A GRIP ON SPORTS
Just when you think the sports scene is winding down, some unexpected news hits Gonzaga. And other locales. Read on.
• The biggest news around here yesterday came from Gonzaga, where Ryan Spangler, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward, was given his release. Spangler, as Jim Meehan reported in this blog post, will transfer closer to home, which is Oklahoma. The news seems to come out of left field, in that Spangler played some as a freshman, improved as the season wore on (he was sidelined a while with an injury), experienced success and was expected to play a big role in filling the inside hole created by Rob Sacre's graduation. Now he's leaving. Reading this short piece in the Oklahoman, you almost get the impression Spangler used his year at GU as a way to hone his skills and now is ready to return to a school he always wanted to play for anyway.
• Spangler's transfer was the most unexpected news of the day, but the other elements Wednesday, including the Chiefs playoff game loss to Tri-City and the Mariners ninth-inning comeback in Texas, were also worth a second look. We do that below.
• Gonzaga: We linked some of the Spangler items above, but here is Jim's story that appeared in the S-R. … There was more news from GU, with post Kayla Standish being invited to the WNBA draft that will be held at ESPN's headquarters this Monday. … Sacre has signed with an agent.
• Washington State: Christian Caple was busy yesterday, holding a live chat with you folks (you can read a summary here and review the whole deal here), talking with Sekope Kaufusi's attorney, posting video of a conversation with Eliott Bosch. Yes, a full day. … Only one other story I want to point out. Utah recently asked for, and received, a scholarship back from a signed recruit. This may be the biggest mistake I've ever heard of a coach making in the recruiting wars. It will be mentioned in every home when Utah is competing with another school for a player.
• Eastern Washington: Jim Allen was at a windy spring football practice yesterday and filed this story. … The Eagles also added a JC guard in basketball. … Wondering how things are going in Missoula? You can find out here.
• Chiefs: The home ice advantage now rests with the Tri-City Americans once again, after they defeated Spokane 2-1 at the Arena last night. Jessica Brown has the story. … No game coverage on the Tri-City web site I could find, but there was this feature. … Kamloops battled its way to one victory against Portland.
• Shock: Remember, if you want to attend the next Shock home game, take our news quiz. Everyone who does is entered into a drawing. We're giving away three pairs of tickets.
• Preps: A lot of track and field news from Greg Lee, including this feature and notebook. … Greg also has his column, which passes along the happy/sad (happy for him, sad for us) news of Dick Cullen's retirement at Mead High. … Meant to link this story yesterday, but will now. Prairie High girls coach Al Aldridge, whose teams faced off with Spokane squads at state in basketball and softball over the years, has left to become the head basketball coach at Clark College.
• Mariners: A show of hands. How many of you gave up on the M's last night – and possibly for the season – after their scoreless inning streak moved into the 20s? Kim and I watched the game at dinner, but when we got back to the house, I basically just touched base the rest of the way, watching the eighth-inning then moving on to other endeavors. That means, of course, I missed their ninth-inning rally fueled by ropes from Kyle Seager and Michael Saunders, a sac fly from catcher Jesus Montero and capped by John Jaso's big hit. The rally gave Seattle a 4-3 win and caused consternation in Dallas. … Now if Justin Smoak could just get going.
• Radio: I don't know how many of you ever drive around Northern California at all, but if you did, you probably listened to KNBR, the most powerful station in the Bay Area. And you probably heard “The Razor and Mr. T,” the most-listened to sports talk north of LA. Well, the show is just Mr. T's (Tom Tolbert's) now, after Ralph Barbieri was let go this week.
• That's our busy, busy Thursday morning report. Until later …