intention of writing about it. Just be warned that when tomorrow morning rolls around, our loyal readers may be treated to an exciting edition of "Counter-programming with Huddy".
Great takes, everyone. Clearly, there are very good reasons to keep Bone on for another year or so, and also some really good reasons for Moos to cut the chord.
It really all comes down to what Moos feels can and should be done relative to the long-term branding (external image) of the department regionally and nationally as well as its internal culture. For instance, its sure looks like the re-upping of June D. a couple years ago was a wise move. And retaining Bone could be in the long-term if he wins--It would promote SERIOUS loyalty to him within the department.
At the same time, if the overall culture of the department is complacency, and people feel okay about being second tier because of a comparative lack of resources, then Moos will pull the trigger--especially on his "big money" sports.
The recent passing of Jim Sweeney, RIP, will be a reminder to Moos on that. Sweeney had NOTHING going for him and got WSU to 15th in the Country in the early 70's. And despite his lack of a losing record to date, WSU has yet to finish in the top half of the conference during Bone's tenure (or won a game in the conference tournament)..
The $2.55M buyout is scary, but the way a certain donor has been tweeting lately, it wouldn't shock me if a fund was already set aside. I'm so apathetic, as the TimeLine for @LucasCoug would indicate, but it would be interesting to see what a year with Que Johnson and that Irogbue kid running PG could do in his system. But, if the money is there to buy him out, you know Moos won't go with an underwhelming hire.Names to Consider
-Stew Morrill: Was on the short list to replace Bennett. Sorry Shaney
-Montana Coach: Can't remember his name
-Randy Bennett: Don't see him leaving St Marys for WSU
-Quin Snyder: Mega successful at Mizzou, local-ish, current assistant in Europe or Asia
Seriously though, i wonder if he would leave Logan. He is LDS and Logan is about 80% LDS, so don't discount that. Also, he has about 95% winning % at home.He is in his 26th year I believe, so we'd be getting at the end of his career.
Of course he did play at Gonzaga so he has some Eastern WA roots. Also he may be interested in coaching a team that won't get seeded 14 or lower every time they make the tournament. He's been bounced in the 1st round all but one of their NCAA trips. Still I think there are some better options for us:
Leon Rice - is doing well at Boise State and he is a Coug and was a big part of Few's staff at Gonzaga.
Seth Green - Maybe not a west coast/small town kind of guy, but a helluva coach relegated to the commentary circuit at the moment.
Still kind of baffled by what Sterk was thinking, giving Bone 7 years guaranteed at over $800k....but I digress.
I'm not sure what to do with this whole situation. We've clearly gotten worse over the last 4 years...but NCAA basketball is one of those things where you can bring in 2 guys over the off-season and completely turn a team around. Do I have confidence that we can do that? Not really. But on the other hand, you never can quite tell when you're on the cusp of something great (or something terrible), because there is so much personnel change year-to-year. I'm leaning towards giving him one more year, to save the money and see if these guys coming in can make the difference.
On the other hand, if he stink it up next year and the off-court shenanigans continue, then its definitely time to cut our losses...maybe even mid-season.
I think Bone is actually a pretty good coach. He may not be so good a recruiter. He was really invested in two prep school kids to come in a do great things. One never made it in (maybe anywhere) and the other's grades were too low to play this season.
Without a point guard, we are hurting. without another big guy who can score, we are hurting. We have several just okay role players who do not score well playing a fair amount of minutes because the overall quality now is average to below average. Next year should be significantly better.
I will not be sad to see him go, but I would also not be upset if he stayed another year, either.
Also, great point about how quiet twitter and other forums are during games now. A deafening silence, if you will. It makes me wonder... Even though basketball is not the revenue generator that football is, it certainly doesn't have to be a drag on revenue. Empty seats and lack of post season games cost the department money too. At what point do the gains of bringing some of that patented Moos "sizzle" to the b-ball program off-set the cost of making a change?
For most of the season, I have been almost completely content giving Bone year 5 as a last chance. But then I consider this idea we all seem to have that next year's team with the additions of Raily, Que, Irogbu, Lancona, etc, is going to be so much better. We are losing our top 2 scorers and replacing them with a bunch of rookies. Its certainly no guarantee that we will improve just because of personnel. I also don't feel like this team suffers from some great dearth of talent. if you want to win basketball games at Wazzu, this is the kind of talent you need to be able to win with. I watch this team and all I can think is, DAMN i would love to see this squad in the hands of Kelvin Sampson.
Part of me really thinks if a change is inevitable, why wait? As that article points out we can payoff Bones salary yearly, meaning we don't have to swallow the whole thing in one painful gulp. If I really believed that this teams problems were even 65% related to personnel, I would be content staying put, but nothing I see convinces me of that.
My love is football and I lack both knowledge of and a good “feel” for basketball. Only when something about a team intrigues me do I really follow their progress over the season. This Cougar team intrigues me. It is a team that looks like it should be in competition with the Gonzagas and Arizonas but is just missing something. Whether that is a true point guard, or maybe just stronger fingers for Brock Motom, I really haven’t a clue. But I think they are “that close”.
I am not a Bone Banshee (although, I believe that is me on the far left of the group photo) but I think one more year is called for.
I was hoping for Monkeys riding dogs, but I'll take a lion on a horse.
I don't know what to think anymore about Bone. You hear Moos yesterday say that money isn't an issue if they deem it worthy to make a change, but then you see Nusser's article about Bone and his contract and the idea of paying $2+ million to Bone whether he coaches or not? You just wonder if it's worth it to ride it out a couple more years and see what happens. I mean college hoops is only what, about 15% of the bottom line for an athletic department anyway? Even if hoops was totally HOT right now, it still isn't as big of a deal as is football in national exposure, bottom line, etc. But if they continue to play like a last place team the next two years, and the apathy sinks to pre-Bennett levels, is the hole too deep to dig out of? It's a tough pill to swallow - take the $2+ million dollar hit now, or risk Mrs. Last place finishes for two more years and all the while get down to about 1,000 fans per game. It's just not such a cut-n-dry solution here!
Lion on a horse! Freaking lion on a freaking horse.
I would like to say that I'm bummed our for Mike Ladd and Brock Motum. Those dudes are gamers and it's unfortunate that they are stuck in the "Nobody gives a crap" era. I like a lot of this team, really. The whole thing is a bummer.
@Huddy Agreed. I used to be able to get into the idea of firing guy A so we could hire sexy replacement candidates A-G.
And while I'll probably be pretty geeked about a coaching search if it winds up happening, mostly the whole thing bums me out. After losing a job due to budget cuts a few years back, I know how much it sucks to lose your job and all that comes with it. And when you see Bone on the TV these days, you can see how much this is wearing on him.