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March 5, 2013

Bone updates Ladd's status, reflects on team

PULLMAN -- Ken Bone held his weekly teleconference on Tuesday afternoon and once again the discussion was headlined by the status of senior guard Mike Ladd. Though Ladd, who has been sidelined with a left knee injury for the past five games, was not given a healthy prognosis for this weeks' regular season conference finales he was able to participate in practice to some degree.

"He's coming along," Bone said of Ladd's progress. "He was on the floor yesterday getting more shots up than usual.

Obviously somewhat discouraged to announce the lack of serious improvement in his status for this weeks' games, Bone noted that Ladd was unable to take part in practice drills and is doubtful for both games this week. If he is unable to go, Ladd will miss his final two games in Pullman -- a trend that has become all too familiar for the Cougars' tri-captain.

There is no doubt about it that Ladd, who is averaging 11.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game this season, has had an unbecoming stint at Washington State.

Ladd's career has been laden with injuries and filled with hypothetical questions about what could have been for a player that was expected to be a prominent piece in turning around the program after his transfer from Fresno State.

"Unfortunate," Bone said in one word when characterizing Ladd's career on the Palouse. "Here's a young man that transferred from Fresno State, wanted the opportunity to play here in the Pac-12 and be a Coug. He paid his own way his first year as a walk-on and then he's just had some unfortunate luck.

"With the thumb last year he wasn't really able to show what he was capable of doing and I think he's one of the most improved players in the conference. What he was able to do on the defensive end, what he's able to do rebounding wise, running the offense, scoring points, yet at the same time running the point guard position, which he has never done in his life, it's pretty impressive."

Despite the loss of Ladd and currently riding a nine-game losing streak, the Cougars (11-18, 2-14 Pac-12) and Bone, in particular, are not making any excuses. The Washington State head man even went as far as to say that this team is one of his favorite he has ever coached and it's a testament to the team they are off and on the hardwood while sustaining an positive vibes in the locker room despite negative results outside of it.

"It's one of the most favorite team's I have ever coached," Bone said. "The reason that is, is because there is no maintence. There attitudes and their efforts, especially with what we've been through, it's been great.

The wins are not falling in the Cougars' favor this season and that's readily evident in the Pac-12 standings -- Washington State finds themselves in sole possession of last place -- however Bone acknowledged that despite the struggles on the court, their eagerness to grow and learn has been a pleasant surprise.

"When you get into this business you need to win games because we know the alternative," Bone said. "But also when you get into the business, for the most part, you want to work with guys and try to develop them as players and develop your teams as good teams.

"These guys want you to coach them, that's not always the case. It's really been a fun year in that sense."

The Cougars look to end their regular season conference slate -- and their losing streak -- on a positive note in a matchup against No. 23 UCLA on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. (TV, Pac-12 Networks) followed by a Saturday tilt against USC.

Washington State NEWS


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