Cougars will Bone-up hoops program

KEN BONE

KEN BONE WAS courtside for some classic Pac-8 basketball games, watching the likes of John Wooden and Ralph Miller work their coaching magic. He was a ballboy for Marv Harshman back then. Next season, when the Pac-10 campaign tips off, Bone will be walking the same sidelines that Wooden and Miller once dominated. He has been selected the next basketball coach at Washington State.

Bone, 50, will be formally introduced as WSU's new coach likely on Tuesday, according to a report from the Spokesman-Review .

His move to the Cougars caps a year in which he led Portland State to a 23-10 record and its second straight NCAA Tournament. En route, his team dominated the regional hoops scene. The Vikings beat WSU in a closed scrimmage; beat then-No. 7-ranked Gonzaga 77-70; beat EWU and Seattle U. twice each; beat the University of Portland and Boise State, and lost by a point to Washington.

His career coaching record is 335-167.

Bone comes from a basketball family, learning the game from his dad Walt, who was a long-time prep coach in Seattle.

Serving as head coach of a Pac-10 team -- one that his old mentor, Harshman, once guided for 14 seasons -- figures to be a dream come true.

He comes to the Cougars after four years at Portland State, where he guided the Vikings to their only two March Madness appearances ever. Before that, he was an assistant at Washington and prior to that he had 12 incredible seasons as head coach of Division II Seattle Pacific (258-118).

In terms of Xs and Os, Bone is a polar opposite of Tony Bennett when it comes to offense. Where Bennett was conservative and mostly unimaginative, Bone is known for an up-tempo pace and a knack for experimenting.

Moreover, Bone is a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to offensive thinking. "In this day and age, most teams basically have two options in their half-court offense," noted Harshman. "Ken will have five."

On defense, Bone is much more Bennett-esque. He has said he believes team chemistry starts at the defensive end of the court. The key to success, he told the Portland Oregonian recently, is getting kids to "buy into the defensive philosophy and understand that half of the game is on defense."

Like Bennett, Bone is a big advocate of man-to-man defense, though he's not as allergic to zones as was Bennett.

Pressure and deny are the cornerstones of his defensive philosophy. He doesn't do a lot trapping or pressing.

In terms of temperament, Bone comes across as laid back, said Harshman, but inside lurks a boilerroom of intensity.

Bone is also known to be as straight-forward as they come and runs a tight ship in practices.

"He'd be perfect to replace Bennett. He's the same kind of guy," Dan Raley, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter who has known the Bone family for years and covered Ken Bone during his three-year assistant coaching run at Washington, recently told CF.C.

"Klay Thompson, for example, would find Ken almost as Tony's twin. There's no BS about him. A straight up guy. He's one of those kind of guys you find a little bit intoxicating. You get inspired by him."

NOTABLE;
• Bone made $125,000 per year at PSU, with $7,500 per year annual increases, and a $50,000 buyout should he leave for another job.

• Washington State athletic director Jim Sterk has some familiarity with Bone. He was an associate athletic director at Seattle Pacific during Bone's first two years at the school.

• Bone's brother Lenny, now the head coach at Snohomish High, was a prolific scorer in high school.

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