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Archive for June 2009

GU recruits make Canadian jr. national team

Gonzaga incoming freshmen Kelly Olynyk and Mangisto Arop are just days away from representing Canada on the country’s junior national team at the FIBA world championships in New Zealand.

More here and here.

McCullough honored

Shock linebacker Kevin McCullough’s diving interception in the third quarter was honored by af2 as the catch of the week.

More here.


Youth Notebook - Bledsoe MVP

Blake Bledsoe, Central Valley’s Greater Spokane League MVP quarterback, was named MVP during last weekend’s East-West All-Star football game. He passed for a touchdown and rushed for the winner with 1 minute, 40 seconds remaining for a 13-12 win in Everett.

His story and numerous others for youth athletes during their busy summer filled my weekly Youth Notebook that runs each Tuesday in The Spokesman-Review

All-State soccer

Every year Washington high school sports writers send a list of candidates and vote on All-State teams in sports where there is no other avenue to honor the best of the best. It was the brainchild of Rene Ferran from the Tri Cities Herald who compiles the whole she-bang and coordinates the operation. The spring is for baseball, softball and soccer. State runnerup Cheney has a pair of first-team choices in forward Austin Walker and defender Paul Holloway. Riverside’s Tyler Florez also is a first-team defender. U-Hi’s Mikey Ramos and EV’s Andrew Mastronardi, 4A and 3A midfielders from the GSL, are second team. Herewith are the 2009 soccer all-staters: 

Pistons fire Curry

Austin Daye has been a Detroit Piston for less than a week and he’s already experiencing a coaching change. Detroit parted ways with Michael Curry after one season at the helm. A bit more here.

And here’s more on the somewhat chilly reception Daye is receiving in Detroit.

All-State Baseball

University pitcher Billy Moon was named to the 4A All-State baseball team that is compiled each year by Rene Ferran from the Tri-City Herald with input and voting by high school writers from newspapers throughout Washington. Jake Partridge of Rogers was 3A second team outfielder. Cheney’s Drew Ableman was a first-team 2A outfielder and a pair of Freeman players Jake Sullivan at catcher and Jacob Kitterman in the outfield were 1A first-team players. Brandon Hoadley of Colfax made it in 2B and there were a number of 1B players from Colton on the team. Herewith, the list:

All State Softball

Every year Washington high school sports writers send a list of candidates and vote on All-State teams in sports where there is no other avenue to honor the best of the best. It was the brainchild of Rene Ferran from the Tri Cities Herald who compiles the whole she-bang and coordinates the operation. It was a slim year for area bigger school athletes. Herewith are the 2009 results for softball: 

Shock clinch at least one home playoff game

Spokane’s win over Oklahoma City on Friday clinched at least one home playoff game. Find more, including ticket information, here.

Bledsoe big at East-West game

Just as a year ago when Ferris quarterback Jeff Minnerly rallied the East to victory with his legs and arm in the annual East-West All-Star football game when it was in Spokane, this year Central Valley QB Blake Bledsoe provided the heroics in similar fashion for a 13-12 victory in Everett.  Here’s the story of his late big play performance from The Seattle Times.

During the 15th Earl Barden East-West game in Yakima, the East suffered a 31-13 loss. Lakeside’s Brady Blankevoort threw for a touchdown and was 7-for-11 for 49 yards and an interception. The Yakima Herald was there.



Shacklefords welcome Caleb William

Spokane Shock head coach Adam Shackleford celebrated an arenafootball2 win Friday night and the arrival of his second son early Saturday morning.

Shackleford’s wife, Migdalia, went into labor at halftime and left the game to go to the hospital. Shortly after No. 1-ranked Spokane wrapped up a 61-28 win over Oklahoma City, Shackleford joined Migdalia at the hospital and Caleb William Shackleford was born at about 3 a.m.

Caleb weighed seven pounds, eight ounces.

“Everybody’s doing great,” said Shackleford, whose son, Elijah, is roughly 20 months old.

Shock throttle Yard Dawgz in second half

Spokane players and coaches have said for weeks they wanted a good test on the field. They got one Friday.

For a half.

Spokane broke away from a halftime tie with a dominating second half, outscoring the Yard Dawgz 33-0 to claim a 61-28 victory at the Arena. Head coach Adam Shackleford wasn’t around for long after the game. He raced to the hospital to be with his wife, Migdalia, who went into labor during the game. 

Read on for my unedited game story.

The view from Oklahoma City

Interesting reading in the Daily Oklahoman on tonight’s Spokane-Oklahoma City matchup here and earlier in the week here.

Day-after Daye

Here’s a roundup of articles about Austin Daye, Daye mentions or the draft in general:

From’s winners and losers, San Jose Mercury-News winners and losers, USA Today, A.P., the Detroit News here and here, the Detroit Free Press here and here, Los Angeles TimesSporting and

Here’s the rookie salary scale for 2009, according to


Detroit takes Daye, no other Zags selected

Back with an unedited article on Austin Daye being taken by Detroit with the 15th pick of the first round. No other Zags were selected.

I tried to contact Daye and Josh Heytvelt, who was projected as a second-rounder in numerous mock drafts, but didn’t make connections. I was able to see/hear three or four Daye interviews via ESPN,, NBA TV and Detroit’s Web site.  

Read on for more.

Daye goes to Detroit with 15th pick

Former Gonzaga Bulldog Austin Daye was selected by Detroit with the 15th pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft.

Daye, who averaged 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds as a sophomore, joins Eastern Washington University’s Rodney Stuckey on the Pistons’ roster.

Three other Zags have been drafted in the first round — John Stockton in 1984, Dan Dickau in 2002 and Adam Morrison in 2006. Ian Mahinmi, who signed a letter of intent with Gonzaga but never enrolled in school, was drafted late in the first round of the 2005 draft.

Daye’s father, Darren, was drafted in the third round by the Washington Bullets in 1983. Darren Daye, a UCLA product, played five NBA seasons.

(Daye is pictured above defending North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough in the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Hansbrough, by the way, was taken by Indiana with the 13th pick.)

Shock, Yard Dawgz battle in Arena

Spokane puts its unbeaten record on the line against Oklahoma City on Friday. Read on for my unedited game preview that will run in Friday’s S-R.

Also, the Tri-Cities Fever, Spokane’s closest geographic rival, may not be around in 2010..

Looks like Gonzaga-Davidson battling in Seattle

Gonzaga will face Davidson in the 7th annual Battle in Seattle this December, according to the Battle in Seattle Web site. The teams met two years ago in the NCAA Tournament when Stephen Curry poured in 40 points in a Davidson victory.

More here.

Sauk lends helping hand

Back with a Shock notebook that will run in Thursday’s S-R. The unedited version is below.

Shock set poll record; ArenaCup to Vegas

Neither one of these news items is a surprise.

First, Spokane came out No. 1 again in the weekly af2 poll. That marks 15 straight weeks, a new af2 record. Second, the ArenaCup, as expected, will be played in Las Vegas in August.

I’ll post a Shock notebook this afternoon.




Four Bulldogs await NBA Draft

Here’s my look at the draft prospects for Gonzaga’s Austin Daye, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and Jeremy Pargo. The article will run in Wednesday’s S-R and the unedited version is below. (Heytvelt and Pargo are pictured in GU’s NCAA loss to North Carolina.)

EWU assistant Leep leaving for SPU

Assistant coach Grant Leep, the longest-tenured member of Eastern Washington University’s men’s basketball staff, has accepted a position as the top assistant under Ryan Looney at Seattle Pacific University.

Leep, a former prep standout for Mount Vernon High School and four-year letterwinner at the University of Washington, spent four seasons as an assistant at EWU, the last two under Eagles’ head coach Kirk Earlywine.

Read on.

Halliday verbals has announced that Ferris quarterback Connor Halliday has made a verbal commitment to Washington State. The story indicated that he had offers from Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and EWU and had attracted interest from Boise State, Arizona State, Oregon State, Washington and Oregon. Halliday was quoted as saying WSU is where he wanted to play.

On another topic, University activities coordinator Ken VanSickle’s dad, Bud, died last week at age 81. They had a gathering and celebration for him at U-Hi on Saturday.


McCombs will enter the ring

Shock defensive end Ben McCombs (No. 99 pictured above) will try his hand at Mixed Martial Arts on a 10-fight card in September at the Spokane Arena. (Yes, the af2 season will be over by then).

More below and a couple of other leftovers from Saturday’s win over Tri-Cities. 

No. 1 Shock keep rolling

Spokane’s 11th win of the season was another one-sided affair. The Shock led 42-0 at half and coasted to a 69-22 win over Tri-Cities on Saturday.

Read my unedited game story below.


Shock await 1-10 Fever

Spokane returns to the Arena tonight for the first time in nearly a month. Visiting Tri-Cities provides the opposition at 7 p.m.

About 500 tickets remain for Saturday’s game.

Read on for my unedited game preview that will run in Saturday’s S-R.

Sacre, Olynyk with Canadian national teams

Gonzaga’s Robert Sacre and incoming recruit Kelly Olynyk are playing summer basketball on Canadian national teams. More on Sacre and the senior national team here and more on Olynyk, MVP of a tournament in France, and the U19 team here

Incoming recruit Manny Arop is on the U19 squad, but was unable to play because of an ankle injury.


Af2 keeps 16-team playoff format

Arenafootball2 will retain the 16-team playoff format it used in the 2008 season. That means 8 American Conference and 8 National Conference teams will advance to the playoffs. There had been discussion of trimming the field to 12 teams.

On the topic of the ArenaCup possibly being played at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, the league won’t announce its decision until next week.


Wake Forest on GU’s schedule

Some news out of Colorado Springs where Mark Few is serving as a court coach for the U19 and World University Games team tryouts. Sounds like Wake Forest will visit the Kennel this season with a return game also planned.

Read on.


Van Orsow likely out for season

I put together a notebook after attending Shock practice Wednesday at the Arena. Some injury news (that’s Jeff Van Orsow pictured above) to catch up on and an update on where the ArenaCup might be played. Find the article here.




EWU’s Earlywine announces new recruits

Eastern Washington University’s men’s basketball coach Kirk Earlywine announced the addition of five new recruits to his roster on Tuesday.  The announcement came as a huge surprise, considering the Eagles signed four players to letters of intent earlier this year.

As is turns out only one of those original signees were able to make the academic cut, leaving Earlywine with several vacancies to fill.  You can read the story on the new recruits that ran in Wednesday morning’s S-R here, and you can find the press released issued by EWU —  which includes some additional statistical information — here.

Also, I recently tracked down former Eagles standout Ronn McMahon for a Then & Now feature you can read here.




Roth receives A.D. award

Gonzaga’s Mike Roth was named one of 29 regional winners of the Under Armour A.D. of the Year award. More here.

(Roth is pictured above with J.P. Batista in 2006)


Daye makes it official

Back with more on Austin Daye’s decision to remain in the NBA Draft. I talked with Mark Few and Daye for a few minutes this afternoon and filed this unedited article that will run in Tuesday’s S-R.

Also, Saint Mary’s Patty Mills is staying in the draft. More on Mills here. (One suspects there are quite a few smiles in the coaching offices at Portland, which could be GU’s primary WCC competition next season after the decisions by Daye and Mills).

Daye said the last two months have been stressful and tiring, but he had one request of a reporter, which showed he hasn’t lost his sense of humor. “Hey, if you run a photo of me, can you make sure it’s not one with my face all distorted?”

Read on for a couple more notes and the artice.


Daye staying in NBA Draft

Austin Daye took the deadline clock down to the final hour before announcing he will keep his name in the NBA Draft.

About an hour before Monday’s 2 p.m. (PST) deadline, Daye informed Gonzaga’s coaching staff by telephone that he will forgo his last two years of collegiate eligibility to remain in the NBA Draft.

“It’s obviously what he wants to do,” GU head coach Mark Few said. “He gave us a great two years. I’ve always been in favor of whatever each of our individual athletes want to do and I’ve always been a big proponent of the guys being as educated as possible to help them make the proper decision. He’s going in and we’re all going to be pulling for him.”

Daye joins Adam Morrison (2006) and Paul Rogers (1997) as Zags to leave school early for the NBA. Most NBA mock drafts project Daye between 13-27 in the first round.

More later.

Shock dust Stockton, 88-27

Spokane moved to 10-0 and set a couple of franchise records along the way, crushing Stockton 88-27 at the Stockton Arena on Friday night.

The top-ranked Shock set a franchise record for points scored and they also forced nine turnovers, including six interceptions. Stanley Franks had three picks and Kevin McCullough two.

Nick Davila tossed seven touchdown passes and backup Casey Hansen added three more in the last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter. Raul Vijil had five TD catches and Charles Dillon finished with 10 receptions for 122 yards and three touchdowns. Dillon, Davila and Harrison Nikolao each had rushing touchdowns.

Spokane entertains Tri-Cities next Saturday.

Shock put Williams on IR

Aaron Williams, a key member of Spokane’s defensive secondary, has been placed on injured-reserve. Williams has been battling a knee injury for several weeks and it appears surgery is likely.

More here.

Blanchette on Daye

Click here for John Blanchette’s take on Austin Daye.

UPDATE: More on Daye and his pending decision here from

Unbeaten Shock face Stockton

The Spokane Shock (9-0) tangle with Stockton for the third time this season. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday in Stockton. Spokane won the first two meetings and are 9-0 all-time against the Lightning.

Read on for an unedited game advance.

UPDATE (9:01 p.m.): Stockton quarterback Andy Collins, who hurt his knee in the April 25th game against Spokane, was not activated off injured-reserve and won’t play Friday night.


Daye leaning toward NBA

Austin Daye had a conversation with the Associated Press writer in Charlotte, N.C. and appears to be leaning toward skipping his final two seasons at Gonzaga. Read the AP story here.

This and that

A couple of notes to pass along while waiting for a return call from Austin Daye.

Read on for more.


Shock get back to business

After a bye week, Spokane returned to the practice field Tuesday. We caught up with some of the players to see how they spent the week off and who will/won’t be able to play in Friday’s road game at Stockton. Read on for an unedited notebook that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.

WSU writer taking a hiatus in the East


Not much in the way of links for you today, but we do have news about the next month. Read on.

WSU assistants get raises


We have a short story for tomorrow concerning the salaries of Ken Bone’s three main assistants, Jeff Hironoka, Ben Johnson and Curtis Allen. The group is making quite a bit more than Tony Bennett’s three main assistants made last year. For the unedited version, read on.

It’s tough to see high school end

This job is adrenalin filled, just like the competition I watched and wrote about during the year. From September through May the days are long and the weeks run six days and when it ends, as senior athletes can attest, there is a letdown as well. You thrive on the activity and can’t get motivated when there’s a lull.

No June doldrums at WSU


Isn’t this supposed to be the quiet time in college athletics? Ya, right. No matter that it’s June. There’s still a bunch of stuff going on. For links, read on.

WSU’s Hicks cited again


Starting safety Xavier Hicks missed the first three games of last season. It wasn’t because he was injured. It was because he had been suspended by coach Paul Wulff after pleading guilty to attempted third-degree assault and third-degree theft in an incident involving a cable bill and his roommate. After serving his time last summer, Hicks got nabbed for driving without a valid license while heading home from jail in Colfax. Afterward, he said it was a stupid thing to do and he had learned from it. Well, apparently the lesson rubbed off. Hicks, who will be a senior in the fall, was arrested earlier this week for the same driving infraction. For an unedited version of our story, read on.

Looking at WSU’s basketball changes


The basketball roster news that was announced at Washington State yesterday gives us an opening to exam a couple aspects of last year’s team that we haven’t written about before in depth. If you’re interested, read on.

Stuck at No. 1

Spokane, which has a bye this week, strengthened its hold on No. 1 in the latest af2 rankings. Find the poll here

Roster changes for WSU basketball


Some news we’ve had before on the Washington State basketball roster is going to be made official today, with one surprise. For that information, read on.

Region tops Metro

All streaks, someone once said, come to an end.

Such was the case Monday when the Region, winless in the 15 previous Jack Blair Memorial Classic girls basketball all-star games, knocked off the Metro. Click here to read more.

In the picture above, Amy Warbrick of Coeur d’Alene drives to the basket.

Budget decisions postponed at WSU


Yesterday was June 1, the day Washington State University President Elson Floyd had originally earmarked for the school departments to submit budget cuts. But last week Floyd gave everyone an extension, so don’t expect anything to happen for a week or two. For more on the upcoming athletic department cuts, read on.

Zags add non-conference game

Augustana College, an NCAA Division III school from Rock Island, Ill., will face Gonzaga on Dec. 9 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. More on the Vikings here.

TUESDAY UPDATE: An article that details the ties of the two schools’ coaching staffs.

WSU vows to be back


The baseball season is over for Washington State, but the lessons learned during the run to the NCAA Tournament will last a long time, according to coach Donnie Marbut. After the Cougars lost to Oklahoma on Sunday, Marbut insisted they will be back – and soon. For more, read on.

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SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.


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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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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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