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Archive for June 2012

Answering the yet-to-be-made call

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Even though this goes against a lifetime of saying no, I've decided to volunteer. Yep, if the guys running college football need an average Joe (I mean that literally, as my first name is Joe and I am average in a lot of ways, other than waist size) for the playoff selection committee, I'm available. After all, I've watched a lot of college football games over the years, I've had to listen to coach speak for way too long and I have a lot of time on my hands. Heck, I would even give up this gig to fill the role. Read on.

Arizona routs Shock 61-35

A couple times this season Spokane has appeared to hit its stride only to come unraveled a week later. It happened again when Spokane, a week after crushing San Jose 90-63, was blasted at home by No. 1 Arizona 61-35 Friday.

Kyle Rowley, who tossed an AFL-record 12 touchown passes a week ago, was intercepted five times, twice by ex-Shock linebacker Kevin McCullough. Backup quarterback Jason Holtus also tossed a pick, giving Spokane six turnovers.

The loss all but eliminates Spokane from playoff contention.

My unedited game story is below.

A Mariner conversation

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Two guys are sitting in a Renton bar, arguing about the Mariners. The guy on the left is wearing a light pink shirt, chino shorts and flip-flops. The guy on the right sports Levis, work boots and a worn blue work shirt, stained with sweat. To say they see the world differently would be an understatement. Read on.

Spokane, Arizona renew rivalry

Spokane and Arizona hook up for a key AFL game Friday night in the Arena.

Here's my game preview that will run in tomorrow's S-R.

Lakers take Sacre with last pick of draft

Former Gonzaga center Robert Sacre was taken by the Los Angeles Lakers with the final pick (60th overall) of the two-round NBA draft on Thursday night.

I had a few minutes on the phone with Sacre, who watched the draft at his home away from home in Ville Platte, La., where he spent a lot of time as a youngster visiting relatives during summer months. Sacre had to leave the noisy room so he could hear questions on his cell phone.

Sacre was completely surprised when the Lakers' selection was announced. He thrilled to be going to a franchise on the West Coast and he's quite familiar with Los Angeles from GU's annual visits to play LMU and Pepperdine.

“The great thing about it being the Lakers,” Sacre said, “is I get to watch my Zags play twice.”

Here's my short article that will run in Friday's S-R, a GU release and an L.A. Times article.

Zags, Wildcats to Battle in Seattle

About the time 7-foot Polish center Przemek Karnowski was committing to Gonzaga in early May came word that the Zags would be facing Kansas State in the 2012 Battle in Seattle. The matchup became official today with an announcement from Idol Sports and Entertainment.

The game will be played December 15th at KeyArena. Gonzaga is expected to play a return matchup against K-State in Wichita or Kansas City in 2013-14. More below.

The Bulldogs' non-conference slate also will include a visit to Oklahoma State on New Year's Eve.

NBA takes a backseat

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The biggest news today, other than what's coming out of Washington, D.C., of course, is the NBA draft. You would think that David Stern has enough pull in Washington to get the Supremes to put off announcing something as big as the health care decision until after New Orleans takes Anthony Davis, wouldn't you? Read on.

Shock still facing uphill playoff climb

Spokane is playing some of its best football of the season and would be a dangerous team if it makes the playoffs. That's a big 'IF'. More on Spokane's playoff chase, the return of Jeremy Geathers and details on the new 5-year CBA here.

There's a longer version below with a few more quotes and an update on DB Terrance Sanders that were cut from the article that ran in today's S-R.

Cue the Jim Mora video

A GRIP ON SPORTS • UPDATED: 9:46 A.M.

Change is coming to college football. Big change – in more ways than one. There is the change to the postseason, approved for a 2014 start by university presidents. And there is the change due to schools when the television rights to a four-team playoff are worked out. Though calling billions and billions of dollars change is probably a mistake. Read on.

Let’s discuss the financial situation

A GRIP ON SPORTS

We are going to talk money today. No, we're not asking you for any. All we're going to do is talk dollars and cents and the Mariners. Pretty simple. Read on.

An uplifting Monday post

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Mondays always hold a special place in the workingman/woman's heart. The first day of the workweek is usually the toughest day to attack with fervor, especially this time of year. The light at the end of the tunnel – Friday – is dim, the physical demands of the weekend may have left its toll and most of your co-workers are wandering around like extras from “The Walking Dead.” Even in semi-retirement, I've designated Monday as laundry day, just so I can share in the misery a bit. But we do offer a respite, a jump-charge so to speak to your week. Nothing too elaborate, mind you, just some commentary and news links. Read on.

Late night, late post

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I usually hit the sack pretty early, even on Saturday nights. A product of having walked the planet quite a few years I presume. But last night was different. As I prepared for my typical 9 p.m. bedtime I turned on the TV and grabbed my phone. And ended up being hooked by Denzel Washington and the Shock. Not together, mind you, but in tandem. Read on.

Three for a June Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

So where to start as the month of June winds down? The Mariner results are starting to get a bit redundant (though we offer some discussion today on Felix Hernandez's future with the team). The other major sports are basically in hibernation (though we offer some discussion today on LeBron James' place in history). And the Olympics are a bit far off still (though we offer some discussion today on what the trials are for). Read on.

Basketball is finished

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As the confetti rained down onto the floor in Miami last night, I wanted to get on my horse and ride around Spokane yelling, “the NBA is over, the NBA is over.” Then I realized I don't have a horse. Read on.

Sliding inexorably toward winter

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday was the longest of the year in the northern climes. The sun was over the horizon for more minutes than any other, though I can't give you the exact figure. What I can tell you, however, is that means one thing. It's all downhill from here. Yep, I'm a glass half-empty type of guy. Read on.

WSU, the APR and links

COUGARS

Figured a quick blog post detailing WSU's APR numbers — which were released for all schools yesterday by the NCAA — would be a pertinent way to start your Thursday. So here it is. Read on.

The things you can do in Frisco

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Did you know it is not illegal in San Francisco to get drunk, wander onto the 18th green during the middle of the U.S. Open award ceremonies and make “Ca-ca” noises in front of the television cameras? Neither did I. What a wonderful city. Read on.

No complaints today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I was going to begin today's post by complaining about the sun shining through the window and ruining my ability to see the computer screen. Then I caught myself. After all, in six months I will be moaning about the overcast, the cold, the lack of sunshine. So instead of ruing the way the day is starting, I decided to embrace it. And now I have an excuse for the typos. Read on.

Catching up to WSU’s commitments

COUGARS

There's been quite a bit of news on the recruiting trail during the past 48 hours or so, and as such, we have a quick post for you this morning catching you up to speed. Read on.

A morning show

A GRIP ON SPORTS

The sun rises early this time of year. And we rise with it every once in a while. It happened on Sunday, when the sound of the birds, a slight breeze and the bright sunshine all conspired to ruin any chance I had of sleeping in on Father's Day. But, after looking out the window, I was glad I had gotten out of bed so early. Read on.

Father’s Day memories

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's Father's Day. So, like any good father, it's time to hand out a chore. See, I want to know your favorite sports-related memory of your father. Whether it was taking you to a game or hitting you fungos or walking Bloomsday, I would love to share in them. To get you started, I'll tell you mine. When you're done with the post, pass along your favorite sports moment with your dad in the comments section. We'll all enjoy them. Read on.

Shock blow lead, fall to Utah

Spokane suffered a heartbreaking loss in a game it appeared to have in control of inside the last minute.

The Blaze recovered an onside kick and capitalized with Tommy Grady's ninth touchdown pass and Tysson Poots' fifth TD catch to overtake the Shock 58-55. Utah scored two touchdowns in the last 27 seconds.

My unedited game story is below. It includes an update on labor negotiations. Shock majority owner Brady Nelson said the two sides have tentatively agreed to a five-year CBA after 12 hours of talks in Chicago on Saturday.

Shock game day

At least for a few hours tonight, the focus will be on football for the Spokane Shock when they take on the Utah Blaze. Spokane is dealing with Kevin Ellison's arrest earlier this week, labor unrest and the return of ex-coach Rob Keefe and seven former Shock players now wearing Blaze uniforms.

Here's my preview and one from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Meanwhile, labor negotiations started earlier this morning in Chicago as the AFL tries to reach a new CBA. Here's a recap detailing how far apart the two sides are at the start of today's talks.

A quick Saturday post

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's Saturday morning. I get that. So we won't waste a lot of your time with chit-chat. I understand you want to get out into the day and explore the possibilities of your weekend. Read on.

More on tournament changes, Barham

Turned into a busy news day with Gonzaga. The WCC has voted to change its tournament format for men's and women's basketball, beginning with the 2014 events. That's the season Pacific joins to make the WCC a 10-team league.

The double-byes for the top two seeds into the semifinals will be scrapped. The top six teams will receive byes into the quarterfinals.

Also, Memphis wing Drew Barham will transfer to Gonzaga, where he'll have two years of eligibility.

More on the tournaments and Barham below.

WCC changing double-bye tourney format

The West Coast Conference will change its men's and women's basketball tournaments when it becomes a 10-team league in 2014, scrapping the format that rewarded the top two teams with double-byes into the semifinals. 

The WCC, which welcomes Pacific in 2013-14, will adopt a traditional 10-team tournament with the 10th seed playing No. 7 and No. 8 vs. No. 9 on the first day. The top six seeds will enter the tournament in the quarterfinals on the second day. Gonzaga's men and women have enjoyed double byes for years at the tournament.

ESPN.com first reported the format change. UPDATE: Here's a release from the WCC.

The conference tournaments will be held at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for at least one more year. The contract runs out after the 2013 event. The WCC is considering several other venues as well as re-upping with the Orleans.


  

Another nice Friday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I really can't think of a better way to end the workweek. I warmed up a cup of Thursday's coffee, opened up the computer and began reading stories from Miami, San Francisco and Seattle about subjects as varied as the NBA Finals, the U.S. Open and the Mariners. Throw in the time I spent reading the S-R this morning and, yep, I can't think of a better way to start my Friday. Read on.

Shock news

A couple of news items, one involving a fire at Shock player Kevin Ellison's apartment, the other an update on AFL labor negotiations.

First, the fire in the apartment complex where virtually every Shock player resides. Ellison will face arson charges, according to investigators. The AFL rookie who played at USC apparently wasn't injured when he jumped from his third-floor room. Here's an article that will run in Friday's S-R.

Shock majority owner Brady Nelson stressed that the fire was in no way related to the AFL labor dispute.

Also, the AFL players union sent a counter proposal to owners on Thursday. Owners were expected to discuss the latest proposal tonight. More below.

Monninghoff leaving GU program

Mathis Mönninghoff, a 6-foot-7 forward who saw limited playing time in two seasons at Gonzaga, has decided to leave the program to sign with a professional team in Germany, Bulldogs assistant coach Tommy Lloyd said.

Mönninghoff, who is from Ibbenbüren, Germany, played just 134 minutes in 23 appearances as a sophomore last season. He made 12 of 28 3-pointers, resulting in 36 of his season-total 38 points.

Mönninghoff (No. 22 pictured above) made eight starts and played in 30 games as a freshman, averaging 4.3 points and 1.5 rebounds. He made 33 of 72 3-pointers (45.8 percent).

He’s the third Zag to exit the program after last season. Forward Ryan Spangler decided to transfer to Oklahoma and Mathis Keita will play at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, an NCAA Division II school.

 

 

Apple Cup will be 12:30 kickoff, other times released

COUGARS

The Pac-12 released its early television schedule on Thursday, and the times and TV information for two more of Washington State's games are now known. Read on for more.

An odd sort of Thursday morning

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Kind of an odd day. Maybe it's because the sun is shining. OK, not really, but it's not raining and the clouds are a bit scattered. Or maybe it's because we found a series of stories worth passing along on Olympic sports. But whatever the reason, it's kind of an odd day. Read on.

Bruggman, Simon and links

COUGARS

Yesterday was a busy one in terms of WSU news, so we put together a post this morning to fill you in on all the happenings.

Keefe returns to Spokane with Blaze

Former Spokane Shock head coach Rob Keefe returns to the Spokane Arena on Saturday as a member of the Utah Blaze coaching staff.

Earlier this week I talked with Keefe about the last 10 months — the time frame during which he was let go after two seasons as Shock head coach and fired after four games as offensive coordinator at Orlando this season — and filed this article that will run in Thursday's S-R.  

Patrick Simon will transfer from WSU basketball team

COUGARS

WSU just sent out a release announcing that junior forward Patrick Simon, an Ephrata native, has been granted his release and will transfer from the men's basketball team. Read on for more.

Brophy coach: Bruggman is ‘a man of his word’

COUGARS

Had a chance to speak this afternoon with Brophy Prep coach Scooter Molander about the commitment of quarterback Tyler Bruggman to Washington State. Read on for a partial transcript.

Touted QB commits to Cougars

COUGARS

Several outlets are reporting this afternoon that Brophy Prep (Phoenix) quarterback Tyler Bruggman has given a verbal commitment to play his college ball at Washington State. Read on for more.

Why not play one-on-one?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I love this headline in the Oklahoma City newspaper. “Kevin Durant scores 36 to power Thunder past LeBron James' Heat.” As if those were the only two guys playing last night. I guess to many folks, they are. Read on.

AFL offers players 7-year deal

The AFL labor dispute was back on the front-burner Tuesday with the release of the AFL's latest offer to the players.

Negotiations haven't been pleasant between the AFL and the AFL players union. Even with the latest offer, both sides managed to take shots at the other, as you'll see when you read the AFL's open letter and AFLPU executive director Ivan Soto's twitter account:

Here's my article on the AFL proposal. It's part of a notebook that includes some injury updates on Terrance Sanders, Palauni Ma Sun, Jonathan Williams and Brandon Thompkins.

Dreams pop up when a fly ball falls

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Sometimes the only difference between a dream and a nightmare is the inability to catch a routine fly ball. Read on.

Coleman picks GU over Xavier

Gonzaga picked up a commitment today from Providence College transfer Gerard Coleman, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged 13.2 points and 5 rebounds last season for the Big East Conference Friars.

I talked with Marcus O'Neil, Coleman's prep coach at Tilton School, and several of his thoughts are in the article posted below. A couple other tidbits from O'Neil: He mentioned that Coleman played on a powerhouse Tilton team with Alex Oriachi, who earlier this spring transfered from UConn to Missouri, and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, who left UConn for Hofstra. .

Asked what Coleman needs to work on, O'Neil said, “He's a long, slim kid and he'll continue to build up his strength. He needs to improve his perimeter shooting, but he was a pretty decent shooter for us.”

More below.

Shock take Command

I've been busy with graduation parties and relatives in town, but I knew when I woke up this morning I'd forgotten something. I hadn't posted Jessica Brown's game story from the Shock's easy win over Kansas City on Saturday night. So here's Jessica's report and S-R photos.

It’s a golf day

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As June Sundays go, yesterday wasn't what one would call chock full of sporting events. Oh sure, the Mariners lost again and there was a non-descript golf tournament. If you're into soccer, there is the big tourney going on over in Europe, where the only tennis major of the year played on clay was trying to finish. Heck, the most exciting moment of the day was a strike out to end a college baseball game and the only reason it was exciting was the ball was about six inches off the plate. And the hitter, North Carolina's All-American shortstop Chris Diaz, came this close to taking the umpire to the woodshed. I might not have been so calm. Read on.

Fixing some memories on a Sunday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

First the Miami Heat roared back in the second half and defeated the Boston Celtics, sending the two teams everyone expected – Miami and Oklahoma City – into the NBA finals. Then later in the evening in Las Vegas, Timothy Bradley won a controversial split decision over the current star of boxing, Manny Pacquiao. And the Twitterverse exploded. Fix. Crooked. Conspiracy. Read on.

Just another strange AFL day

Friday was another bizarre day in the Arena Football League with labor unrest resurfacing but much like the first flare-up in March, it impacted just one game. (And 'impact' might be too strong of a word to describe what the latest work stoppage accomplished.)

Here's the recap. Cleveland players chose to strike and forfeited their game to Pittsburgh, which was ready to play. It was the Power that was caught up in the March strike, with the team owner firing his players during the pre-game meal. A few hours later, Orlando defeated a mix of Power players who decided to play and some replacement players.

Cleveland apparently was the lone team to strike. Recaps of the other two games didn't even mention a work stoppage.

So, here's my game preview and more on the labor unrest here, here and here.

Just another day in sports?

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let's see. Anything happen yesterday? Well, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner had to scratch from today's Belmont, the first time that's happened since The Depression. And six Mariner pitchers combined for a no-hitter, only the second time in history that many pitchers were used in a no-no. So, you're saying nothing all that important happened? Read on.

A full Friday with breaking news

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When I pulled myself out of bed this morning, two thoughts competed for playing time in my head: We made it through another week – after all, it is Friday – and what the heck will I write about this morning? Of course, the negative one dominated, filling me with angst centered round the M's having the day off. But lo and behold, the Internet provides. And it provided a full bounty this morning. The breaking news? I'll Have Another's trainer, Doug O'Neill, telling Dan Patrick the horse is out of the Belmont. Read on.

Sanders strikes football, family balance

Terrance Sanders, who has been Spokane's MVP for the first 11 games of the season, is one busy man.

He's having the best season of his five-year arena football career. Before and after practice, Sanders spends much of his time with his family (that's two-year-old Tiana pictured above stretching at practice with Sanders' teammate Josh Ferguson). Read more about Sanders in my feature story that will run in Friday's S-R.

Also, Spokane made several roster moves Thursday, putting OL Chris Pino (knee) on injured reserve and DL Louis Holmes on other league exempt. The Shock signed former WSU defensive lineman Brandon Rankin and ex-Idaho offensive lineman Sam Tupua.

Rankin was honorable mention All-Pac-12 last season. Tupua started at guard last season for the Vandals.

Win tickets to Saturday’s Shock game

Did you know Spokane Shock tickets are up for grabs in this week's news quiz? Simply enter, and you're eligible to win two random drawings. And if you finish on top of the leaderboard, a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel could be yours. Good luck! Click here for the quiz.

A little denial goes a long way

A GRIP ON SPORTS

For all of you who experienced feelings of sadness last night watching Oklahoma City defeat San Antonio and move on to the NBA Finals, we have a solution for you. It's one I'm using myself and it seems to be working. Read on.

A transfer, plus an addition for WSU

COUGARS

Checking back in again this morning with a couple of small, but notable news items on the Washington State football front. Read on.

Monterola withdraws from NCAAs

Due to a family emergency, Eastern Washington University All-America pole vaulter Keisa Monterola will not be compete in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships today in Des Moines, Iowa.

According to EWU head women's coach Marcia Mecklenburg, Monterola is returning this morning to her native country of Venezuela. She was scheduled to jump today at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

With an outdoor-best mark of 14-0 hit at the 41st Annual Pelluer Invitational, Monterola sits 13th in the nation. Tina Sutej (Arkansas), who won the indoor championship, holds the nation’s best mark of 14-11.

It seems like basketball season

A GRIP ON SPORTS

I'm about to send out an all-points bulletin, if those things are used any more. The sun is missing and I want it back. It's time to be outside, swinging a golf club, running the lawn mower or taking a long walk with the dog. The time for being indoors is January, February, November. Not June. Heck, even some of the stories I've found this morning remind me of winter, just like the clouds outside. Read on.

Some reading for your rainy Tuesday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It looks like a good day to stay indoors. Cold, wind, rain. The type of day sitting down in front of your computer or smart phone and reading a bunch of sports stories is just the ticket. We'll do our best to supply the content, you just have to supply the time. Read on.

A wasted Sunday afternoon

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yesterday afternoon I was fiddling around in the garage, pretending to be organizing and cleaning it when all I was really doing was sitting as often as I could and listening to the Shock game on the radio. In the end, neither activity was all that much fun. I didn't get much done in the garage other than cleaning the barbecue grill and the Shock were run over by the Chicago Rush. Read on.

Shock’s winning streak comes to an end

Chicago played turnover-free while Spokane had three giveaways. The result was predictable.

The Rush thumped the Shock 73-62 on Sunday, snapping Spokane's three-game winning streak. Here's a game recap.

Look forward or behind; it’s your choice today

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Yep, summer's here. Not officially, mind you. That's not for a couple weeks yet. But unofficially, it's summer time in the sporting world. Sure, hockey playoffs are still going on (the only NHL team I've ever seen live is leading the Stanley Cup finals 2-0) and the NBA isn't even to its final series yet, but those two winter/spring sports are on their last legs. What does this all mean to the Inland Northwest sports fan? It means if you want to read about local sports that aren't named baseball or softball, you either have to look back … or ahead. There is little in the way of today in college football or basketball. Read on.

Shock try to stay hot in Chicago

Spokane, hot of late, faces Chicago, riding a two-game losing streak, on Sunday in Chicago.

The Shock (6-4) are back in the playoff picture after winning their last three games, adding to the importance of today's game with the Rush (6-4).

Here's my game preview that will run in Sunday's S-R. Spokane has activated linebacker Terence Moore (knee) off injured reserve, but he probably won't start.

A downpour of links for a Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's pouring rain in Spokane right now. Not just a shower or two but a spigot-turned-on rain. Sheets of water. A rivers-in-the-streets type of rain. And my neighbor's sprinklers just came on. Read on.

A pretty packed way to start a pretty good month

A GRIP ON SPORTS

June was my favorite month as a kid. One main reason: School ended for the summer. For any red-blooded American male growing up in Southern California, the scent of freedom from the classroom was enough to send this punk into a paroxysm of joy. Or, because it was the Los Angeles basin in the 1960s, it may have just been a physical reaction to the smog. Read on.

Cougs lose a player, plus links

COUGARS

We check back in this morning with a small bit of news — but news nontheless — regarding a scholarship player leaving the Washington State football team. We also have other collections of words and sentences for you to read. Onward.

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan 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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