A scholarship chart update, with a bone to pick

There's really no excuse for my failure to update the CougCenter basketball scholarship chart since last fall. It might've even had David Chadwick on there before I updated it this morning (by the way: I don't think we give Tony Bennett enough credit for selfishly bolting on BOTH his coaching staff and a young man who committed to play basketball 2,000 miles away from home just for him. Chadwick later committed to play basketball for Ben Braun (remember that guy?) at Rice.)

Anyway, it's all square now, just in time to watch it implode with roster moves and such over the summer. Actually, I hope there aren't any significant changes to it over the spring, because that would mean we've lost a player or two. And I don't like transfers. The reaction to transfers generally goes like this:

-What?? Player X?? But he was young/had potential/had a cool haircut. WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR PROGRAM?
-Oh, Player X is going to San Diego Community State College? I guess he wasn't that highly thought of after all.
-Boy, this was a win/win for our program and the young man! Best of luck to him!
-Now we can sign that C/PF/SF/PG/SG we need so badly. We'll totally grab a five star player with this scholarship!
-Two years later: You know, we really could've used that Player X fellow this year. I don't really know that for a fact, I'm just saying we really need a lanky center/quick guard/charismatic forward to help this team win right now.

That's the natural progression. Potential not realized is sad - for every Robbie Cowgill, Daven Harmeling and Taylor Rochestie out there there is a Thomas Abercrombie, Fabian Boeke or Stephen Sauls. Sometimes a player with skills that can hurt you transfers, like Mac Hopson. I was breathing a sigh of relief when we put away Idaho this year, because it just would've stung to see him beat his former team. Not to mention the fact he could've been a senior excelling in Bone's system this year.

However, transfers in are awesome. If only we had room on this roster. Which brings me to the chart, and my next point.

 

2009-10
2010-2011
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
Koprivica
Aden
Aden
Bjornstad
Simon
Capers
Capers
Capers
Brown
OPEN
Casto
Casto
Casto
Moore
OPEN
Enquist (RS)
Harthun
Harthun
Motum
OPEN
Harthun
Lodwick (RS)
Lodwick (RS)
Thames
OPEN
Lodwick (RS)
Thompson
Thompson
Watson (RS)
OPEN
Thompson
Bjornstad
Bjornstad
Simon
OPEN
Bjornstad
Brown
Brown
OPEN
OPEN
Brown
Moore
Moore
OPEN
OPEN
Moore
Motum
Motum
OPEN
OPEN
Motum
Thames
Thames
OPEN
OPEN
Thames
Watson (RS)
Watson (RS)
OPEN
OPEN
Watson (RS)
Simon
Simon
OPEN
OPEN


Non-Scholarship Players


Loewen (RS)
Enquist (RS)?*



Allen (RS)
Loewen (RS)



Bragg
Allen (RS)




Bragg




Senior
Junior
Sophomore
Freshman
Redshirt Season
(RS) denotes redshirt used
?* - we don't really know for sure where Enquist will fall next year

---------

You don't even need a chart to state the obvious, which is that we are set to lose our entire scholarship roster, minus Patrick Simon, in 2012 and 2013. However, a lot can change between now and then, and between transfers, injuries and new signees the makeup of the chart could change considerably.

But as of right now, there is no balance. None. We are setting up to be a boom-and-bust team, with the ability to win games only in two year stretches when all our players are upperclassmen. That may be one way to win in Pullman, but it puts a lot of pressure on those upperclassmen teams to perform, because if they don't we sink back to the bottom of the conference.

Case in point: what are your expectations for the next two years? Me, I expect a postseason appearance next year. NIT is acceptable, if a little underwhelming. NCAA is what I'd like to see, as the Pac-10 won't be miles stronger than it is this year (although things couldn't get any worse than this year. I think.). When Klay/Capers/Casto are seniors, we make our next Sweet 16 run. Anything less would be a disappointment in my book. If we don't make the tournament at all, we've done a Dobaesque squandering of all our program momentum. Exactly like the failure to build on the ten-win seasons. A failure that could put Bone on the hot seat.

A disappointing final year by the Klay class hurts us, because right now we are set up to have repeat of 2008-09 after that. A solid - if not spectacular - senior class, bolstered by freshmen, Patrick Simon and not much else. Boom and bust repeats after that.

Bone could've avoided the lack of balance by doing something ridiculously easy: redshirting freshmen this season. Anthony Brown and Steven Bjornstad haven't played enough minutes to even closely defend burning their redshirts. Motum was key in the Arizona win, but otherwise would have probably been better served sitting out this season. Redshirts give you five years instead of four to develop a player, and can balance a large freshman class like this one. Bone failed to take advantage. This irks me more than the whole "we only play one half" and "we don't win big games" criticisms being tossed around out there.

Then again, Bone may just not care. Scholarships aren't guaranteed for four years. He may be anticipating transfers, changes, and other unforseen issues coming into play. Over time, the roster clog may just work itself out. Players that fit Bone's system may work their way in, and with Klay and co. leading us to an Elite Eight in 2012, the program will be all right.

Still, I hope Ken Bone has a plan. A long term one. Or else, for the second time in ten years, a Cougar athletic program may squander all the momentum it worked so hard to earn.

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