Ken Bone

Washington State changing defensive approach

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It’s been a busy month for the Washington State Cougars. On September 4th they lost assistant coach Ben Johnson and on September 7th, they unveiled some cool new uniforms.

Since then, Ben Johnson has been replaced by former Virginia assistant and Boise State head coach — and defensive specialist — Rod Jensen after Johnson moved to Australia and the change to Jensen is leading to a different approach in defensive philosophy from head coach Ken Bone.

The Cougars will up the defensive pressure this season by defending the length of the floor, according to an interview with Bone from Barry Bolton of’s Washington State site,

“We want to get points out of it … This year (on defense) is going to be very, very different,” Bone told

Bone went on to say that this is a defense that the program hasn’t seen in some time.

“We’re going to get after people,” Bone said. “We are going to get after people at the guards spots, and we are going to get out and pressure and deny.

“And we’re going to do it more than Cougar fans have seen in a long time.”

That also means an uptempo game and more tired legs, and Washington State’s rotation is likely going to expand to 9-to-11 guys.

Bone gave more insight to Bolton revealing details about the rotation.
“You figure 8, 9, 10 guys in rotation but in time that might change — we haven’t introduced a lot of stuff to them yet (in the limited practicing allowed this time of year),” said Bone. “You’ve got guys that have played a lot for us in D.J. Shelton, Will DiIorio, Royce Woolridge, Dexter Kernich-Drew, (Junior Longrus) and DaVonté Lacy.

“And then you add in Que Demarquise Johnson and Jordan Railey, who were with us last year but didn’t play. And then you have Danny Lawhorn and the two freshmen, Ike Ikenna Iroegbu and Josh Hawkinson. That’s already 10-11 guys. And you might have one or two who might not be ready to fulfill that 10-15 minute role. And you’ve got Brett Boese, who is coming on and could slip into that kind of role. So there are some things that are yet to unfold.”
The new-look Washington State defense will be interesting and even though they lost arguably their two best players from last season in forward Brock Motum and guard Mike Ladd, they clearly needed to change something up from a disappointing 2012-13 record of 13-19 and 4-14 in the Pac-12.

If some of the new guys or former role players can step up, Washington State should improve from last season.

Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

Kedren Johnson
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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.