Team preview: Portland State

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2005-06 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 25, 2005, 10:20 PM ET
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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

COACH AND PROGRAM

The good times didn't last long for Portland State last year. After winning their first-ever Big Sky regular season title and for a short time capturing the imagination of this sports-comatose city, the Vikings fell on their face, losing in their first game in the league tournament.

Things seemed set up for the Vikings, who had won the rights to play host to the conference tournament. Portland State fans were abuzz with excitement and the media was predicting an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Weber State crashed the party in a big way, defeating PSU in Portland, the site for the four-team semifinals and final. The offseason was on a crash course for disaster shortly afterward. Not only did Big Sky MVP Seamus Boxley graduate; so did two other excellent starters in Blake Walker and Will Funn. If that wasn't enough, the coach who brought them to prominence, Heath Schroyer, made an odd career move, opting out of a head coaching job to join buddy Steve Cleveland at Fresno State as an assistant.

Just when things looked grim for the Vikings, athletic director Tom Burman swung for the fences in the hiring process and came up with a grand slam in Ken Bone, one of the best coaches in the Northwest. Bone had a legendary run at Seattle Pacific, taking the Falcons to five NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearances. But after 12 years at SPU, Bone sought a different challenge and that was to coach at the Division I ranks.

He moved across town to the University of Washington for three seasons as an assistant, but had an itch to get back to being a head coach. Enter Portland State. Just about anyone who knows anything about college hoops in the Northwest will agree that this was a great hire for the Vikings.

"It is exciting that our program has been elevated to the point that we can hire someone who has success as a head coach," Burman said. "Ken's experience as a head coach is invaluable. His ties to the Northwest for recruiting purposes will provide great talent to the program, and he has a reputation as a great teacher of the game."

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