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Archive for July 2007

Optimism reigns in Los Angeles

COUGARS

As I promised yesterday, here are the links to today’s S-R stories on the Cougs and Pac-10 football media day in LA.

The first is the overview with Alex Brink’s comments. Then we have the media poll. And, if you didn’t see it, the Andy Roof piece.

Also, here is Bob Condotta’s look at each school. From the P-I, Molly Yanity has this on the day, while, from Tacoma, there is this from Don Ruiz.

We’ll be back on the first of August with our usual SportsLink menu. You know, the nutritional, balanced diet of Cougs and Bulldogs and Mariners and Seahawks and …

Roof suspended from WSU

COUGARS

The Cougars, who can’t afford to lose too many players up front, have already lost one potential starter.

Andy Roof, the right guard from East Valley High who started five games last season, has been suspended from school for alcohol violations.

For more on this, click on my story. When I sit down tonight to wrap up the day’s events here, I’ll share some thoughts about this.

WSU picked to finish eighth

COUGARS

The media day has started with the first order of business the media’s poll of who will win the conference title.

And, if the past seven years are any indication, USC will win the Pac-10 title again.

The Trojans, who have won or shared the past five conference titles, were the unanimous choice of the media to win the 2007 football title in the annual preseason poll of the West Coast media.

And the media has been correct the past seven seasons.

The last time the media was wrong was in 1999, when Stanford won the conference title (Arizona was the pick) after being predicted to finish eighth.

Which is where the Washington State Cougars were slotted this season, one spot ahead of Washington.

For the predicted standings, click the full entry button.

Zags will face Emporia this year

BULLDOGS

It looks like the Zags will be playing Emporia State as one of their exhibition games this upcoming season.

The Kansas school made the announcement Friday. Here are links to the school’s release via a TV website and to the story in the Emporia Gazette.

Cougs to face the Irish in Texas

COUGARS

I’m out of town, but saw this story on our website about the Cougars playing Notre Dame in San Antonio in a couple years.

This is a big deal for coach Bill Doba, as he’s an Indiana guy who understands and respects the Notre Dame football tradition.

When I get back from vacation we’ll add to this news. Also, next Thursday is the Pac-10 media day in Los Angeles, so we’ll be posting with information from there.

Big point guard picks Gonzaga

BULLDOGS • UPDATED: 8 A.M. WEDNESDAY

Highly regarded 6-foot-5 point guard Grant Gibbs of Lin-Mar High in Marion, Iowa, has committed to Gonzaga, The Spokesman-Review learned today.

Gibbs, one of the top point guards in the class of 2008, picked GU over Iowa State and after recently dropping Iowa and Wisconsin from his list.

His prep coach reports Gibbs averaged 15 points, 5 asssists, and 5 rebounds per game last winter in leading his team to the Iowa 4A state championship.

Here is Steve Bergum’s story from today’s S-R and this piece from the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

• A GU note from Dick Vitale.

More on Low and Weaver headed to Brazil

COUGARS

We are trying to follow up on Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver being named to the Pan-Am Games’ basketball squad (I wasn’t wrong the other day; just precognizant) but as we work the phone lines, I’ll share these links with you.

• The official release from USA Basketball can be found here. The previous post on this blog included information released by WSU.

• An earlier interview with Low on the USA Basketball website is here.

• ESPN’s Andy Katz has this story out of Pennsylvania on Low and Weaver’s selection.

As we get more, we’ll post it here.

Dispatches from the Open - Part Four

GOLF

Australian pro golfer Ewan Porter is playing in the British Open starting Thursday with Rypien Foundation president Randy Brawner carrying his bag.

Porter has arrived in Scotland and has continued his preparations for the Open by playing the home of golf, St. Andrews, and hitting the range for long sessions.

Here is his most recent dispatch from Carnoustie.

UW takes a hit at wide receiver

MORNING NEWS – HUSKIES, MARINERS

A couple of incoming UW football players will not be eligible to play when the season starts Aug. 5.

Wide receivers Devin Aguilar and Anthony Boyles did not earn high enough test scores to be eligible in the fall. There is a chance they could retake the tests and become eligible sometime in the early season.

• The News Tribune has a nice story on Adam Jones, who quietly is going about his work at Triple-A, waiting for the M’s to call.

Gonzaga, WSU guards on the big-time radar

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

One last post before I hit the sack.

Check out this link to Slam online. It is a review of LeBron James’ Skills Academy, a camp for college and high school players.

Mentioned in the piece is Gonzaga point guard Jeremy Pargo (about a quarter of the way down) and WSU recruit Michael Harthun (near the bottom). Interesting.

A tale of two (possible) GU point guards

MORNING NEWS – BULLDOGS • UPDATED: 11 A.M.

Ya, I know. My doctor tells me to stay away from the computer. But I can’t. I’m hooked. And when I checked my messages and buzzed around the Web this morning I found two interesting Gonzaga basketball nuggets.

• Point guard Jeremy Pargo recently was part of an elite group of 10 college and 22 high school points who had a chance to learn at the foot (or should that be hand?) of the NBA master, Steve Nash. This KU student newspaper story goes into what they did.

• Speaking of point guards, an Iowa star has reportedly winnowed his college choices to Iowa State and Gonzaga, eliminating Iowa and Wisconsin from his list. Grant Gibbs, a 6-foot-5 senior-to-be, is expected to announce his choice soon. It seems it will come down to whether he wants to stay close to home.

UPDATE: • There was also a game announcement concerning Gonzaga and UConn. The two will play Dec. 1. You can see the particulars at the link.

• One quick baseball story. The Times’ Larry Stone examines Ichiro’s future with the M’s at the All-Star break. Let’s see: The M’s are winning (check). He’s got the manager he wanted (check). Now show me the money (the only check that matters).

• That’s the best of it. It has been a week since I announced to the world – our little chunk of it, anyway – that I’m playing in Hoopfest next year. I want to thank all of you who have offered advice and encouragement – especially those of you whose “encouragement” started with “what the hell are you thinking?” – over the past week. Keep it coming. For your information, the past week I walked more than 20 miles and tried to limit my fat intake, in the process losing three pounds – and about six golf balls.

Till later …

How’s the summer going?

MORNING NEWS

Just a quick note for this Saturday morning. …

While on vacation, I thought I would post any local item that seemed appropriate (translation: a really big deal), plus any Northwest sports stories that weren’t to be missed (translation: when the M’s fire Bill Bavasi or take over first place or Jeff Weaver throws a no-hitter; something like that).

Plus, I’m keeping up with this Spokane-adopted Australian golfer, Ewan Porter, as he prepares for and plays in the British Open, which starts in a couple weeks.

Other than that, if you have any thoughts, comments, questions, requests for autographs, anything of that nature, feel free to post them on any of the comment links. My life is bereft of excitement, I check those pretty often.

And here’s a special Saturday morning link for you: This Fran Fraschilla piece on the USA U19 men’s team that has a mention of GU’s Matt Bouldin.

By the way, my Hoopfest 2008 training is off to a rousing start. I can actually walk from my chair to the kitchen fridge without stopping for oxygen now. Actually, there is some exciting possibilities on the horizon which I will share with you if they come to fruition.

We’ll be checking in pretty much each day so keep clicking when you get a chance. And we’ll have another dispatch from the Open soon.

Dispatches from the Open - Part One

GOLF

As I explained in the post below, professional golfer Ewan Porter is playing in the British Open in two weeks. He is currently in Ireland preparing for the event and filed this report.

My golf game is really suffering

COUGARS

I’m trying to take some time off, but it doesn’t seem to be working, thanks to Cougar news.

Not only did we have the Mark McLaughlin commitment today (here is the Seattle Times’ story), but we also had this piece about Bobo Brayton and John Olerud’s induction into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

When I was in Omaha, there was a lot of discussion about WSU having two representatives in the second HOF class, considering the school has never won a national title. But if you look at Olerud’s sophomore season at WSU (1988), it had to be the greatest year any player as ever had on the collegiate level: a .464 batting average with 23 home runs and 81 RBIs (and an .876 slugging percentage), plus a 15-0 pitching record with a 2.49 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 123 innings. If you can cite a better single season, please feel free to do so.

One other thing about the hoop commitment … I had a Northwest high school basketball observer tell me today McLaughlin is the type of player WSU couldn’t even talk with a few years ago. The athletic guards Tony Bennett is bringing in seems to bode well for the future.

Murrell finds happiness in Oregon

COUGARS

One note this evening …

Former WSU women’s coach Sherri Murrell was named coach at Portland State on Sunday.

Murrell was the choice of PSU’s new Athletic Director Torre Chisolm, who came to the Vikings from UC Irvine. I met Chisolm in Omaha recently - he was there for the same reason I was: to watch the Anteaters play in the College World Series - and he will be a good fit for PSU.

Quarterback may head to Pullman; 6-10 center reportedly is

MORNING NEWS

As I said yesterday, I’m on vacation. But I couldn’t hit the golf links without a couple of links for you.

• Some football news for Coug fans. SMU quarterback and Seattle native Corey Slater has left the Dallas school and will return to the Northwest. He may end up at WSU. … ESPN’s Mark Schlabach picks Idaho at Washington State as one of the more interesting early games. … The Everett Herald is reporting that 6-foot-10 center Charlie Enquist of Kings has accepted a scholarship offer from Washington State (down in story).

• From Gonzaga, former guard Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes has been officially cleared to play next season at Marshall University.

• In prep news, the Seattle Times ran the Washington State Baseball Coaches All-State team today, and the listing brought up a few questions. First question: Mark Purser of Mt. Spokane deserves to be first-team All-3A, but as an outfielder? Is that the best spot? You tell me. Second question: Ferris first baseman Beau Brett was first team while Bud Kittredge (last name spelled incorrectly on the coaches’ list) was second team. But why at first base as well? I’m not sure if Kittredge ever played first this year. Third question: Why not more Mt. Spokane guys, at least one more, on the second team?

Bizarro day for M’s

MARINERS

Just another Sunday, right?

The M’s win again (that makes eight in a row), Jeff Weaver pitches another superb game (yielding just a solo home run to Frank Thomas), Adrian Beltre scores the game winner on Jose Guillen’s single to left (after drawing a walk) and, oh yah, Mike Hargrove up and quit.

What is this, Bizarro Baseball?

Now I know a lot of you in M’s fan-land are rejoicing over all those things, especially the last one. But with the team having won eight consecutive games, reaching 12 games over the .500 mark and being only four games back of maybe baseball’s best team, the Angels, in the AL West, everyone – even those who wanted Hargrove out – has to be muttering “why now?”

Every one in the media seems to be.

So we are going to divide this post into two areas. It will lead with all the Hargrove-related stories, then move into the game stories. The questions will be the same as Sunday’s Hargrove post.

And, just so you don’t forget, the M’s have their first game in the John McLaren Era tonight (5:10; FSN; 920-AM) at Kansas City, with Felix Hernandez (4-4, 4.33 ERA) facing former M’s pitcher Gil Meche (5-6, 3.28).

Today’s Hargrove hot list …

• The columns are out there with one from our John Blanchette, two from the Times, Steve Kelley and Jerry Brewer, two from the P-I, Ted Miller and Art Thiel, one from the News Tribune’s John McGrath, and one from the Herald’s John Sleeper.

• The news stories have the same “what-just-happened?” aura, with this from the P-I, followed by stories in the Times, the News Tribune and the Herald.

• There are more sidebars than I could ever read on a workday, so here are the best …

Ichiro dodges question whether he’ll re-sign with M’s (P-I)
Ichiro on the decision (Times)
McLaren speaks about his new role (News Tribune)
McLaren has mixed feelings (Times)

• Now on to the game stories with the M’s overcoming the circus of the day, Weaver’s pitching performance and the comeback all big news. Here are the stories from the P-I, Times, the News Tribune and the Herald. There is also this from Toronto’s Globe and Mail, which features a great two-word lead.

• Lost in all this was the news Ichiro and J.J. Putz were

Resignation news overshadows winning streak

MARINERS

The Mike Hargrove resignation overshadows everything, the seven consecutive wins, the almost perfect homestand, pulling within four games of the Angels.

Throughout the day there will be updates on Hargrove, so we’ll try to catch up later today (the AP story is here and the Times’ here, the P-I here and the News Tribune here) but let’s look back at the pre-Hargrove news. …

Now they are 11 games over .500 and hot on the Angels’ wings.

The M’s broke open a close game late – great pitching by Miguel Batista again kept them in it until the offense got going – and coasted to an 8-3 victory.

This afternoon (1:05; FSN; 920-AM) Jeff Weaver (2-6, 7.71 ERA) will try to keep two streaks alive: The team’s seven-game winning and his four games of good efforts.

Today’s hot list …

• The seven-game win streak is not to be ignored, and it isn’t in the game stories from the Times, the News Tribune and the Herald. Here is the game story from the Toronto Globe and Mail.

• And our question of the day …

• Same as yesterday: If you had to pick three M’s for your Hoopfest team, who would they be?

(Here are mine: Richie Sexson, Ben Broussard and J.J. Putz. I’m 5-foot-10. I want size.)

Mallon to play in Europe

HOOPFEST, PART IV – COLLEGE

Former Gonzaga University player Sean Mallon will be playing this fall in Germany. Heard that piece of news from a former teammate today as I wandered around watching the winner’s bracket games (more on that in a second).

From what I understand, Mallon was to play with another product of the Greater Spokane League, Danny Pariseau, for a German squad. But Pariseau had to back out and Mallon will be on his own. Now back to the action on the streets.

This is when Hoopfest gets physical. As the games become – relatively – more important, the competitive juices begin to really flow. I saw one game today that was at 19-12, and every time the team that had 19 tried to shoot, the other team fouled them – hard. And, before you go all sexist on me and start decrying old men and their testosterone, the game I was watching was a 20-something women’s game.

The team that fouled lost, but that’s appropriate. No matter what the score, you have to remember that it is only Hoopfest.

• Along those lines, just saw the 13th place T-shirt. It has a hidden message. I’m not saying what it is but I’ll give you a hint: Did you ever do those fold-ins on the back page of Mad Magazine?

• Our Hoopfest coverage can be found here but I’m going to give you direct links to John Blanchette’s column, Greg Lee’s feature and our notebook.

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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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