PULLMAN – Washington State basketball coach Ken Bone was trying his best to criticize Cougar post…
COUGAR HOOPS NOTEBOOK
Charlie Enquist is considering a career as a pediatrician or oncologist. He's worried that his 3.1 grade point average won't dazzle med schools, but he hopes the time demands of playing basketball will be taken into consideration.
Enquist's dad, Paul, rowed for the Cougars and won a gold medal in double sculls at the 1984 Summer Olympics. Now a longshoreman in Seattle, Paul was one of Charlie's youth basketball coaches, so dad gets an extra kick out of watching his son finally getting to play regularly as a fifth-year senior.
"He's enjoying it," Enquist said. "He's pretty proud."
Enquist is just glad he survived the workouts his dad pushed him through as a youngster.
"He'd take me to the stairs," Enquist recalled. "He said, ‘The legs feed the wolf.'
"I got a lot of his rowing workouts. They'd kill me."
Enquist, who went off scholarship his second year at WSU as part of a prearranged deal with Tony Bennett, said he almost transferred to Cal Poly after that season because he did not believe Bennett would put him back on scholarship.
Soon after Bone was hired, he put Enquist back on scholarship, and the graduate of little King's High School said he is delighted he stayed in Pullman.
He'll be back on his home turf this Sunday when the Cougs visit Hec Ed Pavilion to take on the Dawgs in a 4 p.m. game that will be televised on ROOT Sports. The Huskies are 9-1 at home, 10-6 overall and 3-1 in Pac-12 play. That one home loss was a baffling 92-73 whuppin' at the hands of South Dakota State last month.
The Huskies also struggled at home with 3-11 Seattle U before pulling out a 91-83 win Tuesday.
"They've had some ups and downs like we have," said Enquist. "They lost to South Dakota State. They also played Duke pretty tough (in an 86-80 loss)."
Enquist said the Cougars did not look past the lowly Utah Utes in last week's overtime loss in Salt Lake City. "They got some momentum," he said. That mo carried to Saturday when the Utes only fell to Washington by a 57-53 margin. Colorado routed Washington 87-69 last Thursday, and the Buffaloes were handling WSU with ease Saturday before the Cougars rallied late in a 71-60 defeat.
"Taking two losses, it's a little tough on our confidence right now," Enquist said. "We just need to get back on the right track."
COUGAR HEAD COACH Ken Bone, in his third season at WSU, has a record of 47-35, which puts him, at this stage of his tenure, ahead of such former WSU coaching luminaries as Jack Friel, Marv Harshman, George Raveling, Kelvin Sampson and Dick Bennett.
Of course, those five each took over when serious rebuilding was needed, while Bone inherited a program on solid footing.
So the team's struggles this season, coupled with a missed opportunity at the NCAA tourney last season with Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto in the lineup, has emboldened some boo birds in the Cougar Nation. Now joining them is ESPN.com's Jason King, who lists Bone among 10 NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches "who are on the hot seat (or at least should be)."
Obviously, King did not have Bone on his list during the Cougars' recent six-game winning streak. One also presumes King is not accusing Bone of waving his arms behind the baskets to distract his players when the Cougars missed 12 of 22 free throws in a two-point overtime loss to lowly Utah last week.
Bone may always suffer from comparisons to Tony Bennett, whose .676 winning percentage ranks first at WSU over the last 100 years. Bone critics also point out that Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers are currently 14-1 and ranked 16th in the nation.
He will quiet some of his critics if the Cougars beat Washington for the third time in four meetings on Sunday. WSU swept the Huskies in the regular season last year, then lost an 89-87 thriller at the Pac-10 tournament.
Bone's sense of humor remains intact. Asked during the Pac-12 teleconference Tuesday for keys to beating Washington, Bone deadpanned, "Gosh, I was going to ask YOU that.
"I think we're going to have to shoot well and rebound the ball, and then try to control Tony Wroten the best we can. I know they've got all kinds of other threats that are (prospective) pros, but I think Tony Wroten right now is the head of the deal."
Wroten, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound freshman guard out of Seattle's Garfield High School, ranks second in the Pac-12 with 17 points per game and fourth with 1.9 steals. He also leads the league with 66 turnovers (4.1 per game), and he's hitting just 22 percent of his 3-pointers and 54 percent of his free throws.
Wroten hobbled through most of the second half Tuesday after being knocked to the floor on a drive during a testy, foul-filled win over Seattle University. Wroten said there is "negative seven" of a chance he will sit out Sunday's game.
NBA draft analyst Chad Ford of ESPN rates Wroten and sophomore Terrence Ross, Washington's other starting wing player, as the best 2012 draft prospects out of a weak Pac-12. Ford rates Wroten the 16th-best prospect, one notch ahead of Ross.
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