Washington State head coach Ken Bone is in year five at the helm in Pullman. The first two seasons went fine — two postseason berths, albeit of the secondary tournaments in the NIT and CBI — though the players were almost entirely recruited by Bone’s predecessor, Tony Bennett. Since the start of year three, Bone’s Cougars are 41-56 overall and 13-38 in the Pac-12 Conference. The past two seasons, leading up to Friday night’s matchup with in-state rival Washington, Bone’s team is just 22-37 overall and 6-27 in conference play.
Bone joined us on the Steve Sandmeyer Show Wednesday and offered his thoughts on the job he’s done at Washington State and some of the things he would have done differently up until this point.
“Obviously hindsight’s 20-20 and if we could all go back we’d create a perfect situation in most cases. I think what I would do basketball wise, is we would have recruited and put more time into recruiting internationally. I think there is some real value in that and we did not do that.”
When asked about some of things that have gone right, Bone spoke highly of his players, their work ethic and how they have handled themselves on campus and in the community. “But we have not won games,” Bone added. “And I understand at this level, and most levels, you need to win ball games. That comes with the territory.”
The general buzz on Bone is that there’s a pretty strong chance this is his final year at the helm, but in this day and age with mass media analysis and opinions flying around freely, the opinions of Bone’s tenure early and at present have varied.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of criticism,” Bone said of his performance as head coach. “And I guess I deserve it. We’re 2-13 in league and that’s not good enough. If people want to criticize me, I’m fine with that. I should have been able to do a better job up to this point.
“Down deep I think I’m a good coach. I could be better, but I think I’m a good coach. I think there’s times over the years that maybe I’ve received more praise than I deserved, and when you’re not doing well you probably received more criticism than you deserved.”
Bone on Romar
Bone is a former assistant under Lorenzo Romar at Washington and on the show we’ve discussed the situation with Romar at Montlake. No tourney for what is going on three straight years, and it appears that next season may be more of the same, considering who is leaving — C.J. Wilcox — who is returning and what the recruiting class looks like.
Bone spoke glowingly, however, of Romar’s abilities and performance as a head coach, not that we’d expect anything different from a disciple.
“I don’t think people realize how good of a coach he is,” Bone said. “When he does well, it seems like people compliment the players, ‘what great talent,’ and when he’s not doing well it appears to me on the outside ‘well, he doesn’t know what he’s doing.’ He knows what he’s doing. He’s a very good coach, he knows the game well and he’s phenomenal with people and that’s half of coaching.”
Bone’s Cougars take on Romar’s Huskies at Hec Edmundson Pavillion Friday night.
Listen to the interview with coach Bone in its entirety