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Since then, Ben Johnson has been replaced by former Virginia assistant and Boise State head coach — and defensive specialist — Rod Jensen after Johnson moved to Australia and the change to Jensen is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 Scout.com’s Washington State site, Cougfan.com.

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

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.

USC athletic director Pat Haden to step down in June

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LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.

USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.

Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.

The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.

Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.

Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Ivy League’s best meet in New Haven

Columbia guard Maodo Lo, right, steals the ball from Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Evanston, Ill.  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.

The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.

They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.

Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
  • Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
  • Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.