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Archive for June 2010

Where will LeBron James go?

One of Indians’ top hitters promoted

Spokane Indians outfielder Guillermo Pimentel was promoted Wednesday to the Hickory (N.C.) Crawdads, the Texas Rangers’ Low-A team in the South Atlantic League. Pimentel hit .344 in nine games with the Indians, playing center field and right field. He made an impression on Everett on Tuesday during his final appearance with the Indians. Entering as a pinch hitter in the seventh, Pimentel scored the first of three runs in the inning by bowling over AquaSox catcher Steven Baron. The fourth-year pro is from the Dominican Republic.

No surprise, Chiefs introduce Don Nachbaur

Don Nachbaur is the new face of the Spokane Chiefs, no surprise, but the Western Hockey League team made it official Wednesday afternoon. Click here for the story.

Shock still No. 1, Rattlers drop

There will not be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown on Friday at the Arena.

The Spokane Shock remained atop the AFL coaches poll for the second straight week, but Arizona, coming off an impressive road win over then No. 3 Jacksonville, somehow dropped from second to fourth. 

Tampa Bay jumped from fourth to second, apparently on the basis of an easy home win over 13th-ranked Bossier/Shreveport (3-9). Chicago also climbed over Arizona after beating Orlando (5-6).

Rankings below.

Vilarino adds two more visits

Former Gonzaga guard G.J. Vilarino expects to visit Fresno State later this week and Nebraska in early August, his father, Gerry, said.

Vilarino recently visited Illinois, Appalachian State and took an unofficial visit to one other school. Gerry Vilarino said his son has one other opening for an official visit and he’ll probably make a final decision in early August.

Nachbaur will coach Chiefs

The Spokane Chiefs will have a press conference at the Arena this afternoon to introduce veteran Western Hockey League coach Don Nachbaur as their new coach, according sources. Read story here.

One source said the Chiefs would give the former Tri-City and Seattle coach an unprecedented five-year contract.

Front office busy as Shock roll on

Spokane has made a number of lineup changes throughout the season, but its level of play hasn’t dropped off. In fact, the Shock appear to be playing their best football heading into Friday’s showdown with Arizona.

Read on for more about the juggling act Spokane has done (mostly because of injuries) as well as an update on Raul Vijil and Rattlers quarterback Nick Davila.

Chiefs draft forward from Czech Republic

The Spokane Chiefs selected Marek Kalus of Czech Republic in the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound forward turns 17 on July 22.

The Chiefs had the 49th draft pick.

Kalus joins 18-year-old forward Dominik Uher, also from the Czech Republic, as one of Spokane’s two import players, the maximum allowed on a CHL roster

In 46 games this past season with HC Trinec in the Czech Republic, Kalus scored 20 goals and 41 points. He also appeared in five games for the Czech club at the under 17 World Hockey Challenge in January.

Marek is the younger brother of Petr Kalus, a former Regina Pat and second-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2005.

WAC sticking with 8 teams for now

Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson announced Tuesday that the WAC will delay any expansion of its membership until July 1, 2012 at the earliest. This means that for the 2011-12 season, the WAC will operate as an eight-team league that consists of Idaho, Fresno State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State.

Read on for the Associated Press story.

Buffs would like to bolt earlier

Colorado would like to join the WSU Cougars and the rest of the Pac-10 a year earlier than planned. And there is a chance the Big 12 would let them. Now the Buffaloes wait to see how much it will cost. Associated Press writer Arnie Stapleton takes a look at Colorado’s situation in the article below.

Poll: Who will win World Cup?

Catching up with WSU news


Sorry there hasn’t been much in the way of Washington State news here recently, but there has been a good reason for that. We explain, plus go into the status of basketball recruiting and a football injury, on the link, so read on.

On second thought, Marsh honored

The AFL sent out a release earlier today listing player of the week honors. Eighty minutes later, the league said after further discussion there was a revised list of winners, this one including Spokane’s Antwan Marsh as co-Ironman of the week. Marsh, who scored three touchdowns (one on an interception return and on short TD runs) shared the award with Chicago’s fullback Robert Boss.

Here’s the updated release.

Spokane wins seventh in a row

Spokane had travel issues Friday and eventually had to bus from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, arriving at 4 a.m. Saturday. It didn’t seem to bother the top-ranked Shock on the field as they toppled Milwaukee 62-48 Saturday night to improve to 9-2. 

The Shock’s seventh straight victory sets up a big showdown with No. 2 Arizona, which knocked off Jacksonville 66-50 on the road Saturday night. Arizona (8-3) has won six straight after a 63-56 loss to Spokane in Phoenix.

UPDATE: Not sure what the circumstances were, but this game story indicates Arizona QB Nick Davila was kicked out of Saturday’s game in the third. Also, John Booker, a former Shock lineman, is playing fullback now for the Rattlers. Looks like Davila threw a punch after scoring a rushing touchdown.

Click here for more details on the Shock’s latest win. UPDATE: And click here for the view from Milwaukee in this Journal-Sentinel article.

Shock set for rematch with Iron

Spokane and Milwaukee hook up Saturday night in a rematch of an early April game won by the Iron 74-62 at the Spokane Arena. Here’s a link to the preview article.

Zags, Illini in Seattle

It’s been pretty well known for some time, but the formal announcement came this morning that Gonzaga will face Illinois in the Battle in Seattle on Dec. 4. More here.

It’ll be the second of a four-game set between the teams. Gonzaga beat Illinois in Chicago last season. The teams will eventually play on each other’s home courts to conclude the series.

GU has a 4-3 record in Battle in Seattle games. Illinois is the first Big Ten team to play against Gonzaga in the Battle.

Bouldin joining Bulls summer league team

Back with a short article on Matt Bouldin, who has agreed to join the Chicago Bulls summer league team, according to his agent Stu Lash.

Here’s the link.

Another line change for Shock

Spokane’s offensive line has been reworked several times this season and the unit will see another change against Milwaukee on Saturday. Rob McMackin, who hurt his knee in the Bossier/Shreveport game in mid April, has been activated. Harrison Nikolao, who started at center last week, has been put on injured-reserve. The team didn’t specify Nikolao’s injury.

Elsewhere, former Shock defensive back Al Phillips, a starter at the outset of the season before getting hurt, signed with Milwaukee. No word on whether Phillips will play against the Shock. The Iron have another former Spokane player in Virgil Gray, but he’s been on I-R.

Tim Bush remembered

Here are some further reflections, via the Missoulian, on former University of Montana football player Tim Bush of Kellogg, who was killed in a mining accident. Services are 11 a.m. Friday at Kellogg High School.

See you later

The Seahawks wrapped up their minicamp Wednesday. Here’s a so-long photo with center Chris Spencer and his 11-month-old son, Jaxon.

High school All-Star football game in Everett Saturday

Everett Herald sports writer Mike Cane had this tidbit about the East-West All-Star high school football game coming up on Saturday in Everett:

Archbishop Murphy football coach Dave Ward was at Everett Memorial Tuesday. He watched his nephew, quarterback/defensive back Travis Ward of Mt. Spokane High, practice with the East team. Because of schedule conflicts and the distance between them, Dave never saw Travis, a Pacific Lutheran University recruit, play a high school game in person. But on Saturday Ward will finally get to see his nephew compete.

As reported back in The Spokesman-Review in April, here are the local players chosen to play in the game include:

Jake Miller, punter/kicker, Central Valley; Levi Taylor, running back/defensive back, Lewis and Clark; Bo Tully, DB/wide receiver, Mead; Travis Ward, quarterback/DB, Mt. Spokane;  Colten Williams, WR/DB, Mt. Spokane; Trevor Poole, offensive line/defensive line, Ferris; Ashton Boothroyd, OL/DL, Mt. Spokane; Brent Anderson, center/DL, Mt. Spokane; and Kjelby Oiland, OL/DL, Ferris.

Shock finally reach No. 1

After three weeks at No. 2, Spokane has finally moved up to the top spot in the AFL coaches poll released Wednesday.

The Shock, winners of six straight, replaced Jacksonville at No. 1. The Sharks dropped to No.  3. Spokane had 10 first-place votes, No. 2 Arizona four and No. 5 Tampa Bay one. The Shock and Rattlers are 1-2 in the West Division and now in the rankings. Milwaukee, which entertains Spokane on Saturday, dropped from third to sixth.

AFL fans and writers agree with Spokane being No. 1, but there are several differences in top five in their respective polls.

More below.

UPDATE: Milwaukee appears to be having ownership/financial issues and nobody, including team president and CEO Andrew Vallozzi or AFL commissioner Jerry Kurz seems inclined to talk about it. More here.

—Also, Shock director of communications Kevin Maloney relays that ex-Spokane DB Stanley Franks survived final cuts and made the B.C. Lions roster. A quick scan of CFL rosters shows Aaron Fairooz still with Saskatchewan and Jeremy Unertl with Toronto, but it wasn’t immediately known if they’d made the final rosters. Chris Pino suffered an injury shortly after signing with Montreal. Spokane has the AFL rights to those three players.

Nachbaur to Chiefs premature

Spokane Chiefs general manager Tim Speltz denied reports that former Tri-City Americans coach Don Nachbaur has been hired to coach the Western Hockey League team.

According to veteran reporter Gregg Drinnan in Kamloops, citing two sources, Nachbaur is all but signed to replace Hardy Sauter.

“It could be right but it’s not now,”  Speltz said Wednesday morning.  ”We do not have a deal done with Don Nachbaur.

“I talked to Don yesterday. By all means, he’s a candidate for sure. He’s in Vegas, we talked, we’re going to talk. He’s a valid candidate, a very accomplished coach.”

Raul on a roll

Back with a Shock notebook, which begins with Raul Vijil’s remarkable five-game stretch. Read on for that and other notes in an unedited article that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.

Morrison’s exit interview

Adam Morrison reflects on his time with the Lakers during exit interviews the team held with Los Angeles media on Tuesday. Here is the interview from the Lakers website.

Zags set up home and home with Cowboys

The Gonzaga Bulldogs continue to fill out future schedules and they will hook up with a semi-familiar foe the next two seasons. GU will entertain Oklahoma State this season and visit Stillwater next year. Gonzaga has defeated OSU three times — in Oklahoma City, Seattle and Orlando — since 2004. More here and here.

—Spent the better part of a week trying to track down Matt Bouldin for a pre-draft feature, but he didn’t return phone messages. So, here’s a quick overview of his draft stock:

In a survey of 10 on-line mock drafts with two rounds, Bouldin was projected in three as a second-round draft pick. has Bouldin going to Milwaukee with the 47th overall selection. predicts Orlando will take Bouldin with the 59th pick. projects the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers choosing Bouldin at 58th.

Bouldin is rated as the 11th best point guard by Bouldin is 61st in’s player rankings and 71st by’s Chad Ford ranks Bouldin 66th overall with the projection of second round/free agent.



—Lastly, several GU men’s and women’s players will be signing autographs at Hoopfest this weekend. More on that below.


Ta’amu makes most of Shock return

Ed Ta’amu has made Spokane his home since arriving in 2006, even when he played for Kansas City in 2007-08. The big reasons why: girlfriend Jessica and son Noa. Click here for more on Ta’amu.

Meanwhile, there won’t be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown this weekend. No. 3 Milwaukee lost to a patchwork Chicago Rush outfit. Second-ranked Spokane, which visits Milwaukee on Saturday, is expected to take over the No. 1 ranking after top-ranked Jacksonville’s loss to Orlando.

Sunday’s Indians game postponed

Sunday’s Spokane Indians game against the Tri-City Dust Devils has been postponed because of rain.

The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 25 with the gametime to be announced.


Indians lose to Dust Devils again

The Tri-City Dust Devils defeated the Spokane Indians, 9-5, at Avista Stadium on Saturday night. Here is our story.

Spokane wins sixth in a row

The Shock continued to roll, handling Tulsa 63-42 Friday for their sixth straight win. Click here for an expanded game story.

Shock thump Tulsa, 63-42

Spokane was strong on both sides of the ball en route to a 63-42 win over Tulsa at the Arena on Friday. Read on for a short game story and check back in an hour for a longer version.

Meyer has pinched nerve

Game time in about 20 minutes, plenty of time for a quick injury update.

Turns out Shock backup quarterback Erik Meyer isn’t sick, as the team and head coach Rob Keefe have maintained the last two weeks. Meyer has a pinched nerve in his neck, the result of an innocuous side-arm pass in practice about 10 days ago.

The former EWU standout experienced some numbness and suffered back spasms soon after throwing the pass. By rule, he must be on I-R for at least four weeks. Brian Zbydniewski will be Kyle Rowley’s backup for the next four games.

Also, receiver Markee White is slowly improving from an AC joint separation in his shoulder. The severity of White’s injury was between a 2 and 3 (4 is the most severe). The team hopes he can return in 3-4 weeks.

I’ll be back with two post-game posts — a quick wrap-up at about 11:15 and another (with quotes) at midnight.



Rangers’ top collegiate pick assigned to Indians

The Texas Rangers on Friday signed third baseman Mike Olt, their top collegiate pick from this month’s first-year draft, and assigned him to Spokane.

Olt, who set the career home-run record at the University of Connecticut, was selected in the supplemental first round and the 49th pick overall.

The Indians expect Olt to arrive in Spokane Saturday from Texas, but he’s not expected to play Saturday..

Texas also signed left-hander James Reyes and assigned him to the Indians. Reyes, a seventh-round choice from Elon (N.C.) University, isn’t expected in Spokane Saturday.

Kimmel pokes a little fun at Morrison

Jimmy Kimmel had a little fun with a short clip of “Adam Morrison’s NBA final highlights.” Morrison didn’t get any playing time in the finals. Here is the link to the youtube clip.

Chiefs interview potential coach

The Spokane Chiefs are moving slowly, but on the timetable they made, in a search for a new coach. The Western Hockey League team brought in a familiar face for a recent interview.

Eat up the moment

Adam Morrison didn’t get any playing time for the Lakers against the Celtics in the NBA finals, but he’ll collect his second championship ring and true immortality — his picture (look for No. 6), in a team photo, on a special-edition box of Wheaties.

State board OKs Akey’s contract

It was an eventful day for the Idaho athletic department at the Idaho State Board of Education meeting in Idaho Falls. We’ve got a story to fill in all the details on the link.

Division leaders collide at Arena

I put together a short preview of Friday’s Spokane-Tulsa game at the Arena. You can access it here.

(Programming note: A feature article on offensive lineman Ed Ta’amu will run in Sunday’s S-R).

UPDATE: Yet another ex-AFL franchise is coming back. Kansas City, following announcements earlier this week by Philadelphia and San Jose, is expected to be in the AFL in 2011. More here.

Utah set to be welcomed into Pac-10


With the University of Utah poised to accept membership today in what will become the Pac-12 Conference, it seems as if the avalanche of expansion has petered out without too much damage to the status quo. Which might just be a good thing. Read on.

Utah asked to make it a Pac-12


The expected (inevitable?) has happened. The Pac-10 has invited Utah to join the party. The Utes will accept their invitation tomorrow. The Pac-10 will likely become the Pac-12 either next year or the year after. Now all that seems to be left is to iron out the details. We’ll be back.

UPDATE: We had a conversation with WSU athletic director Bill Moos about the expansion, which we turned into a story. We also have more, so read on.

Shock hold steady at No. 2

For the third straight week Spokane is No. 2 in the AFL coaches poll. Jacksonville stayed in the top spot. Milwaukee is No. 3, followed by Arizona.

UPDATE: On the expansion front, San Jose, one of the league’s most successful franchises, is returning to the AFL. The SaberCats would provide another western opponent (along with Utah and Arizona) for the Shock. Philadelphia announced earlier this week that it intends to return to the AFL in 2011.

More below.

Vilarino schedules three visits

A quick update on former Zag guard G.J. Vilarino.

Gerry Vilarino, G.J.’s father, said his son has at least three visits scheduled, one an unofficial trip to a university Gerry declined to identify.

Vilarino will visit Appalachian State and another school (it’s apparently not in the Northwest) this week. He’ll also visit Illinois next week. Gerry Vilarino didn’t rule out additional visits. He said they’re taking their time because they want to make sure they make the best decision.

Appalachian State, located in Boone, N.C., plays in the Southern Conference (Davidson, etc.) and is coached by Jason Capel, brother of Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel. Gonzaga beat Big Ten member Illinois last year in Chicago and the teams will square off this season in the Battle in Seattle. Vilarino will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Details of Akey’s deal released

A nearly $100,000 raise — that is what’s in store for Idaho football coach Robb Akey, who negotiated a new contract with UI after the team’s most successful season in 11 years.

Keep reading for all the details of the five-year deal, which will pay Akey more than $355,000 this year if the State Board approves.

Harrell happy back on the field

Many of Clay Harrell’s former AFL teammates aren’t on the field this season because the league, after a one-year hiatus, returned with lower wages for the players. Find out why Harrell continues to play the game here.

UPDATE: If you watched the NFL Network’s AFL game of the week last Friday, you heard commissioner Jerry Kurz mention that he would announce expansion news during this Friday’s telecast. A Philadelphia newspaper beat the commish to the punch with an article on the return of the Philadelphia Soul (with Jaws, without Bon Jovi) for the 2011 season). More here


Get in on the ground floor, Eagles fans

Eastern Washington University has its webcam up and running at its stadium so fans can watch the progress of the red-turf project.

Here is the link.

Poll: What should Pac-10’s next move be?


A new Pac-10 and WSU


Let’s see. I take a day off to play golf – one of the members of our scramble group not only missed a hole-in-one by an inch (I took pictures) he also rolled in birdie putt from the neighborhood of 70 feet but, alas, we did not win – and the entire world – read, Pac-10 expansion – falls apart. My bad. Before we big adieu to the PaC-16 (motto: “The C is for Texas”), let’s look at what the news means for Washington State. And, by the way, we have some hoop news. For more, read on.

Expansion zenith this week?


It looks like the next 48 hours will define the future of college athletics as we know it. Now that isn’t too apocalyptic, is it? But it just might be true. So where do we stand? We’re sure Colorado will join the Pac-10, Nebraska the Big Ten and Boise State the Mountain West. All that was decided late last week. And we know Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott is making home visits, recruiting the likes of five-star schools like Texas and it’s buddy Texas Tech (a one-star). There were visits with Oklahoma (four stars) and Oklahoma State (two). If recalcitrant Texas A&M (three) decides to diss the conference, the backup plan seems to be Utah (I don’t think it has been given it any stars yet, but if USC decides it’s a good fit, some services will give it three). For more, read on.

Championship rings and miffed Predators

Some Sunday reading material: John Blanchette says Shock ownership needs to step up to make sure the 2009 players get their rings for winning the ArenaCup championship.   Meanwhile, Orlando, particularly defensive back Kenny McEntyre, wasn’t too pleased with Saturday’s loss to Spokane.

EWU kicks off Red Turf Project

Former Eastern Washignton University all-American offensive tackle Michael Roos and his wife, Katherine, were on had at Woodward Field on Saturday to take part in “turf-breaking” ceremonies for the school’s Red Turf Project.

The project is expected to be completed in time for the Eagles to debut their artificial red plahying surface on Sept. 18, when they host Big Sky rival Montana in what will then be named Roos Field.

Read the story here.

Shock pull out 53-52 win

In yet another wild Arena Football League game, Spokane rallied in the fourth quarter to pull out a 53-52 road win over Orlando on Saturday.

The second-ranked Shock (7-2) share the AFL’s top record with No. 1 Jacksonville, a team Spokane defeated 67-57 last month.

I’ve put together a game story and you can access it here.

Idaho’s reaction to BSU’s move


We’ve got an updated story after the link on Idaho’s reaction to Boise State. Included are Rob Spear’s thoughts on playing BSU in the future.

Shock begin second half in Orlando

Spokane collides with Orlando on Saturday night. Click here for the game preview.

Texas holding Tuesday meeting

Associated Press

AUSTIN, TexasUniversity of Texas regents will meet next week to decide whether the Longhorns will remain in the Big 12 or switch to another conference.

Boise State joins Mountain West

Boise State has joined the Mountain West Conference effective July 2011, leaving the WAC and fellow state school Idaho. Read the release here.

More on the Pac-10, USC and WSU


By now most of you have probably heard the news about Pac-10 expansion. You’ve probably dissected the USC/NCAA battle that seems to be only beginning. But maybe you still have some questions, some unfilled gaps of knowledge about Thursday’s two big news events. So before Friday gets filled up with World Cup, Nebraska leaving for the Big Ten or somebody throwing another perfect game, we’ll give you tools to fill those gaps. Kind of like a dentist and my front teeth. Read on.

WSU responds to expansion


We’ve spent the afternoon getting Washington State reaction to the addition of Colorado to the Pac-10 Conference. We put together a couple stories for tomorrow’s paper, one on the overall news and the WSU response, the other on the financial bump the school may receive if the conference expands to 16 teams, as has been talked about all week. For both, read on.

WCC monitoring conference shuffle

The West Coast Conference, like a lot of folks across the country, is watching the evolving conference landscape with a keen eye. Football and television dollars are driving what many believe will be widespread shakeups to the memberships of conferences.

Conference realignment was discussed at the just-concluded WCC meetings “as far as what we know of what is going on and what effect it would have on the WCC as a whole and any individual school,” Gonzaga A.D. Mike Roth said. “It’s really difficult to say. We’re not football schools (only USD offers football). The strange part is if the Big 12 goes away, there’s a void in the BCS. Who steps into that void? If the Pac-10 picks up six out of the Big 12 and two others go to the Big 10, what does the SEC do then? What happens to the Mountain West? Does it move into a position of power?”

Read on for more of Roth’s thoughts.

Meyer’s illness brings ‘Z’ on board

An illness to backup quarterback Erik Meyer has led to the Shock signing Brian Zbydniewski.

Meyer isn’t expected to make the trip for Saturday’s game at Orlando, leaving Spokane without a backup behind Kyle Rowley. Enter Zbydniewski, who was a Shock backup QB in 2006. ‘Z’ played for af2 Quad-City in 2009 and he lives about 90 minutes from Orlando.

‘Z’ will serve as the backup Saturday and the Shock anticipate Meyer will be back on the field next week.

Update: More on the Meyer/Zbydniewski and aformentioned Brookins/Dodd-Masters here.

Shock release Dodd-Masters, sign Brookins

Spokane has made a couple of personnel moves, releasing Ruschard Dodd-Masters and signing Mervin Brookins. Both play defensive back.

The Shock didn’t have a choice regarding Dodd-Masters. He apparently played two games for Wenatchee Valley of the AIFA after March 1st. Per Arena Football League rules, players who have played on teams in lower leagues (AIFA, IFL, etc.) after March 1 are ineligible to play on an AFL team this season (first I’ve heard of that rule!).

The league office notified Spokane of the situation earlier this week. Head coach Rob Keefe wasn’t aware Dodd-Masters, who is married and lives in Spokane, had played for the Venom. Dodd-Masters didn’t play in any Shock games.

Brookins played for Stockton in the af2 and was with AFL Oklahoma City earlier this season. He had 12 tackles in four games for OKC.

NCAA throws book at USC


This isn’t about Washington State, per se, but it may have a big affect on the school’s football program down the road. The NCAA’s ruling on USC was officially announced today. Here’s the link, which gives you the gist of the investigation’s findings along with the whole report, if you want to read it. The key elements for football: a loss of 10 scholarships a year for three years (no more than 75 players on scholarship for those years, and no more than 15 initials); a two-year bowl ban; and forfeiture of games won during the Reggie Bush era. There are also scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions in men’s basketball, wins forfeited in men’s basketball and women’s tennis and four years of probation for the school.

Idaho cuts some games

The Idaho High School Activities Association passed a measure requiring schools to cut some games in minor sports. It does not affect the revenue-producing sports.

Also, just one Greater Spokane League 3A boys and girls basketball team will be able to earn a state berth in the new regional/state format beginning next year.

Click the tab below to read my unedited story.

Colorado joins Pac-10

It’s official. The Pac-10 announced Colorado has joined the conference. Here is the press release. UPDATE: Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott just said Colorado will join the conference in 2012.

USC, Pac-10 expansion and WSU


It could be D-Day for USC today. Or Pearl Harbor, if that’s your leaning. Whatever, it looks like the Trojans are in trouble. It also seems we’re getting closer to some sort of landslide toward expansion and realignment of the conferences. Those items are discussed on the link. Read on.

• UPDATE: The expansion train is rolling. Colorado accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10. See post above.

Vandals lose 6 scholarships

UPDATED - 6:49 p.m.

The Idaho football team was docked six scholarships today by the NCAA, which released the latest Academic Progress Rate report. Read on for a short story with comments from Robb Akey and Rob Spear.

WSU posts a clean APR


The NCAA’s APR numbers were announced today and Washington State was just fine. We have a short story on the link, so read on.

Zags score 976 in APR

The GU men’s basketball program scored 976 in the Academic Progress Rate report released by the NCAA on Wednesday, That ranks in the 80th-90th percentile and is 36 points above the average for D-I basketball programs.

The rates for Gonzaga men’s teams can be found here, and use this link to find a specific school or sport (GU ranks first among WCC men’s basketball teams).Here’s a rundown on all GU sports.

Shock remain No. 2; Sharks No. 1

The Spokane Shock didn’t play last week, but they were poised to climb into the No. 1 spot in the AFL coaches poll when top-ranked Milwaukee lost to Arizona.

It didn’t happen. Spokane remained No. 2 in the Week 10 rankings while Jacksonville, which lost the Shock two weeks ago, vaulted from No. 3 to No. 1. Milwaukee dropped to No. 3 and Spokane West Division rival Arizona moved up two spots to fourth.

More below.

Marsh preparing for Jack duties

Antwan Marsh hasn’t played in a football game since 2006 and he’s never played in an official arena football game. If that’s not challenging enough, Marsh also faces the task of replacing Kevin McCullough, the former Shock ‘Jack’ linebacker who was traded to Oklahoma City last week, when Spokane takes on Orlando on Saturday night. Click here for the story.

WSU baseball season ends


Well, that’s that. The most successful baseball season in recent memory is over, with Washington State falling 7-2 to Arkansas last night in Fayetteville. We have some thoughts, some links and some notes on the link, so read on.

Metro bounces back

After seeing its 15-game winning streak snapped last year, Metro bounced back to handle Region 103-81 in the 17th annual Jack Blair Memorial Girls Basketball game Monday at University.

Click the tab below to read my unedited story.

Cougs season ends

Arkansas ended Washington State’s season Monday night at Baum Stadium, defeating the Cougars 7-2 in the winner-take-all championship game of the Fayetteville Regional. Click here for our story out of Fayetteville.

WSU vs. Arkansas game thread


Check the link below for an inning-by-inning update of the Washington State NCAA baseball game. We’ll update it as the innings end.

Watson leaves WSU


As you know if you’ve been reading this site, Washington State forward James Watson was iffy for next year. Well, he’s no longer in Pullman. Watson transferred last week to Cowley County Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas, where he will play next year. We have more on the jump. UPDATE: We have added our story on the link, so read on.

Live chat with WIAA director today at 1 p.m.

Mike Colbrese, the executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, has taken some heat for the recent changes in the state basketball tournament format.

On Monday, Colbrese and readers will get a chance to talk about the recent changes in an online chat at

If you have questions about the state tournaments or anything regarding the WIAA, be sure to check in at at 1 p.m. on Monday. Use the widget to the right to sign up for a reminder. You can submit a question in advance by sending it to Read past the jump for more information on the tournament changes.

WSU alive, Big 12 might be toast


A quite full Monday morning, what with the Washington State baseball team still playing – that looked doubtful early Sunday – and Pac-10 commissioner getting the go ahead from the conference presidents Sunday to pursue expansion and to do it quickly. We have items for you on both those subjects, so read on.

WSU stops Arkansas, will play Monday


There was nothing easy about this Sunday for the Washington State baseball team. First the Cougars had to win a loser-out game with Kansas State. They did, 9-6. Then they had to face the host Arkansas Razorbacks knowing they had to beat the top seed twice to advance to next weekend’s super regional. They did, 10-7. WSU scored first, led 2-1 before a five-run fifth gave them some breathing room. But Arkansas wasn’t about to go away, scoring five runs over the next three innings to cut the lead to 7-6. Some poor Razorback fielding helped the Cougars score three times in the top of the eighth. Over, right? Especially with Chad Arnold throwing for WSU. Not really. Arkansas rallied with two outs in the eighth for a run. But Arnold tightened up and shut the Razorbacks down the rest of the way for a season-extending victory. Derek Jones picked a great day to get hot, hitting a big three-run home run the opener and finishing with five RBIs. In the nightcap, he added four hits and two RBIs. With Arnold throwing parts of four innings Sunday, will the Cougars turn to Adam Conley on Monday? We’ll see. You can find our story here.

WSU stays alive with win over KSU


A quick post to update you on what’s going on with Washington State’s baseball team in the NCAAs. The Cougars fell behind 6-1, then rallied with eight runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined before holding on for a 9-6 victory. Derek Jones was the big bat, with five RBI including a three-run home run in the sixth. WSU will face Arkansas starting at 5 tonight. They must defeat the Razorbacks twice to keep their season alive. We’ll keep you abreast of tonight’s result as well.

McCullough scores TD in OKC debut

Kevin McCullough, traded from Spokane to Oklahoma City earlier this week, had an interception and 47-yard touchdown return but the Yard Dawgz still lost, 50-48, at Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

McCullough’s pick gave OKC a 42-41 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Storm rallied to win, stopping an OKC two-point conversion attempt in the closing seconds. OKC dropped to 3-6. More here and here (wow, OKC made 13 roster moves last week, including the additions of ex-Cougar Mkristo Bruce and former Shock O lineman Rico Ochoa).

Meanwhile, Arizona, with ex-Shock QB Nick Davila tossing eight touchdowns and two interceptions, edged Milwaukee in OT to improve to 5-3, one game behind the Shock. Arizona entertains OKC this weekend.

WSU has a long day ahead


Washington State’s baseball team will be back at it today with a possible doubleheader. First the Cougars will face a noon (PDT) rematch with Kansas State, a 9-8 winner over Grambling on Saturday, before – if they win – having to face host Arkansas at 5. To win the regional, WSU will have to win three consecutive games. For more on yesterday’s 6-4 defeat to the Razorbacks, read on.

WSU falls 6-4 to Arkansas


Washington State struggled to solve the puzzle of Arkansas’ Drew Smyly and, what was even more puzzling, had some uncharacteristic defensive lapses as well. But despite two crucial errors, the Cougars went into the bottom of the eighth trailing by just two runs, 5-3. And the left-handed Smyly was gone despite giving up just three hits and the three runs. Despite the best efforts of relievers DJ Baxendale and Geoff Davenport, WSU couldn’t take the lead, scoring once without an out – on a bases-loaded walk – but leaving the bases loaded against Jordan Pratt. That was the Cougars’ last hurrah as the Razorbacks played add-on in the ninth and won 6-4. WSU will have to come back through the loser’s bracket tomorrow, facing Kansas State once again to start the day. Here is the link to our story.

WSU’s victory and a goodbye


Once again the morning is full of … stories. Ya, that’s it. Stories. From baseball to a basketball legend to the Pac-10’s future. We cover them all on the link, so read on.

WSU wins 8-6


Cody Bartlett, the 5-foot-8 second baseman we wrote about in this morning’s S-R, pounded a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth and Washington State rallied to defeat Kansas State, 8-6, the Cougars’ 19th come-from-behind victory of the season. They led 3-1, fell behind 6-3, tied it at 6, and then got the big bomb from Bartlett to move on in the NCAA regional. They’ll face host Arkansas tomorrow in the winner’s bracket game.

Here is the link to our story.

Chiefs still seeking coach

It sounds as if the Spokane Chiefs are about halfway through the process of finding a coach to replace Hardy Sauter. Sauter was let go on May 4, general manager Tim Speltz said he hoped to have a replacement by the end of the month. Click here for the story.

More on Gibbs’ decision

Former Gonzaga guard Grant Gibbs made it official yesterday, picking Creighton as his next destination.

I talked with Chris Robertson, who was Gibbs’ prep coach at Linn-Mar High in Marion, Iowa, this morning and you can read some of his thoughts below on Gibbs’ decision.

(By the way, I spoke with G.J. Vilarino’s dad earlier this week and at that point, they were still narrowing their list of schools and had yet to make any visits.).

WSU news on a Friday morning


There are a few things to cover this morning related to Washington State and Pac-10 athletics, so let’s get right to them. Read on.

Gibbs headed for Creighton

Former Gonzaga University point guard Grant Gibbs has made an oral commitment to Creighton, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

Here is the link.

Shock losing Pino to CFL

Spokane offensive lineman Chris Pino has signed a contract with Montreal of the CFL. The Shock today placed Pino on the other league exempt list. CFL teams are just beginning training camp.

Spokane recently signed ex-Idaho Vandal Adam Juratovac and Rob McMackin, a starter earlier this season, will probably come off injured-reserve in a couple of weeks.

A bit more below.

WSU baseball and Pac-10 expansion


We have some more on the NCAA baseball regional that begins tomorrow, but probably of more interest is a report about Pac-10 expansion. This story seems to be getting some traction. Read on.

Bouldin on workout trail

Former Zag guard Matt Bouldin worked out for Milwaukee on Wednesday after previous stops at Minnesota and Washington. He’s scheduled to visit Chicago on Friday. More on Bouldin here.

WSU sees its story in Kansas State


The more you read about Washington State’s opponent Friday, Kansas State – and there is another story on the link – the more you understand why WSU coach Donnie Marbut keeps saying the Wildcats are a lot like his Cougars. However, there are significant differences. Read on.

Updated article on McCullough

Back with a final verison, at this point, on Spokane trading Kevin McCullough to Oklahoma City. I called McCullough about an hour ago to get his reaction on going to OKC and included it below. Read on for the article.

Also, Spokane moved up one spot, to No. 2, in the coaches poll. Milwaukee is the new No. 1. The poll can be found here..Spokane, by the way, in No. 1 in the writers’ and fans’ polls.

McCullough dealt to Oklahoma City

As mentioned in a previous post, Spokane has cut ties with linebacker Kevin ‘The Chainsaw’ McCullough. He’s been traded to Oklahoma City for claim order position (there’s a number order for claiming free agents. Oklahoma City is No. 6 vs. Spokane’s No. 8.).

Also, defensive back Al Phillips was activated off injured-reserve and then released. He was on I-R with a knee injury.

More later.

Examining WSU’s late surge


The Washington State Cougars’ baseball team was as hot as anyone down the stretch of the Pac-10 season, winning 9 of its final 12 conference games. We have a story examining one of the main reasons behind the surge for tomorrow’s S-R, but you can read the unedited version on the link now.

• UPDATE: With Ken Griffey Jr.’s retirement this afternoon, the space in the paper devoted to the following story was turned over to that topic. The story on the link will now run in the S-R Friday morning.

Shock cut McCullough loose

The Spokane Shock are cutting ties with ‘The Chainsaw.’

Shock head coach Rob Keefe on Tuesday informed Kevin McCullough, one of the team’s most popular players and a 2½-year starter at linebacker, that he will be traded or released. The move comes just days after McCullough’s first interception of the season, which he returned for a touchdown in Spokane’s win over former No. 1 Jacksonville.

“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve had to do and I know I’m going to get nailed for doing it, but I just have to do what’s best for the team,” Keefe said. “Kevin’s a great person, but from a coaching standpoint winning is the goal.”

McCullough, nicknamed ‘The Chainsaw’, had 15 interceptions in 2008-09 when the Shock went 37-3 in arenafootball2. He said he was “floored and just completely blindsided” upon hearing the news from Keefe. “I felt honestly a little betrayed by an organization I’ve done a lot for, not just on the field but off.”

Here’s a link to the entire article. I’ll update this story later today.

Counting down to WSU’s regional appearance


As we get closer to the weekend, there will be more Washington State baseball news, of course. But we already have some for you, so read on.

Final area leaders

Weather may have been less than ideal, but local athletes still did some impressive things during the state track and field meets, as shown in our final honor roll.

Vijil, McCullough receive AFL honors

Raul Vijil and Kevin McCullough (pictured above) earned AFL player of the week honors after helping Spokane to a 67-57 win over Jacksonville on Saturday.

Vijil, who had seven touchdown catches, was named the offensive player of the week. The EWU product finished with 11 catches for 130 yards. McCullough earned the catch of the week with a one-handed interception of an Aaron Garcia pass and returned the ball 8 yards for a touchdown. He finished with three tackles.

More below.

Utah Blaze sack coaching staff

The Utah Blaze, off to a 1-6 start with two blowout losses to Spokane, has fired its coaching staff and has a new one in place. The Blaze visit Cleveland on Friday.

More here.

WSU to play in Hawaii this Christmas


A quick basketball note for you that might affect your Christmas plans. ESPN and the Diamond Head Classic are announcing today the Cougars will fill the eighth and final slot in the field for the Dec. 22 to Dec. 25, 2010 tournament. Hawaii hosts and this year the field will include Butler, Baylor, Florida State, Mississippi State, San Diego and Utah. A pretty darn tough field. As you can imagine, WSU coach Ken Bone is pretty pleased to be invited. UPDATE: We have added a short story on the link along with some football television news.

Shadle names football coach

Shadle Park’s next football coach is Alan Stanfield, a former player and assistant at Whitworth who has been the head coach the past two years at Timberline High, a 5A school in Boise. Click here for the story.

Some WSU links


Washington State will practice in Pullman today then get on a plane tomorrow for the trip to Arkansas and the NCAA baseball tournament. If the Cougars can survive the four-team regional, they would probably head to Tempe and a super regional showdown with Pac-10 rival ASU (if the Sun Devils win, of course). We have some baseball links and notes for you so 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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