Cougar men return from Orlando with new perspective


Head Coach Ken Bone and the Cougars went 1-2 during their holiday trip to Orlando, Fla. 

Though the Cougars lost two close games at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, WSU head men’s basketball coach Ken Bone said in a press conference Tuesday that he isn’t concerned with the team’s ability to close out games.

“If it continued or if it does continue I’d be concerned, but I’m basing it off of the last couple games and we played three good opponents,” Bone said. “(The Old Spice Classic Tournament) on a neutral court, but it was back East and it felt like we were away from home that’s for sure, and I thought our guys handled some adversity pretty well on road.”

The Cougars lost to Butler by seven points and Saint Joseph’s by five points in Orlando. Both games could have finished either way, but according to WSU guard DaVonte Lacy it’s just a matter of executing.

“All season so far, we’ve showed glimpses that we can (close out games) and we’re capable of doing it,” Lacy said. “We just need to just be solid, execute down the stretch and do what we need to do to win.”

Bone mentioned in the press conference that a number of players on the team showed their capabilities in Orlando and he needs to get those players to do so on a consistent basis.

One of those players is WSU redshirt freshman guard Que Johnson. Johnson scored a career high 11 points in the opening game of the Old Spice Classic against Butler.

“It took me a few games to really get going, to get comfortable with everything,” Johnson said. “I think I’ve been getting better each game, so that’s really my focus point is to get better.”

The NCAA ruled Johnson academically ineligible last year and forced the guard to sit out last season, which also meant he could not practice with the team. Entering this season, Johnson had a stress fracture which caused him to miss more time practicing with the team and learning the offense.

With seven games under his belt, Johnson said he’s more comfortable with the offense and playing the game of college basketball. He said coach Bone told him to play like he did at Westwind Prep Academy, which helped. Johnson averaged 20.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.5 steals a game his junior year at the academy, according to

WSU forward Jordan Railey was another player Bone mentioned who also showed positive signs in Orlando.

“He’s very coachable, we work with him every day, we probably put in a little bit of extra time with him more than most of the guys because we just feel he needs it,” Bone said. “It was really good to see him play well against Purdue.”

Railey scored 13 points against Purdue in the Cougars’ second game at the Old Spice Classic.

Comparing both the offense and defense, Bone said he doesn’t know which the team has progressed with more. According to Bone, the offense is executing on their sets pretty well and the defense is still progressing.

“The defense is ahead of the offense and the reason why, you got a ball involved, so there’s timing, spacing and everything else that happens to go into an offense,” Bone said “But right now since we changed our defense up and we’re playing some matchup-zone our defense isn’t quite as far along as we might want to be at this point, but we understand that.”