Some of you might remember that I criticized Ken Bone's decision to stick with his rule of benching Klay Thompson for being late to the team bus before the game against Arizona State on Saturday. Let's put a bow on that story today.
Venerable Bud Withers of The Seattle Times (I hope he takes that as a compliment -- I mean it as one!) caught up with Bone and got some thoughts from the coach on the situation:
Tuesday, when I asked WSU coach Ken Bone if circumstances could ever mitigate a disciplinary action, he said Thompson didn't tell him about the iPod until Monday. Thompson mentioned it to reporters Saturday after WSU went down to ASU, 71-69.
Bone said he would have acted differently if Thompson had "come to the bus prior and just said, 'Hey, my iPod's in my room somewhere and I can't find it,' and he goes back to his room and finds it."
In general, Bone said, "we're trying to lay down some discipline within the program. When there's time involved, be on time. It's kind of a life lesson. We're not trying to throw away games because of it. He understands the rules and had no issue with it, and neither did anyone else."
Since Thompson didn't mention the iPod at the time, Bone said, "I didn't even ask him. There was no reason to ask."
Withers' conclusion? Thompson didn't handle the situation right, a conclusion with which I wholeheartedly concur. My argument never was that Thompson was blameless, only that inflexible rules can have unintended consequences. I understand Bone's position, and I respect it, even if I disagree with the policy in general. It also doesn't surprise me at all the Bone would have been more flexible had Thompson handled his end better -- it's important for young men to learn to be proactive. Like I said -- I get what Bone's trying to do.
Oh, one last thing. Where was the iPod? Take it away, Mr. Grippi:
By the way, the music player was in Brock Motum's bag.
One other story out there of note today that I figured I'd pass along. Withers was a busy guy -- he caught up with each of the assistants left behind in the wake of Tony Bennett's departure. Let's just say none of them sound like they have glowing reviews of how it was all handled, led by Matt Woodley, who's now a high school coach in Iowa:
"I'm not going to lie," says Woodley. "Nobody wants to be told they're not good at something. There were a few words exchanged, nothing really heated. It was really hard for him to tell me what he had to tell me. Assistant coaches have a lot to do with the morale of the team, with preparation, the scouting. I can only speak for myself, but I was really hurt. Obviously, I'm over it now."