A GRIP ON SPORTS
Really don't know how to hook you into this morning's post. Maybe the best way is to be honest. We have a bunch of links today covering the wide breadth of the sporting world. And a lot of them have rather odd connections to local schools. Read on.
• What do I mean by "rather odd?" Well, let's take one of the links I found and relay the backstory. It was July 4, 2007. I had recently been named as The Spokesman-Review's Washington State beat reporter, which meant I didn't really know anyone well – and didn't have much in the way of connections. Anyhow, I got a call at home just as I was firing up the barbeque in preparation for a family get-together. But the news was too big to ignore. Inglemoor High's Mark McLaughlin had just told WSU basketball coach Tony Bennett he was committed to Washington State. A 6-foot-6 shooting guard, McLaughlin would be the third guard – and probably the last, the voice on the phone told me – in the Cougars' recruiting class. He was a big-time scorer, according to the source. So I dropped what I was doing, spent a couple hours running down McLaughlin in Cincinnati, where he was playing in a tournament, and wrote this story for the S-R. Except a month later, McLaughlin changed his mind, committed to Nevada and then began a basketball odyssey that now has him playing at Tacoma Community College, where he showed up in the News Tribune this morning. With McLaughlin's commitment, WSU had found its shooting guard. The search quieted down but didn't end. When he changed his mind, Bennett used the scholarship to entice a skinny shooter from Southern California to commit. Klay Thompson turned out OK. Just a round-about story, eight days before football signing day, to let you know not all commitment changes are bad. ... One other note. You can still vote in our Super Bowl poll (I think I'll leave it open another day, then revive it on Super Bowl week). Right now, don't care has more of a following than either of the teams, who have split the rest of the vote down the middle. Who knew apathy could have such a following?
• Washington State: Being our lead-in has a WSU connection, we thought we would lead with the Cougars today. Christian Caple had a busy day yesterday, what with Faisal Aden earning Pac-12 player of the week honors (as Christian pointed out, it's been since the mid-1990s since two different WSU players won the honor in the same year but I would like to reiterate that neither Derrick Low nor Kyle Weaver were ever named Pac-10 player of the week; yes, really). Aden also was named this week's winner of the Oscar Robertson national player of the week today. We'll refrain from any comments as we actually saw Oscar Robertson play. ... Also on Christian's plate yesterday was this blog post and resultant story on the salaries of the assistant football coaches. Quite a bump from the previous staff, that's for sure. Christian is starting a series of stories this week introducing you folks to the assistants. We'll link them of course. ... There are a couple other WSU and Pac-12 links I would like to pass along, some Christian has in his morning post, others he doesn't. ... The P-I's Nick Eaton writes about the state of the UW and WSU basketball programs. After a year on the Cougar beat, I was scheduled to be replaced by Nick, who was then working for the S-R. But I decided I liked the gig, and poor Nick, who was low on the seniority list, was about to get downsized, so no change was made. He ended up at the P-I and now steps in for Christian, I believe, in the sports section. The circle of (journalism) life. ... This Chip Kelly story is worth reading. ... Remember when Mike Leach had a strength coach all lined up, but the guy left Pullman, leaving Leach in the cold? Guess it's a common trait among the profession. ... Jon Wilner has his early Pac-12 football predictions for the fall. ... The Pac-12 basketball power list from ESPN. ... And this isn't about WSU or the conference, but illustrates the tough nature of traveling in basketball season.
• Gonzaga: Jim Meehan posted earlier today, with a link to his Zag notebook. ... Santa Clara is wallowing in the WCC cellar and, after playing without leading scorer Kevin Foster last night, things aren't getting any better. The Broncos lost 74-62 at home to Loyola-Marymount. ... The St. Mary's women, who recently defeated Gonzaga in Spokane, lost at USF, 66-64. ... For the first time ever, the WCC has two women's teams ranked at the same time, now that BYU has ascended to the rankings. ... The BYU men are just trying to figure things out. ... Andy Katz sees St. Mary's as the team to beat in the WCC right now, though the road beckons.
• Preps: Greg Lee will be at Shadle Park tonight, covering the girls game with Gonzaga Prep. ... Dave Trimmer caught up with a couple of volleyball stars from a while ago.
• Mariners: The trade is final. Enough said.
• Seahawks: Former quarterback Jon Kitna is in line to be the head coach at his alma mater, Lincoln High in Tacoma.
• That's all we have for you this morning. We'll be on the Patchin, Lukens and Osso show today on 700 ESPN with Dennis Patchin and Rick Lukens, starting at 3 p.m. You can listen here. Until later ...