The Last-place Cougars Continue to Heat Bone’s Seat
As the Washington St. Cougars continue to plummet into the depths of Pac-12 insignificance, Ken Bone and his 24-44 Pac-10/12 record inch closer and closer to the inevitable—termination.
At the beginning of the season, Washington St. Athletic Director Bill Moos claimed that he expected the basketball program to compete in the mid-to-upper levels of the division. Three months into the year, the Cougars stand at 11-16 (2-12 in Pac 12), and are in dead last.
All season long, the Cougars have followed a similar blueprint—come out firing in the first half, build a second-half lead and then hand it right back as they falter down the stretch.
The Cougars have blown 11 second-half leads this season.
Through these issues, one can come to a few conclusions. It could be the team simply not having the difference makers to make the necessary plays in the clutch, or the opposing coaching staff puts together more efficient adjustments in the game plan at halftime—or something else altogether.
The fact of the matter is, the end result continues to be the same—another L on the schedule.
Amidst a seven-game losing streak, the logs continue to pile on the fire beneath Bone’s seat. If he indeed is fired at the season’s end, one play could be pointed to as a deciding factor.
With ten seconds left in overtime against No. 23 Oregon, Royce Woolridge dribbled the ball in an isolation set and let a deep three fly that rattled in to tie the game. Senior E.J. Singler then grabbed the inbound pass and ran the court in pursuit of a desperation buzzer-beater.
Right on cue, Dexter Kernich-Drew found a way to, once again, “Coug it.”
With four seconds left, Dexter Kernich-Drew intentionally fouled Singler at half court, putting the Pac-12’s leading free-throw shooter at the line to put the Ducks ahead.
Immediately after the foul, Kernich-Drew’ facial reaction was one of a man who knew he just lost his team the game. Who knows why he felt it necessary to foul, but all that matters is that the free throws were made, and the Ducks took the game that could have potentially saved Bone’s job.
Now was this Bone’s fault? Absolutely not. But will this be the play that will be pointed out in the instance of his termination? Very possible.
A rebuttal to Bone’s termination is the talent he has brought in, and the unfortunate off-court incidents that have occurred during his tenure.
Out of these four, production has been few and far between for each of them.
He also brought in the 6’5″ Demarquise Johnson—or “Que”—but he was designated academically ineligible for this season. However, he did receive a commitment from 4-star recruit Ikenna Iroegbu, who could be the penetrating point guard the team desperately needs.
Ultimately, the talent level is mediocre at best, and the production simply hasn’t been there. Even when Bone inherited two years of rising NBA star Klay Thompson and defensive standout Deangelo Casto, the team never placed higher than sixth in the Pac-10.
With Que and Iroegbu coming in next season, the team could improve. But with a dead last showing in another disappointing season under Bone, he might not be on the sidelines to see it.