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WSU Basketball: Preseason News And Notes

After a disappointing first year, Washington State head coach Ken Bone is looking to rebound and take the Cougs back to the NCAA tournament. WSU returns all the big pieces this year and Klay Thompson has some lofty expectations. Thompson is surrounded by Reggie Moore at point guard and DeAngelo Casto in the post, giving the Cougs a strong nucleus heading into the season.

The Spokesman-Review's Vince Grippi has been doing a fantastic series of interviews with the team ahead of the season. First up was Ken Bone.

Personally, I'm anxious for the season to begin. Been sitting on this 6-12, last-place finish, and being the head coach of that, for too many months. Fortunately, I'm not used to that and I'm not comfortable with that. I've not had any years like that. I don't think I've ever been in that situation as a coach. I think we're better than we showed, I think I can do a better job of leading these guys, and trying to get them to deal with situations within a game or after a game better than we did last year

He also sat down with DeAngelo Casto and Reggie Moore. You can find Moore's interview here and Casto's here. Casto had the best quote of the series so far when asked about his health.

Last year I was a little bummed, my knee was hurting but I feel like I've been jumping higher, and mark my words, I'm going to break a backboard this year. I'm up there. I'm slamming harder, I'm heavier.

Washington State is marking the start of the season tonight with Midnight Mayhem. The WSU athletic department sent out a press release ahead of the event.

At 8 p.m., WSU director of athletics, Bill Moos, men's head coach Ken Bone and women's head coach June Daugherty will begin the event with introductions and themselves and the teams. Both teams will open the on-court games with a 3-point contest. The men and women will compete against each other for the title of best long-range shooter. The winners from the men's and women's ends will compete against each other.

After the 3-point shoot-off, the men and women's teams will put their talents on display in a 15-minute scrimmage. The men will end the night as a handful of the high-flying Cougars will wow the crowd in a slam dunk contest.

Festivities kick-off at 8 p.m. at Bohler Gym on the Washington State campus. It's Dad's Weekend in Pullman and the Cougs are expecting a nice crowd tonight. Get there early and check out Klay Thompson and the Cougs.

The Cougs face a challenging non-conference schedule, taking on Gonzaga and Kansas State in Pullman within a week of each other before heading to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic. The Classic features some stiff competition, testing the Cougars early-on.

The Cougars face Mississippi State in the first game of the tournament (Dec. 22), meeting the Bulldogs for the second time in three years. Depending on the first game outcomes, Washington State will take on either Baylor or San Diego (Dec. 23), both of whom it has faced within the last two seasons, in the second game of the tournament. The Diamond Head Classic features four teams that reached the postseason in 2009-10, including national runner-up Butler.

Washington State starts the season November 10th in an exhibition against Lewis-Clark State at Beasley Coliseum.