WSU Cougars: Has Ken Bone Lost Control of His Basketball Program?

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMarch 30, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10:  Washington State Cougars head coach Ken Bone reacts against the Oregon Ducks during the first round of the Pac-10 Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 10, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Oregon defeated Washington State in overtime 82-80.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Washington State Cougars couldn’t have looked any worse in the last two weeks if they had all gone online and started spouting marijuana-addled declarations about “winning!”

As if the dope arrests of Reggie Moore and Klay Thompson earlier in the season weren’t enough, the DeAngelo Casto fiasco last week put the Cougars’ pot problem over the top.

Then the Cougars followed that up with the two worst postseason games you might ever see. That 31-point blowout loss to Wichita State on Tuesday was the most pitiful game these dudes have played under Ken Bone, as bad as any of the losses by the pathetic teams coached by Kevin Eastman and Paul Graham in the 1990s and early 2000s.

At this point, reasonable minds should start to wonder whether Bone has lost this program and whether he really is the guy to get it done. 

These Cougars underachieved like almost no other basketball team in school history, and you don’t have to be sober to know all of the pot smoking was a major reason for that.  

They had a great national stage the last couple of weeks, and they blew it – almost like they were exhaling a massive cloud of stinking weed breath.  

As Bud Withers pointed out last week, you have to wonder what the parents of recruits think of this new Wazzu stigma. No longer just a drinking school, WSU has now become known as the home of reefer retards (that includes, of course, the football players who were busted for having a pot farm).  

Plus, who is going to want to play for a coach who can’t even get his boys to show up when they are one of only eight teams left playing in the NCAA and NIT? What a colossal hit to recruiting that embarrassing blowout had to be.

Steve Kelley wrote that the marijuana arrests should not reflect poorly on Bone. OK, for now we’ll agree with that. But the product on the court is all Bone. And those last two games were simply disgusting. How do you save your worst basketball for the end? 

Bone might be a good strategic coach, but he leaves much to be desired as a motivational figure. He just comes across as being too nice. No, he doesn’t need to be a bully like Bob Knight or Bob Huggins. But he needs to tell his kids to shape up or ship out. He needs to get his players to realize they should be lighting up the scoreboard, not doobies, during basketball season. 

Bone said he is embarrassed by the marijuana issue and will attack the problem even more strongly than he already had in the wake of the pot citations. What he should do is threaten to revoke the scholarships of anyone being caught with pot (or any other drug) during the season. Just kick them off the team, no questions asked. And if Bill Moos tries to intervene for the player, tell him to go to hell.

Pot smoking is not a big deal for everyday folks in everyday life. But athletes on scholarship (hell, even pros) should NOT be toking it up during the season. It’s pretty clear that part of the reason the Cougars were so lethargic and inconsistent this year is that their best players (and maybe more) had become a ganja gang, WSU’s version of the Doobie Brothers.

The pot arrests are just a symptom of the greater problem with WSU basketball right now: They are an immature bunch with no real leader.

Thompson certainly isn’t the leader. He’s just a shooter, a smoker, a midnight toker.

People are all concerned about Thompson going pro. But who cares if he leaves? The Cougars were only average with him.

And if Casto decides to go to Europe to smoke more doobie and take care of his kid, who cares?

Yeah, the program would take a step back without those two. But it’s not like it took a step forward with them.

Bone has potential as a coach, although his abilities to motivate and discipline are in severe question after this unbelievably retarded season.

Let the man get his own recruits in place over the next couple of years and see if he can take the Cougars back to the NCAA tournament. If he’s not in the tourney by 2013 (Year four of his tenure), it will be time for him to go.

The Cougs blew a perfectly good opportunity this year, ending with an embarrassing last couple of weeks, and nothing will ever remove the skunky, pot-generated stench of this massively underachieving season.