EPHRATA — New Washington State basketball coach Ken Bone has inherited more than former coach Tony Bennett’s winning program. He also has one of his prized recruits.
Patrick Simon, Ephrata’s star 6-foot-7 guard who verbally committed to Bennett and WSU as a 14-year-old freshman in 2007, re-committed to WSU after meeting with the Cougars’ new coach this spring.
“I like him. He’s a cool guy,” Simon says of Bone, who came to WSU from Portland State. “I like their system for the next years, and I’m looking forward to playing for him.”
Simon said he opened up the possibility of playing college basketball elsewhere after Bennett signed to coach Virginia in March.
“Of course, when it all happened I was disappointed, but I’ve kind of moved on,” he said. “I was just waiting until I went down to meet with the new coaching staff. I just wanted to meet (Bone), and I wasn’t going to make a decision until then.”
Simon said he talked with a few other colleges, but that WSU was always on the top of his list.
Alongside his brother, current Bellevue Community College basketball player Daniel Simon, Pat Simon helped lead Ephrata to the Class 2A state championship in 2008.
A broken foot held him out for the entire 2009 season, however. He didn’t get back onto the court until June, playing for the Eastern Washington Elite team out of Spokane.
“It felt really good to get back out and playing,” Simon said.
Simon will return to the court when prep basketball practice begins Nov. 16.
The Tigers have a marquee matchup set up for Simon and NCW basketball fans early in the season. Ephrata will travel to Chelan on Dec. 8 for a non-league contest against the Goats and their 6-foot-6 star guard, Joe Harris, who has committed to play for Bennett at Virginia in 2010.
Brent Stecker: 661-5222