When Ken Bone replaced Tony Bennett as Washington State's coach last spring, the buy-in process was virtually nonexistent.
Bone likes to run, after all.
"It took probably 30 or 40 seconds for them to accept it," Bone said. "Most kids like getting up and down the floor, and having more freedom to shoot."
Bone's reputation from Portland State and his other Pacific Northwest roots also made it easier for him to retain standout wing Klay Thompson and to recruit point guard Reggie Moore upon taking over the Cougars.
Thompson's dad, former Laker Mychal Thompson, even told the Seattle Times last spring that his contacts in Portland told him Bone was a good person who did not berate his players and that "I like his style of play."
Sure enough, the Cougars are averaging almost 80 points a game while racing to an 11-3 start, but there may be some surprises in these five things to know about Bone:
1. There's actually some Bennett Ball in his blood.
Back in the early 1990s, Bone obtained a video of the offense Dick Bennett was running at Wisconsin-Green Bay and installed some of it at Seattle Pacific, where he was coaching.
Some of it still remains in the system today.
"I liked what I saw," Bone said. "We run some of the same motion he did, moving the ball and setting screens. The difference is we're less patient, or I guess you could say we're more aggressive."
On defense, Bone said he also had the foundation of what Dick and son Tony Bennett ran with the Cougars, too.
"The Bennetts ran a very solid quarter-court defense," Bone said. "That gave us a good foundation. We've just tried to expand it a little. I haven't seen any problems with that. They've accepted it."
2. He's a Northwest guy.
Bone is a native of Seattle who played at Seattle Pacific in the early 1980s and then went on to coach his alma mater for 12 seasons, winning six conference championships and earning eight NCAA Division II tournament appearances.
Bone later worked as an assistant at Washington from 2002 to 2005 before taking over DivisionI Portland State.
There, Bone led the Vikings to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, in 2008, and returned again last season.
Ironically, his Portland State career ended last spring with a 77-59 loss to Sean Miller's fourth-seeded Xavier Musketeers.
Bone said he remembers only that Xavier "whipped us" in the second half, though he left an impression on Miller.
"He's got a real fun style to watch," Miller said. "Very up-tempo. They're very offensive-oriented, and it's different variations. It's not just one thing you have to deal with."
3. He's a buddy of Lorenzo Romar (at least for now).
Bone attended Seattle Pacific in 1980 when Romar was studying at Washington. The two met each other as college students, while Romar hired Bone on his first Washington staff in 2002, benefiting when Bone successfully recruited Jon Brockman from Snohomish High School - where Bone's brother, Len, is the head coach.
Now, much like ASU coach Herb Sendek must face off against Miller, a former assistant of his at North Carolina State, Bone will be going head-to-head with Romar as rival head coaches.
"We've stayed in touched and talked a little bit," Bone said. "Now we're competing against each other, but we're friends for sure. I'm sure Herb and Sean are friends, too."
4. He wants to cross the Cascades.
While Romar has locked up much of the Seattle-Tacoma talent in recent years, save the occasional player heading to Gonzaga or a national power, the Bennetts collected their players from all over the country and the world.
But Bone has strong ties to Western Washington, and he has said he intends to recruit there. Already last spring, he landed point guard Moore, a former player at Seattle's Rainier Beach High School.
"I don't know yet" how it will go, Bone said. Moore "is the one guy we were able to sign. We consider the Seattle-Portland area local."
5. He knows "sunny" does not always mean "warm."
Having spent his entire life in drizzly but temperate Western Washington and Oregon, Bone has found some differences in the Palouse.
The surprise is "probably how passionate the Cougar fans really are," Bone said Wednesday. "What's been unimpressive is how windy it is. We get more sun here. It's sunny right now. But it's 32 degrees."
On StarNet: Follow the Cats through the Pac-10 season on reporter Bruce Pascoe's blog at go.azstarnet.com/pascoe
• What: Washington St. at Arizona
• When: 6:30 p.m.
• TV: Channel 9 and FSAZ
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM and 990-AM (Spanish)
GUARD JUDKINS to TRANSFER
Sophomore guard Garland Judkins' Arizona basketball career is officially over.
UA coach Sean Miller said Thursday that the Houston product would transfer to Texas-San Antonio, ending a 17-month stay with the Wildcats.
"He has dealt with two deaths in his family in the last six months, and in his most recent trip home it became apparent to him that moving closer to his family was important," Miller said. "We wish him well in the future both on the court and in the classroom."
Judkins has not returned messages seeking comment.
By enrolling at UTSA now, Judkins can be eligible at the end of UTSA's 2010 fall semester, though he will be a junior unless he is granted a waiver to reinstate his sophomore eligibility.
Judkins played in just six games this season, averaging 1.2 points in 4.3 minutes. He started four games early last season but was suspended three times by then-coach Russ Pennell.
Judkins' departure gives Miller a second available scholarship to offer for 2010 recruits. The Wildcats are bringing in highly touted guard Josh Selby and Doron Lamb this weekend.