Bone said the Cougars (7-4) are willing to play a major nonconference opponent on the road next season if that team is willing to compete against them in 2014 at KeyArena. He said that is easier to accomplish in Seattle because the area produces some high-profile players that compete at schools nationally. Bone said they approached Louisville officials about that because the Cardinals feature Franklin High School graduate Peyton Siva, but were not able to come to an agreement.
He noted that even smaller schools, such as the University of Portland, have been successful attracting major conference opponents under similar circumstances. Kentucky featured forward Portland native Terrence Jones, who now plays in the NBA with Houston, last season.
The game is setup by Idol Sports and Entertainment, which also handles Gonzaga's annual "Battle in Seattle."
Despite some of his frustrations with the game, Bone said he supports playing in Seattle and the Dec. 29 contest against Idaho State in Kennewick. WSU drew just 2,686 fans Thursday in its 52-41 win against Jackson State.
"With the way the crowds have been the last two times out … maybe there's something to be said for going on the road," Bone said. "We've been able to get good crowds [in Seattle] the last two years."
"That's the trainer talking," said Bone, laughing. "I want him out there now."
"We're waiting to receive his grades and how he did this last semester," Bone said. "That's a process and we need to send a waiver into the NCAA."
He said this is classified as a redshirt season for Johnson, who will not lose a year of eligibility.