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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

WSU Basketball Faces Uncertainty Heading into the 2012-2013 Season

While the Mike Leach era of Cougar football is just a few months away from making it’s debut game on a Thursday night against BYU on ESPN, that does not stop Cougar basketball from getting multiple headlines. Unfortunately most of these headlines are not positive for Cougar fans all over the world. The 2012 basketball signing class was thought to be Ken Bone’s best signing class during his tenure at WSU so far, and the best WSU basketball signing class since the 2008 signing class which featured Klay Thompson, Marcus Capers, and DeAngelo Casto just to name a few. However, recruiting blunders are currently unfolding. It all started with Richard Peters the center from Toronto Canada not being able to qualify for school at Washington State University, which now has Peters looking at junior college options in hopes of working towards playing Division 1 basketball. Although Peters will still be in contact with WSU and will likely have them as one of the top schools to consider when the recruiting process reopens up again, this one really hurts. Richard Peters, despite being listed as 2 star recruit on had attracted a lot of attention throughout the recruiting process grabbing offers from Washington State, Washington, Clemson, Seton Hall, and Auburn most notably.

            While the loss of center Richard Peters was a huge blow to the basketball program, more worries are possibly unfolding to realties. The best-rated recruit in the 2012 class, guard from Phoenix Arizona, Demarquise Johnson faces the same questions that Richard Peters had in academic eligibility for enrolling into Washington State University. Before committing to Washington State University, Demarquise Johnson was listed as a 3 star prospect on ESPN, and listed him as a 4 star prospect and was drawing interest to many schools throughout the nation, however the three schools that made the hardest push were UNLV, Gonzaga, and Washington.
            Recruiting changes are not the only things that are taking place. Head coach Ken Bone, who will be entering his fourth season at Washington State made a drastic coaching change in hopes to help strengthen the recruiting process. Jeff Hironaka a close friend of Ken Bone and a three time assistant coach for WSU has been demoted and will no longer be an assistant coach for Washington State University, however Hironaka will still have a role on the team. One of the reasons as to why Hironaka was demoted was because Bone wanted to add a recruiter who has contacts in places that other recruiters at WSU do not currently have. Before Hironka was demoted, WSU had three assistant coaches who essentially recruited most of their players in Australia and Washington; those are the two big pipelines that WSU recruiting feeds off of. While Ken Bone is looking for an assistant coach to fill Hironka’s vacant position, its fair to assume that whoever Ken Bone hires will surely help to diversify WSU basketball in recruiting areas that WSU has not been opened to.

            With recruiting and coaching changes taking place, what does this tell us about the state of the program? What does this tell us about Ken Bone? Is it time to think about cougar basketball without Bone as the head coach? After all Bone has had three full seasons to showcase his coaching abilities and let’s not forget that for two of those seasons he had Klay Thompson at his disposal to help lead the Cougar’s toward the NCAA Tournament and he has fell short all three seasons that has resulted in trips to the NIT and CBI Tournament. With the recent hire of Mike Leach, athletic director Bill Moos is not afraid to go big and make a change and although I personally think Ken Bone has this program heading into the right direction, this upcoming season, given the latest recruiting class blunders and coaching changes will give all Cougar fans a great indication of where the program is headed and if they are heading in the right direction, otherwise Ken Bone may have to be concerned about more then just recruiting changes and assistant coaching changes.

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