Cougar Corner | WSU Basketball Coach Ken Bone Makes Five Great Moves

Lew WrightSenior Writer IApril 23, 2009

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 20:  Head coach Ken Bone of the Portland State Vikings coaches against the Kansas Jayhawks during the Midwest Region first round of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 20, 2008 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

How would you describe Washington State Cougar basketball these days?

Two words—fast paced.

The tempo for WSU hoops picked up just a little over three weeks ago, on a Sunday evening when Coach Tony Bennett was locked in as the head man, spring was creating natural beauty in Pullman, WA.

By Monday afternoon, it was official. Coach Bennett was high-tailing it out of Pullman for the greener pastures of Virginia.


Not really. Things were just beginning to rev up.

WSU Athletic Director Jim Sterk managed to interview nine candidates to replace Bennett in less than a week. 

There was barely enough time for good-hearted speculation and gossip to take hold before Sterk delivered on his promise to make a choice in less than two weeks.

Just eight days after the departure of Bennett, Coach Ken Bone was being officially introduced as the new head coach for Washington State basketball.

Shortly after the press conference which signaled a new era for Cougar basketball, Coach Bone was already working on getting to know players on the roster and four recruits who signed letters of iIntent to attend WSU.

First things first. Almost immediately, standout prospect from Spokane, Anthony Brown made it clear he was now even more excited about becoming a Coug and playing for Coach Bone.

One of the issues addressed by Coach Bone at his first press conference was the importance of surrounding himself with outstanding assistant coaches.

The second great move, following up confirmation that Brown will be in Pullman soon, was the hiring of an assistant coach.

Coach Bone didn't have too look far from his new office in Bohler Gym. The first assistant coach added to the basketball staff was Ben Johnson.

Coach Johnson was such a strong member of Coach Bennett's staff, many felt he should be considered for the head coach job at WSU.

With Coach Johnson in place on the staff, Coach Bone was off to Northern California to meet with highly touted prospect Xavier Thames. It was no secret that Thames was caught off guard by Bennett's departure and was hesitant to comment on his commitment to WSU.

In less than a week, the third great move fell into place for Coach Bone. Thames echoed the sentiments of his classmate at WSU, Brown. Xavier and his family were even more excited about Washington State.

Not only was this move a great one for Coach Bone, it negated the possibility that the talented Thames might end up at another Pac-10 school.

Fast forward to last weekend. Coach Bone and Coach Johnson traveled to Australia to meet with a third member of WSU's incoming class of 2009, Brock Motum. Before Bone could return home to Pullman, Motum was solidly committed to playing Cougar basketball. The fourth great move completed by a man who had less than two weeks on the job.

Yesterday Coach Bone announced a fifth great move with the hiring of Curtis Allen, who was on his staff for four years at Portland State.

Allen brings competitive experience, energy, and enthusiasm to the Cougar basketball program. He's passionate about the game of basketball and an outstanding recruiter, anxious to be a part of something special at Washington State.

Cougar Nation has come to expect a basketball program that is well coached in fundamentals and executes a game plan designed to produce winning results.

Even the most optimistic fans would likely concede Coach Bone made some great moves at a pace which is uncharacteristic of Cougar basketball.

But isn't WSU basketball known for a deliberate pace?

Not anymore...


Originally published on

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