A GRIP ON SPORTS
I've spent a lot of time in high school gyms over the years, from my own high school days through the games as a fan to times when I've been in them as a reporter. Last night was one of those reporting times. And little has changed. Read on.
• To paraphrase David Wooderson in "Dazed and Confused," that's one thing I like about covering high school sports. I may be older, but the players are all the same age. And they still play with the same passion. While watching the Gonzaga Prep girls hold off their U-Hi counterparts (I was there to cover the boys game, so I was just a spectator at the preceding girls game), it struck me. Though it's been 40 years since my high school days, between 25 and 15 since I watched a team on a regular basis and about a half-dozen since I was covering preps, the atmosphere is still the same. The students jammed in near the court. The older folks, many of whom travel from good matchup to good matchup, across the top of the stands. The video cameras. The coaches. The stripes. The horn. The smell of burnt popcorn. The sweat. The more things change (girls games, three referees, shot clock) the more they stay the same. It was comforting.
• A tweet just showed up in my timeline and we'll pass it along with no comment other than this: Yep, this is the national perception of the Pac-12 right now. And it's not written from some sort of East Coast bias. From Pat Forde, Yahoo.com's basketball writer (@YahooForde): "The bottom four teams in Pac-12 play each other today: Utah-USC and Wash State-Arizona State. Viewer discretion is advised."
• Washington State: We'll start with those Cougars as they attempt to bounce back from their worst defeat of the season, without the reigning Pac-12 player of the week. Christian Caple has more on Faisel Aden's injury in this blog post and story. If Aden is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow when WSU gets back to Pullman, my guess his knee may be worse than previously thought. If the MRI shows it is only an MCL sprain, he could return this season. If there is more then the final stretch is in doubt. ... Christian's post has your Pac-12 links. We'll pass along a couple more we found interesting, including this piece by Ken Goe looking at how much Oregon is spending on its recruiting investigation. ... ESPN.com's Ted Miller opens his mailbag and you probably know how I feel about that (in a word: yippee). ... Brock Osweiler's decision is looking better. And I know this isn't a Pac-12 story, but the decision by Kansas' Charlie Weis to put out this press release wasn't wise. ... Wednesday is the start of the letter of intent period and recruiting news is heating up. The Cougars have picked up a couple more commitments, one of which just solidifies an early one that was considered soft. Around the conference, Wednesday is going to be an interesting day as some schools see previously committed kids head elsewhere.
• Gonzaga: The Zags are off today but we have some WCC news, considering BYU is hosting St. Mary's in a key game for those two schools and for GU. If the Cougars lose in front of their fans, they probably have no shot at winning the conference title.
• Whitworth: The 11th-ranked Pirates rode Wade Gebbers to a big road win.
• Preps: Greg Lee was out at Lake City for the intra-city battle with Coeur d'Alene last night and files this story on LC's win. ... As we said, we were in Gonzaga Prep's gym for U-Hi's win over the Bullpups. We have this story.
• Chiefs: Spokane's winning streak is no more. Portland came into the Arena last night and defeated the Chiefs, 3-2 in overtime. Jess Brown has this story.
• Shock: Last year wasn't the best for the Shock. So after a 9-10 record – Spokane's first losing season – changes were made, including at the top where Andy Olson takes over from Rob Keefe. Jim Meehan has this story as the Shock are just three weeks away from the start of camp.
• Mariners: The M's have a plethora of young talent according to Baseball America, something general manager Jack Zduriencik talks about in this Larry Stone blog post.
• That is it for this Saturday morning. We'll be out and about this morning then back in front of the TV set for the Cougars' game at Arizona State. Yes, we will be watching at our own risk. Until then ...