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With job openings at both UCLA and USC, the questions regarding the job status of Washington State head coach Ken Bone slipped into the background.
Those questions were answered on Thursday, as Bone announced that he will return to Pullman for a fifth season.
Bone met with athletic director Bill Moos earlier this week, discussing the direction of the program after the Cougars went 13-19 and won just four Pac-12 games. The 2012-13 season was Bone’s first losing campaign on the Palouse.
“There’s no doubt we need to win more basketball games,” Bone said. “I don’t think the players or myself or anyone in Cougar Nation is excited about the number of wins we had.”
Bone said he received no specific goals from Moos.
“He didn’t say ‘you have to make the NCAA tournament or win X amount of games,'” Bone said. “We’ve just got to get better.”
Washington State began its season with a preseason trip to Australia, which was as much a gift to its three players from the country (most notably Brock Motum) as it was to prepare for the 2012-13 campaign. But before the season began senior point guard Reggie Moore was dismissed from the program, leaving the Cougars without a point guard.
DaVonte Lacy, Royce Woolridge and Mike Ladd all saw time as the team’s primary ball-handler, and offensively the Cougars shot 41.2% from the field in Pac-12 games (last in the conference). Washington State was even worse on the defensive end, where they ranked dead last in the conference in both efficiency and field goal percentage.
Moving forward without Motum Washington State needs to find an answer at the point, and incoming freshman Ikenna Ireogbu is talented enough to be the option the Cougars end up going with. With Lacy, Woolridge and D.J. Shelton all expected to return, the pieces are in place for Washington State to return to the preferred side of the .500 mark in 2013-14.
According to the Associated Press Bone has three years remaining on his deal, and had he been relieved of his duties it would cost the school $2.55 million to buy out the contract.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.