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Archive for April 2014

Former Chief Holmberg finishes runner-up twice

Mitch Holmberg, who just completed his stellar career with the Spokane Chiefs, finished runner-up for a pair of awards during Wednesday's Western Hockey League awards luncheon in Calgary, Alberta. Holmberg, the league's scoring champion, was up for player of the year and most sportsmanlike player. Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice won both awards. Holmberg picked up his Bob Clarke Trophy for leading the WHL with 118 points. Read story

A rare spring day blooms around here

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let's be clear here. Today is going to be a great day. And it has nothing to do with sports. OK, it has a little to do with sports. Read on.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Well, the 2013-14 Washington State football season is in the books. Or maybe we've just finished the first chapter of the 2014-15 one. The “chicken or the egg” of college football.

The Cougars had practice No. 15 yesterday, kicking off the offseason. Here is our practice report and our story on Graham Harrell, the newest member of the coaching staff. We've also got a baseball notebook.

A look at some Oregon State salaries … Which Pac-12 players might go in the NFL Draft's first round … Former Cal quarterback Zach Kline won't be heading to Oregon State after all … Next year the Pac-12 Networks show The Drive will feature UCLA.

Spring Practice Report: Day 15

From Pullman — The Cougars held their 15th and final spring football practice of the year on Tuesday. That means no more football until fall camp in August. So that's not going to be fun. Our last practice report for far too long is after the jump.

Chiefs prepare for big week

The Spokane Chiefs will join the 21 other Western Hockey League teams this week in Calgary, Alberta, for important gatherings. Wednesday is the annual awards luncheon, at which former Chiefs player Mitch Holmberg is a finalist for player of the year and most sportsmanlike player. Thursday is the bantam draft, at which teams hope to boost their rosters for the future. The Chiefs will pick 14th overall and hold six selections in the first round rounds. Read story

The view from someone who has been there

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There have been few NBA players better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And even fewer smarter. He proved that again yesterday. Read on.

So long, Dr. Jack

A GRIP ON SPORTS

One of the sad parts of growing older is losing your heroes. Today is another of those sad days. Read on.

Report: Idaho WR Epps arrested for DUI

UPDATED (10:10 a.m)

Idaho wide receiver Dezmon Epps, who had a breakout junior season in 2013, was arrested for driving under the influence early Sunday morning in Pullman, according to a report in Idaho's student newspaper. The arrest occurred at 800 NE Ruby St., adjacent to Stubblefield's Bar and Grill at 1:23 a.m. Sunday, the Argonaut reported.

Epps piled up big numbers last season after transferring from City College of San Francisco, catching 79 passes for nearly 1,000 yards. He had 11 catches for 121 yards in Idaho's spring game on Friday night.

Coach Paul Petrino issued this strongly worded statement to the Argonaut on Epps' arrest:

“I am aware of the situation involving Dezmon Epps and I am disappointed in his actions. I will review the matter and it will be handled swiftly and decisively. Our student-athletes will understand that there will be discipline in our program. They will learn the responsibility they have in representing themselves, the football program, and the University of Idaho in the right manner. We will hold our student-athlete’s accountable for their actions at all times as character and integrity will always be a priority in our program. We will learn just as many life lessons through our failures as we will through our successes.”

The Vandals announced on Saturday morning that they've been banned from a 2014 bowl and face reduced practice time for failing to meet the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate standards. As a senior, Epps could transfer to another school and be eligible right away because of the sanctions. Petrino said he met individually with Epps (as well as Maxx Forde, Mike Marboe and other seniors) and said he expects all of them to return.

“They’re all Vandals,” the second-year coach said. “They’re all 100 percent with us.”

Petrino said Saturday that a few seniors might make statements on Monday about the APR penalties.

There was a lot going on Saturday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Was it a busy Saturday? Well, you decide. The Cougars played their spring game. The Eagles played their spring game. It seems as if the Vandals played their bowl game Friday night. And there was an uproar in the NBA that had nothing to do with the officiating – or the games for that matter. Read on.

Sunday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — It was a return to the spotlight for the Washington State football team, which played its spring game yesterday in Spokane in front of a few thousand fans and anyone who wanted to watch it on TV (except you poor DirecTV subscribers). As far as spring games go, it was another one. The Crimson appeared to be the better squad but the game made a game of it once it stopped turning the ball over. I wrote a game story and put up a blog post with some additional thoughts from the game. John Blanchette says that WSU's secondary proved its mettle during the game. Hard to argue with four picks.

We also passed along some statistics from the game as well as a photo gallery from Dan Pelle. Ernie Kent appears to have landed another recruit.

Cal also had its spring game and so did UCLA. However, the Bruins basketball team will lose Jordan Adams after all.

WSU Crimson and Gray Football Game

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered the Washington State University Crimson and Gray spring football game, April 26, 2014, at Joe Albi Stadium. Check out this big picture gallery of his photos!

WSU spring game choppy but illuminating

From Pullman — The Cougars have one more practice on Tuesday but today's Crimson and Gray game was the spring showcase. You can read our story from the game here and keep an eye out for a John Blanchette column from Joe Albi. Here are the game stats. The team was pretty amped up for the game, perhaps too much so, and there was some sloppy play and some missed opportunities on both sides early. Still, the 6,233 fans who came to the game got a pretty good sampler of what we've seen this spring, including:

EWU Red-White Football Game

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered Eastern Washington's Red-White spring football game, April 26, 2014, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. Check out this big picture gallery of his photos!

Spokane snags road win against Tampa Bay

Spokane took control in the fourth quarter, holding Tampa Bay scoreless on its last three possessions, to register a 53-41 AFL road win Saturday.

Erik Meyer tossed six touchdown passes and added two more TDs rushing. Brandon Thompkins had 127 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Derrick Summers finished with three sacks and rookie defensive back Bryant Nnabuife had his first interception of the season.

Game recap below.

 

Crimson and Gray game statistics

Courtesy of WSU Athletics

Ernie Kent lands another commitment

We're about to start the spring game here in Spokane but I wanted to pass along the news that Ernie Kent appears to have secured another recruit for the men's basketball team. Jackie Davis has passed on scholarship offers from Tulsa and Penn State according to Josh  Gershon of Scout.com.

ESPN rates Davis the No. 92 point guard in the class of 2014 and a two-star player. A scouting report on the ESPN site says that:

Davis is physical point guard with a Chauncey Billups type of frame. Due to his strength and solid handle, he can carry defenders on his hip and make plays with his head up. He is best in the open court where he separate from pressure…

 

Idaho football ineligible for 2014 bowl

At 9 this morning, Idaho sent word that it was going to hold a hastily scheduled news conference at 10. The timing — just 12 hours after spring practice had ended with the Silver and Gold game — was strange. And the reason for the news conference was unknown at the time.

Shortly later, though, UI announced in a release that its football program is ineligible to play in a bowl this season after failing to meet the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate standards. The Vandals, who are re-entering the Sun Belt Conference, will also lose four hours of practice time per week — time that must be devoted to studying.

We have our updated and final story below.

The best laid plans are some times for naught

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Is it better to plan for Armageddon and not have it occur or just go through the day without a care? Read on.

Saturday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Yesterday Washington State had a good, old-fashioned Friday news dump. Funny thing was, none of the news were bad. Ernie Kent got his first two recruits as WSU basketball coach. The first was a forward, Aaron Cheatum, who signed his NLI yesterday. The second was a coach, Curtis Allen, who will remain at WSU as Kent's third and final assistant. Yesterday we had another live chat and put up our Five Questions segment with River Cracraft.

Today WSU will hold its Crimson and Gray game in Spokane. We have the rosters and other details here. We've also got our advance of tomorrow's game, focusing on Mike Leach's affinity for film.

CougCenter took a look at the state of the baseball program. It's doing a little better after a win over No. 5 Washington.

 

Idaho ends spring on explosive note

Things we learned on Friday night: Richard Montgomery is really fast. Idaho's quarterback battle likely won't be resolved soon after fall camp starts. The Vandals' defensive front could be special (Paul Petrino's words, not mine). And they have a stable of skilled wideouts.

OK, most of these things Idaho fans already knew. But they were all crystallized during the two-hour Silver and Gold game, attended by perhaps 500 fans at the Kibbie Dome.

We have notes and our story below.

Aaron Cheatum makes it official

From Pullman — After verbally declaring his intentions to sign with Washington State earlier this week, Aaron Cheatum made it official today, sending in his National Letter of Intent and becoming new coach Ernie Kent's first recruit at WSU. The 6-foot-7, 240 pound forward hails from Moreno, Calif. via East Los Angeles Community College where he was named the South Coast Conference Player of the Year after leading his team to a 20-9 record while averaging 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

“We are very fortunate to get Aaron so late in the year,” Kent said in a press release. “Aaron is a very good basketball player with an excellent skill set and will fit into how we want to play and our system very well. He has the ability to not only shoot the 3, but also post up and score inside. We are getting not only a very versatile basketball player in Aaron, but also an excellent young man.”

 

Curtis Allen to remain at WSU

From Pullman — The third and final member of men's basketball coach Ernie Kent's staff is a familiar face. Curtis Allen came to WSU as an assistant under former coach Ken Bone and will remain in the same capacity under Kent. Allen was named the team's interim coach by athletic director Bill Moos during the coaching search and has been on the road with Kent recruiting for the past week.

More after the jump.

WSU spring game rosters and info

From Pullman — The Washington State football team will hold its annual Crimson and Gray game at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium. The event will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks and is one of the final spring games of the year. Coach Mike Leach has said he wants a competitive game and has split the team into two rosters of roughly equal talent.

It will be a regular game with a normal scoring format, i.e, no points for interceptions, etc. The first two 15-minute quarters will be timed regularly, while the final two will have a running clock. Expect to see more of the younger players in the final 30 plays or so. Parking and admission to the game is free.

Rosters are after the jump.

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Let’s get ready for the weekend

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's Friday and the weekend looms. We have a few notes to get you ready. Read on.

Friday morning Pac-12 links

*We'll be holding a live WSU chat today at 11 a.m. here on SportsLink.

From Pullman — Yesterday's practice was almost uneventful. With this spring game on Saturday the Cougars took the pads off for Thursday's practice and went through their normal drills, which you can read about in our practice report. But not long after that report was filed the real news came down. We mentioned that Washington State hosted a pair of high-profile recruits during practice and before the night was over quarterback Tyler Hilinski became a Cougar. He may be the Cougars' quarterback of the future, but our story for the paper focuses on quarterback of the present Connor Halliday and his return to Joe Albi Stadium. It was a big day for Cougars of the past as well, with former WSU cornerback Marcus Trufant retiring with the hometown team. Garfield's Tramaine Isabell has decided to stick with WSU.

 

Oregon landed a big recruit of its own … As did the ASU basketball team … Some early odds are out and Vegas thinks WSU is more likely to win the national championship than Cal or Utah … Speaking of Utah, the student government passed a resolution to change the controversial fight song … 

 

WSU lands four-star quarterback

From Pullman — As we noted in our practice report, prep quarterback Tyler Hilinski attended Washington State's football practice on Thursday and evidently he liked what he saw, making a verbal commitment to play for WSU according to a Rivals.com report($). Hilinski is rated the nation's 14th best quarterback by Rivals and is a four-star prospect, the second four star QB landed by Mike Leach at WSU, along with Tyler Bruggman in 2013.

Hilinski is WSU's third recruit in the class of 2015, along with defensive tackle Thomas Toki, who is also currently on campus, and cornerback Austin Joyner. 

The 6-foot-3, 187 pound quarterback plays for Upland High School in Upland, Calif., and also held a scholarship offer from Utah State. He will likely be the only quarterback recruit in the class. The Cougars have taken one scholarship quarterback in each class under Mike Leach, starting with Austin Apodaca in 2012, who has since transferred, and then Bruggman in 2013 and Peyton Bender in last year's class.

Spring Practice Report: Day 13

From Pullman — The clouds broke for the final Washington State football practice before the spring game. The coaches have split up the roster into two teams and are hoping for as competitive a game as possible. I will have those rosters for you sometime tomorrow morning. It wasn't a very newsy practice today with the teams split up and the Cougars in just helmets (and jerseys, pants, etc. But my point is that they were not in pads).

The practice report is after the jump.

NFL seems to dominate all year these days

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let me check the calendar. It is April, right? Seems like there is a heck of a lot of NFL news for April. Read on.

Eastern Sports chat, noon (Apr. 24)

 

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Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars won't be in pads when they take the field today for their final tune-up before Saturday's spring game at 1 p.m. in Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium. The Tuesday practice following that scrimmage will officially mark the end of spring football and will mean our Cougars coverage is going to really start winding down, sans the occasional baseball story.

But the Washington State football team is still making news, such as yesterday's announcement of a 2018 game against Eastern Washington. In case you missed it we have a profile of Mitch Peterson, a former walk-on safety turned scholarship linebacker. When I was in Spokane for the NCAA tournament I met ESPN's newest contributor to the Pac-12 blog, Chantel Jennings and she has her first WSU story up, a look at Vince Mayle.

That old so-and-so Christian Caple takes a look at where Washington is with spring practice in the books … The Pac-12's new coaches have been the story of spring … In its spring game Oregon will finally have to try and stop itself … The Beavers are seeing some movement in the running back depth.

Petrino: UI has exceeded expectations

If Idaho's Silver and Gold game on Friday night (7:30, Kibbie Dome) goes as well as the first four weeks of spring practice, Paul Petrino will walk away a happy coach. Asked about where the Vandals are relative to his expectations for the spring, Petrino had this to say on Wednesday evening: “You know what? I think we’re ahead of them. I think we’ve had a better spring than I hoped to (have). I’m happy. We’ve done better than I thought we would at this point. And so, it’s been good. It’s been real good.”

We have the full Q&A that Petrino had with a handful of reporters after a practice that he labeled as “really good.” Read on.

WSU to host Eastern in 2018

From Pullman — Washington State announced on Wednesday that the school will host the Eastern Washington football team for a game on Sept. 15, 2018. The release from the school is below.

Vijil helping train Shock players

Raul Vijil, one of the Shock's all-time greats, isn't grabbing touchdown passes anymore but he still has an important role with the team.

Vijil, now with APX Strength, helps guide Shock players through strength and conditioning drills, often at the conclusion of the team's practices early in the week. He was joined Tuesday by another ex-Shock great, Kevin McCullough, who recently purchased a home near the practice facility.

More on Vijil's role and other Shock notes here.

The changing of the guard continues

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There are some questions that are impossible to answer definitively. Like why the M's are so mediocre year-in and year-out. Or why Pete Carroll is always smiling. Or why kids decide to leave one college for another. Read on.

Spring Practice Report: Day 12

From Pullman — Rain, rain, go away. Today's torrent drove reporters and athletic support staff into the upper bleachers to seek refuge beneath the overhang. Refuge was not to be found. I could go on about the weather but then we'd both be in a stormy mood.

Practice report is after the jump.

Kent lands his first recruit

From Pullman — Multiple recruiting websites are reporting that East Los Angeles CC power forward Aaron Cheatum (6-7, 240) made a verbal commitment to Washington State last night, making him the first recruit for new basketball coach Ernie Kent at WSU.  Assistant coach Greg Graham reportedly took the lead on Cheatum's recruitment.

He joins Tramaine Isabell as the second member of WSU's class of 2014. According to Cougfan.com's Braulio Perez, WSU sophomore guard Que Johnson and Cheatum were AAU teammates in high school.

According to Cheatum he chose the Cougars over scholarship offers from Central Florida, Tulane, Idaho and others. He becomes WSU's 10th scholarship player, meaning Kent has three more spots available should he choose to use them.

Cheatum was a sophomore this past season and will have two seasons of eligibility at WSU as well as a redshirt year available. The 2013 South Coast Conference Player of the Year averaged 15.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

Hawks hope Midas touch works with Pryor

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Terrelle Pryor, lined up in the slot receiver position, goes in motion. He receives a handoff from Russell Wilson and it looks as if he's going to pass. But instead he takes off running. Ten yards, 20, 30, 40 and he's run out of bounds at the San Francisco 8. A spike, a few words and … darn, there's the alarm. Time to go to work. Read on.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — It's Spokane Week for the Washington State athletic department and here in Pullman the Cougars have just one week left of spring football. We began the week yesterday with a lunchtime chat. We also had a blog post on Gabe Marks' successful surgery as well as an off day Five Questions segment with Toni Pole. Cougar fans seemed pretty happy yesterday with the news that Bill Moos is no longer looking to make games in Seattle a priority. Last night the news came out that men's basketball coach Ernie Kent landed his first recruit at WSU.

Oregon still doesn't know who its backup quarterback will be … Arizona recruit Stanley Johnson was named California's Mr. Basketball … It was a Bruin who won the Boston Marathon … Cal's new coach has named two assistants.

Bill Moos says no more Pac-12 Seattle games

From Pullman — Washington State has played a Pac-12 opponent in Seattle the past three season with pretty paltry results. The Cougars, hosting some stiff competition, went 0-3 in their home games away from Pullman, losing to Oregon State, No. 2 Oregon and No. 5 Stanford by an average score of 50 to 22 ⅓. 

On Monday Bill Moos announced that the Cougars will no longer host conference foes in Seattle, keeping all Pac-12 home games home, in Pullman. Moos and coach Mike Leach spoke at the Spokane Luncheon on Monday as part of WSU's Spokane Week festivities. According to Cougfan.com, he said:

When I first got here, we didn't have TV money and the Pac-12 money. We needed to build a cash flow. I decided to schedule Oregon State and Oregon games in Seattle becasue we needed the money … That's not the case now, so we're going to reevaluate playing games in Seattle. I think it's served its purpose.

WSU opens the 2014 season in Seattle against Rutgers. 

WSU Receiver tweets surgery successful

Washington State receiver Gabe Marks has been limited this spring with a groin injury and has only participated in a few receiving drills. Yesterday, Marks indicated on Twitter that he had undergone surgery. 

Marks was WSU's most productive receiver last year, leading the team with 74 receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns. His receptions total is the second most in WSU single-season history. Marks achieved those impressive totals despite totaling only six catches in WSU's final three regular season games. 

A quiet day after Easter

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Turns out a lot of people had the same idea on Easter. Who would have thought it? Read on.

Sunday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Happy Easter, everybody. I hope you're enjoying your chocolate goodies. We've got some links for you to peruse while the children tear up your neighborhood in the relentless pursuit of multicolored eggs.

Washington State had its first official football scrimmage of spring. Here's our report from WSU's 11th practice and our story from the scrimmage

The Huskies finished off the year with a Spring Game that wasn't … Ted Miller gives his thoughts on Washington's legal troubles and more in his mailbag (sorry Vince) … USC's Spring Game was a cautious affair … The Bruins are ready to feast, with the NCAA's blessing.

Spokane Shock vs. Cleveland

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered the Cleveland Gladiators' win over the Spokane Shock, 52-50, April 19, 2014, in the Spokane Arena. Check out this big picture gallery of his photos!

Shock lose on last play

Losses don't come much tougher than the one Spokane experienced Saturday night.

The Shock scored with 10 seconds left to take a 50-46 lead, but Cleveland connected on arena football's version of the Hail Mary, a desperation heave into the netting at the back of the end zone on the final play to pull out a 52-50 victory.

Thyron Lewis pulled in the game-winning 29-yard pass after the ball had rebounded off the netting.  

My unedited game story is below.

Spring Practice Report: Day 11

From Pullman — Washington State held the first of its three official “scrimmages” on Saturday, running 115 plays at full speed. Each school is allowed 12 contact practices, eight of which may involve tackling. No more than three of those eight tackling sessions can devote more than 50 percent of the practice time to 11-on-11 scrimmages, including the spring game.

Our practice report is after the jump.

Video: Idaho’s Petrino after scrimmage

Idaho didn't run (quite) as many plays, and the offense didn't have quite as many touchdowns. But coach Paul Petrino was pleased after the Vandals' third scrimmage of the spring in the Kibbie Dome. We have video of Petrino's full comments to the media after the jump. We also have an early version of our story and notes on the Vandals' occasionally dominant defensive line.

UI, by the way, ran 143 plays after going through 190 in the first scrimmage and 173 last week. Idaho also had 11 penalties, at least of which one or two were waived off.

Shock clash with unbeaten Gladiators

Spokane concludes a two-game homestand when Cleveland (4-0) visits the Arena tonight.

Here's my game preview.

The well-traveled Kyle Rowley, now with Portland, and the Thunder came up short against San Jose.

There are some shining lights out there

A GRIP ON SPORTS

As the good ship Mariner slowly sinks in the west, let's take a moment to be thankful for some of the good things out there. Read on.

Saturday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Some good news for the Washington State football team came down last night when Austin Joyner announced his intentions to play for the Cougars. Joyner is listed as a four-star running back but it appears he'll play cornerback at WSU. Yesterday we also posted some notes following an interview with athletic director Bill Moos.

In other Pac-12 news Washington unveiled its new football uniforms and they sure are uniforms … An Arizona basketball recruit's prep career is ending with a bang  … A departing Oregon assistant is going to get a quarter million dollars every year from the public employee pension fund … Gonzaga added a head-to-head series against UCLA.

UPDATE: Somehow I missed John Blanchette's column on the Gonzaga series. Forgive me.

WSU picks up a cornerback recruit

From Pullman — Austin Joyner of Marysville-Pilchuck high school has decided to play football at Washington State, according to his Twitter account. Joyner becomes the second known member of the class of 2015 to verbally declare their intentions to play for Mike Leach and the Cougars.

Rivals.com rates Joyner as a four-star player and ranks him the 27th best running back in the class, but he will player cornerback at WSU, according to Ransford. Last year Joyner said that he would accept a football scholarship from Washington under previous coach Steve Sarkisian.

In addition to WSU, Joyner currently claims football scholarship offers from Arkansas, Colorado, Oregon State and Washington.

WSU AD Bill Moos on Gonzaga series and more

From Pullman — Yesterday we reported that the Washington State men's basketball team will play Gonzaga in Spokane again next season as part of a three-year contract. The news drew a wide range of reactions from people like our own Vince Grippi, to CougCenter's Jeff Nusser to Barry Bolton ($) of Cougfan. Today I caught up with Bill Moos and we chatted about the series with Gonzaga, as well as some other items.

Those notes after the jump.

At least they are still playing

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It is amazing what gets fans worked up some times. Just amazing. Read on.

Friday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — One of the true position battles this spring has taken place at center, where Riley Sorenson and Sam Flor are seeing equal time with the first string. Our story from yesterday's practice takes a look at that particular competition and we've got a recap of the team's 10th practice. We also reported the news yesterday that Washington State will play Gonzaga in Spokane again next season.

A Washington running back has overcome three ACL tears to get back on the football field … Here is a Q&A with Utah's defensive coordinator … Jordan Adams will put off the NBA draft another year … USC could start a true freshman on the offensive line.

Spring Practice Report: Day 10

From Pullman — Today, much like Led Zeppelin, I was a Fool in the Rain. And boy did it ever rain. The Cougars had their most inclement practice of the spring on Thursday. Find out which of my notes survived the tempest after the jump.

WSU to play Gonzaga in Spokane next season

From Pullman — Football practice meant that I couldn't get this blog post up until now, but earlier I tweeted the news that Washington State will play Gonzaga in Spokane for the second straight year next season as part of a three-year contract. The terms of the contract say that Gonzaga will host WSU the first year (this past season), the teams will play a “neutral site” game at Spokane Arena in the second year (next season) with a game in Pullman during the third and final year.

It's likely that the schools will split the revenue from next year's game but I haven't been able to confirm that. I should have more tomorrow.

Sabonis signs with Gonzaga

Domantas Sabonis, the 17-year-old son of former Portland Trail Blazer center Arvydas Sabonis, has signed with Gonzaga. Article here.

It's a big get for the Zags, who bolstered their frontcourt and added a highly skilled forward to go with Przemek Karnowski, Kyle Wiltjer and Angel Nunez. As GU's release indicates, Ryan Edwards has told coaches he plans on redshirting next season.

The word that came to mind watching Sabonis on this highlight tape is smooth. He has polished moves and scores in a variety of ways. He's probably similar to Wiltjer in many ways, minus the 3-point accuracy at this point. Sabonis moves well and should only get bigger and stronger as he ages. He speaks fluent English (Spanish, too).

Numerous tweeters have asked if he'll play right away. My guess is he'll see a lot of playing time.

One loss that seems like more

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It's only one game. OK, maybe it is more than that. Read on.

Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — There weren't any signing day surprises for Washington State basketball fans on Wednesday, but new coach Ernie Kent still has more than a month left to fill out his four remaining roster spots. It was a somewhat slow day for WSU news but we held another live chat and put up our Five Questions blog post with defensive lineman Xavier Cooper. CougCenter has a good look at WSU scholarship situation. We're getting closer to the NFL Draft and Deone Bucannon is visiting teams

Sports Illustrated's Zac Ellis gives his take on Cal's coaching hire … A pair of Bruins make their decision to go pro official … As did Arizona State's Jahii Carson … Washington receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow received his sentence yesterday.

Bonus Link: This story on Yasiel Puig's defection from Cuba is great.

Live WSU Chat

 

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One change causes more in Pullman

A GRIP ON SPORTS

When Bill Moos decided to make a change at the top of the Washington State basketball program, we all knew the ripples would be felt throughout the program. We are just finding out, however, how far. Read on.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Today got a lot more interesting with the news yesterday that a pair of players will transfer from the Washington State men's basketball program. Their open scholarships, along with that of signee Jermaine Morgan who will be released from his National Letter of Intent, mean that WSU could sign as many as four players in the late signing period, which runs from today until May 21.

The football team practiced yesterday and we have a practice report and a story on Sebastian LaRue's transition to cornerback. We also put up a Q&A with strength coach Jason Loscalzo this weekend. The baseball team beat Gonzaga in Spokane and Chris Derrick was on hand to write the recap … Cal has found its new men's basketball coach … The NCAA has agreed to let athletes have unlimited meals … The Ducks have been moving at an unusually slow pace.

Join us at 11 a.m. for a live WSU chat.

Spring Practice Report: Day 9

From Pullman — After a pair of full-pads practices replete with slobber-knockers, jaw-wobblers and even a couple head-rattlers, the Cougars took it easier on Tuesday, scaling back the armament to shoulder pads, helmets and shorts and reducing the hitting to a “thud” tempo. This involves the defender hitting a ball-carrier hard enough to create a “thud” but not taking them to the ground.

More on Tuesday's practice after the jump.

Roster turnover at WSU

From Pullman — Royce Woolridge and James Hunter will transfer from the Washington State University basketball program, the school announced on Tuesday. Additionally, signee Jermaine Morgan has been released from his National Letter of Intent and will not enroll at WSU.

A tradition like none other

A GRIP ON SPORTS

You know what day it is? Yep, it's Tax Day. Time to pay the piper. Read on.

Idaho offers Tobeck’s son; Petrino chats about QBs, more

Paul Petrino wore a wide smile after practice on Monday evening. Maybe that was because the Vandals had another solid spring session, or maybe it was because of who was in attendance. Standing on the sideline were former Seahawks offensive lineman Robbie Tobeck and Tobeck's son, Mason. Earlier in the day, Idaho offered a scholarship to Mason, a junior tight end and linebacker at Cascade Christian in Puyallup, Wash. He's also been offered by Colorado State. Robbie played at Washington State and spent 13 years in the NFL.

After Petrino shook hands with both Tobecks following practice, we ran through a quick one-on-one interview with the second-year coach. Petrino said he doesn't foresee naming a starting quarterback before the start of fall camp, and he also gave us his philosophy on long scrimmages.

Graham Harrell to join WSU football staff

Sources have confirmed that former Mike Leach quarterback Graham Harrell will be joining his old coach as a member of the football staff at Washington State. The team already has nine assistant coaches, the maximum allowed by the NCAA, so Harrell will likely serve in an operations capacity, possibly as an “offensive quality control” staffer or in some other capacity.

Harrell's addition to the staff likely won't become official for at least a couple days. When that happens we will have a better understanding what his role in the program will be.

Harrell played under Leach at Texas Tech from 2004-08 and won a Super Bowl as a backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. He spent the 2013 NFL preseason playing for the New York Jets but was released when the team signed Brady Quinn.

 

Q&A with strength coach Jason Loscalzo

In yesterday's paper we had a story on Vince Mayle, who has dropped 20 pounds since arriving at Washington State and the lithe receiver has been showing off his increased speed all spring. For the story I spoke at length with strength and conditioning coach Jason Loscalzo, not just about Mayle but also River Cracraft, new recruits and more.

We've transcribed the highlights of that interview, after the jump.

Every moment holds a lesson

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There is something to be said for learning lessons. Even if those lessons come with a really high price. Read on.

Live WSU chat


Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

Give trades a little time to mature

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Want to be right about a baseball trade? Avoid the impulse to make a quick judgment. Read on.

Sunday morning Pac-12 links

Sebastian LaRue's athleticism has been apparent throughout the spring as the Texas A&M transfer made an immediate mark as a returner candidate on special teams while showing off his quickness and agility as a receiver on the scout team. With a crowded receiver corps and a wide open secondary the Cougars coaches  are willing to see if that playmaking ability might best be used on the defensive side of the ball. Our practice report touches on LaRue's switch to a white uniform and we have a story on Vince Mayle, who has risen to the top of that deep receiving unit.

On Friday WSU defeated No. 5 Oregon State and the Pac-12's best pitcher but Saturday saw the Beavers get some revenge.

A trio of Pac-12 squads held their spring games on Saturday. Arizona's offense was its usual flashy self, Colorado's young receivers shined and Stanford's defense appears to be overcoming its offseason losses. Cal's coaching search continues, without Chris Mack and Eric Musselman.

Shock pull away for 55-27 win

Spokane won a sloppy, penalty-filled AFL game on Saturday night, pulling away with a big second half for a 55-27 victory over the Portland Thunder.

My unedited game story is below.

Shock vs. Portland

S-R photojournalist Dan Pelle covered the Shock's victory at the home game against Portland, 55-27.  Check out this big picture gallery of game photos.

Spring Practice Report: Day 8

From Pullman — There was no “scrimmage” but Washington State's football practice on Saturday had live tackling, fights, guests, a potential position switch and a lot of moms.

Our practice report is after the jump.

Golf supplies its own drama

A GRIP ON SPORTS

No writer's block today. The subject of today's column is obvious. Read on.

Epps, Olugbode star in Idaho’s second spring scrimmage

Dezmon Epps and Deon Watson had huge receiving days. Kris Olugbode churned out yards on the ground. And Irving Steele made his presence felt at linebacker.

Epps, Watson and Olugbode were three of several offensive standouts for the Idaho football team on Friday, which held its second scrimmage of spring practice at the Kibbie Dome.

After converted receiver Josh McCain put up big numbers in the first scimmage last week, Epps had the spotlight on Friday with 17 catches for 218 yards and four touchdowns. Watson, a redshirt sophomore from Coeur d'Alene, had nine catches for 170 yards and two TDs, while McCain went for seven catches for 73 yards.

Olugbode rushed for 200 of Idaho's 321 yards. And once again, redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Linehan attempted significantly more passes than Chad Chalich. Linehan was 33 of 52 for 401 yards, but Chalich (18 of 32 for 304) squeezed more yards out of his attempts.

Steele, a JC newcomer, had 18 tackles, matching cornerback Jayshawn Jordan's total. Zach Cable had four tackles for loss.

More below.

Five Questions with Cole Madison and Kristoff Williams

Two more Cougars joined us this week for our Five Questions segment. This time it's wide receiver Kristoff Williams and offensive lineman Cole Madison.

Those videos are after the jump.

WSU Live Chat

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

Melting the ice with hot coffee

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Every once in a while I sit at my computer in the early morning hours and freeze. No, I'm not cold. I guess a better way to put it is I freeze up. I have no idea what I'm going to write about. No idea what would interest you. No idea how to entertain everyone. Usually, to break up the ice on my hands, I push away from the computer, get up, walk to the kitchen and make coffee. As it percolates in the Cuisinart, I count myself lucky if a thought comes into my head. Let's hope it works today. Read on.

Friday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — The Cougars donned all of their pads yesterday and the result was a physical practice, complete with live tackling. Here is our story and practice report. Yesterday we also posted a video tour of the new Football Operations Building, guided by linebacker Darryl Monroe. Don't forget to change your calendars to reflect the new Nevada game date … WSU's Jason Monda has been drafted twice and decided that he won't go for a third.

Washington dismissed a defensive back, likely because of an altercation with a teammate … Oregon's best receiver is now a spring casualty … Oregon State's new offensive coordinator is becoming more comfortable in Corvallis.

Don't forget to join us at 11 a.m. for a live chat.

Spring Practice Report: Day 7

From Pullman — Washington State finally put on full pads on Thursday. The coaches put on headsets and officials were in uniform. The reason for the extra accoutrements? The Cougars had their first live-tackling session of spring. More on that after the jump.

Colorado signs ex-Chiefs goalie Williams

Goalie Eric Williams, who just completed his career with the Spokane Chiefs, has signed with the Colorado Eagles of the East Coast Hockey League. Read story

A tour of the FOB with Darryl Monroe

From Pullman — The Football Operations Building won't open for about five more weeks but linebacker Darryl Monroe starred in a video that shows how much has been done, and how much remains to be done before it's christening on May 19.

 

 

WSU game at Nevada schedule change

From Pullman—There has been a schedule change for the Washington State football team, with its game at Nevada being moved up to 7:30 p.m. on Friday. More on that after the jump.

Kent spends the day making WSU fans smile

A GRIP ON SPORTS

New Washington State basketball coach Ernie Kent was in town yesterday and made the media rounds. You couldn't turn on your television set or radio in Spokane and not see his smiling face or hear his booming voice. When the day was done, the Cougar faithful had to be smiling as well. Read on.

Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — If you can make it out to Martin Stadium today you'll have a chance to watch Washington State's first football scrimmage of the spring. More on that here. The team got a new addition yesterday when former Boise State running back Aaron Baltazar announced he was transferring to WSU.

Washington's freshman point guard is seriously considering whether or not to turn pro … Arizona State is trying to put a positive spin on a new fee for students … UCLA's record number of basketball championships could be in jeopardy.

Also, Todd, the winner of our tournament challenge, has made his email on Yahoo! private. Please contact me Todd so we can get you your prize or we'll have to move to the next highest scorer.

WSU to scrimmage on Thursday

From Pullman — Thursday marks the seventh of Washington State's 15 spring football practices and it will also see the Cougars' first live scrimmage. The scrimmage will consist of approximately 40 plays and will be held in Martin Stadium at the end of WSU's practice. All practices are open to the public. Practice begins at 3 p.m. at Rogers Field.

Boise running back transfers to WSU

From Pullman — Former Boise State running back Aaron Baltazar will transfer to Washington State, WSU announced on Wednesday. Baltazar must sit out the 2014 season per NCAA transfer rules, then will have three years of eligibility remaining.

More on WSU's new running back after the jump.

Chiefs coach Nachbaur will help at combine cup

Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur will assist at the Western Hockey League's U.S. Combine Cup, Friday through Sunday at Anaheim, Calif. Read story

Thompkins take turn on defense

One of the charms of the AFL for years was Ironman players, guys who lined up on both sides of the ball. Those days are largely gone, but injuries and roster limitations sometimes force players to leave their comfort zone.

Standout receiver Brandon Thompkins switched to defensive back last week with Paul Stephens out due to a leg injury. Thompkins did just fine as a DB, as we detail in this week's Shock notebook.

Last night’s Mariner win was so typical

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Last night's home opener against the Angels was just so Mariners. A sell-out crowd on hand to celebrate the beginning of the Robinson Cano era. A quick deficit. Two home runs from the “other” free agent, Corey Hart. And a win. Nope, that wasn't what was so like the Mariners. No, that came midway through the game when young lefthander James Paxton, who seemed on top of his game, pulled himself out, pointing to his back as he left. Yep, he's hurt. A strained lat muscle it is said. Oh oh. Read on.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — I have some work-related errands to run up in Spokane today so unfortunately we won't be able to have our typical off-day chat. I know it's hard. But just thing how much we'll have to talk about on Friday.

If you're in Spokane today you can meet WSU's new men's basketball coach, Ernie Kent … Washington State's young secondary had some growing pains yesterday … Here's our story on WSU's running backs and returning leader Marcus Mason … June Daugherty's contract was extended after the WSU women made the NIT … Yale Rosen was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week in baseball after batting 7 for 10 in the Cougars sweep of California.

ESPN's Kevin Gemmell unloads in his Pac-12 mailbag … Could Washington's most important new coach be the guy in the weight room? … Marcus Mariota seems to thinks he's well-compensated for his exploits on the football field … Four positions wasn't enough for one Wildcat.

Spring Practice Report: Day 6

From Pullman — Washington State's youth in the secondary has been apparent throughout spring. But on Tuesday the offense worked on deep throws and the inexperience of WSU's defensive backs was particularly apparent.

“We went downfield the whole time,” coach Mike Leach said after practice. “I can’t say it was their best day, I don’t think they necessarily regressed. They keep improving but we put a lot of pressure on them today and I thought the offense was pretty sharp.”

But hey, the wide receivers had a good day.

Our practice report is after the jump.

Chiefs Helewka, Bobyk make final rankings

Left wing Adam Helewka and defenseman Colton Bobyk were the Spokane Chiefs' representatives on the NHL Central Scouting's final rankings of North American skaters for 2014. Kootenay's Sam Reinhart, at No. 3, was the top player from the Western Hockey League. Read story

Get to know Ernie Kent

If you're in Spokane tomorrow, April 9, and would like to get to know WSU's new men's basketball coach drop by the Davenport Hotel in Downtown Spokane from 7-8:30 p.m. for a free reception. It sounds like there will be some food provided, but make sure to RSVP here.

Zags have strong crew returning

The college basketball season ended last night with UConn winning the national title over Kentucky. Gonzaga's season ended March 23rd with an 84-61 loss to Arizona.

I took a look back and look ahead for the Zags, who will be under the expectation spotlight again next season with a strong group of returning players joined by Kyle Wiltjer, who sat out last season under NCAA transfer rules. Here's my article that ran in today's S-R.

GU is No. 15 in one of those way-too-early rankings for next season.

 

Something just didn’t add up last night

A GRIP ON SPORTS

After watching Connecticut win another national title last night, it hit me. The Huskies' win should give seventh seeds every year the realization even they can win the NCAA tournament. Seventh seeds with NBA first-round draft picks in the backcourt and athletic, defensive-oriented big men up front. Wait, not too many seventh seeds can boast that, can they? Read on.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — We have a new champions in college basketball, and it's Todd, winner of our tournament bracket challenge. Todd finished with 79 points and 40 correct picks. Congratulations, Todd, I'll reach out to you on Yahoo about your prize information but if for some reason I can't get ahold of you, shoot me an email at jacobt@spokesman.com.

The rest of you will have to settle for some links as a consolation prize.

- This weekend we had a spring WSU Football chat and continued our 5 Questions segment with cornerback Marcellus Pippins.

- The WSU baseball team moved to 6-3 in Pac-12 play with a series sweep of California.

- Andrew Crookston takes a look at what unionization could mean for WSU.

- Arizona is still waiting for a quarterback to take control.

- Oregon senior point guard Johnathan Loyd has joined the football team.

- Although other positions are in flux, Washington should be set along the defensive line.

Idaho hires Ambrose as secondary coach

Ashley Ambrose, a 13-year NFL veteran with experience coaching at high-level college programs, has joined Paul Petrino's staff as secondary coach. Ambrose spent three years at Colorado (2008-2010) and two seasons at Cal (2011-2012), where he coached defensive backs. He played with the Colts, Bengals, Saints and Falcons and was named the AFC Defensive Back of the Year in 1996.

“We’re real excited to have Coach Ambrose on the staff,” Petrino said in a statement. “He was a great player in the NFL and played under some of the greater coaches ever. He brings great knowledge of the game.”

Ambrose has a big task in front of him — Idaho ranked second-worst in the FBS last year in passing yards allowed (315.8 per game) and its best cover corner, Solomon Dixon, left the program after the season.

Ambrose has worked at UI as a consultant to the coaching staff during the first week-plus of spring ball. He replaces Mike Mickens, who spent one year at Idaho before leaving for Bowling Green.

Ducks trying to poach Gonzaga’s Graves

A GRIP ON SPORTS

There was a time not too long ago when each college basketball offseason was met with speculation about Mark Few and just about every big-time job opening. Would the Gonzaga coach go or would he stay? Now that Few has turned down every overture, staying put year after year, the talk has died down. Sure, when the Cal job opened after Mike Montgomery's retirement, Few was mentioned in the media. But no one took it seriously. We seem to be beyond that. However, there is another successful basketball coach at Gonzaga and his name is starting to pop up every time a job opens. It happened again yesterday. And it isn't just a mention. Kelly Graves is being courted by Oregon and the Ducks don't like to take no for an answer. Read on.

Spring WSU football chat

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

It’s a full-plate Sunday

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Some days there is just too much going on to focus on one event or person. Today is one of those days. Read on.

Sunday morning Pac-12 links

The Cougars didn't scrimmage on Saturday, but still had a spirited practice to close out the first third of spring. Here's our practice report and a story on Washington State's young defense. In case you missed it we had a noter 5 Questions video, this time with special teams coordinator Eric Russell. There was some blue news for the Cougars yesterday when Spokane prep quarterback Brett Rypien, nephew of Mark, decided to take his prodigious talents to Boise State. But the baseball team just keeps on winning.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott talked about the unionization movement in college football … Here's a look at what Oregon is up to this spring … Why, even the Huskies are practicing … Cal had a big day from a little guy … USC is waltzing through spring.

Spring Practice Report: Day 5

From Pullman — A third of the way through spring practices, on Saturday it was finally the Washington State defense's turn to watch the offense do up downs at the end of practice. After allowing themselves to be outperformed early in the spring, the Cougars defenders outmuscled their offensive counterparts and took care of business in the passing game to win the fifth day of spring practice at WSU.

Petrino on Idaho’s first scrimmage

The Idaho football team spent three hours inside the Kibbie Dome on Saturday morning and early afternoon. Most of that time was dedicated to the first scrimmage of spring, which spanned roughly 190 plays. We've posted the full comments from coach Paul Petrino after the scrimmage.

Read on.

Photo of quarterbacks Chad Chalich and Matt Linehan (10) courtesy of the University of Idaho.

Carroll has vindication – and a new deal

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It wasn't that long ago Pete Carroll was known as a guy who was a great college football coach. A great college football coach. The NFL? He had failed at that. But today Carroll can look in the mirror and know the guy looking back at him is also a successful NFL coach. Read on.

Shock defeat San Jose 73-62

Spokane rebounded from a rough road loss to Arizona nearly two weeks ago by thumping San Jose 73-62 on Friday at the SAP Center in San Jose.

Erik Meyer had four touchdown passes and added four more rushing. Mike Washington had 171 yards receiving and three TDs. Spokane's defense forced four turnovers and Terrance Sanders added a crucial kick return for a touchdown late in the first half.

Spokane (2-1) entertains Portland next Saturday.

Petrino pleased on eve of scrimmage

Late in Idaho's fourth practice of the spring on Friday evening, running back Jerrel Brown turned to teammate Kris Olugbode and yelled, “I could do this all day!” Tomorrow, he might actually get a chance to.

The Vandals will hold their first scrimmage of spring at the Kibbie Dome at 10 a.m., and if it's like most of UI's scrimmages last season, it could be a marathon. Coach Paul Petrino likes to run through 100 or more plays in rapid succession to get his team acclimated to a fast game tempo. He even told Idaho defenders during Friday's practice to ease up on trying to tackle offensive players who were off-limits, because “we're going to hit for three hours tomorrow.”

On the eve of scrimmage No. 1, I talked to Petrino, offensive coordinator Kris Cinkovich, quarterback-turned-receiver Joshua McCain and linebacker Marc Millan. Their thoughts — and few of my observations — are below.

5 Questions with Eric Russell

Eric Russell is Washington State's special teams coordinator and assistant head coach. After Thursday's practice he answered 5 questions about life as a WSU coach.

 

Game day for Shock

It's been a while.

Spokane lost its last AFL game, 68-49, to Arizona on March 23. After a bye week, the Shock return to action tonight against San Jose at the SAP Center in San Jose. The SaberCats are 2-1, Spokane is 1-1.

Here's my game preview. Here's the view from San Jose, where the QB situation is unsettled.

There’s something for everyone this week

A GRIP ON SPORTS

How strange is this time of year? It is raining this morning, a light gentle rain that waters the grass and coaxes the dandelions out of their winter sleep. We will probably get sun later, with a chance of a light burn on the back of your neck if you're not careful. Picking up the paper, there were stories about football, basketball and baseball, all of them relevant and interesting. Yep, it's a strange time of year. Read on.

 

Spring Practice Report: Day 4

Practice four is in the books for WSU and we saw some good work out of the offense. The defense had some moments as well, but not enough to avoid up downs.

“I thought they battled back,” coach Mike Leach said after practice. “I thought defense, that’s the biggest thing is everybody’s out here trading blows and the result is everybody gets better, quicker.”

Our practice report is after the jump.

… 

Thursday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Lot of news following a lengthy introductory press conference for new Washington State men's basketball coach Ernie Kent.

  • Here's our story on WSU's buzzy hire.
  • We've got some reaction from WSU signee Tramaine Isabell.
  • Here's some video, notes and quotes from the press conference.
  • Here's Bud Withers' on the column from the presser.
  • And here is one from SportsPressNW's Howie Stalwick.
  • And in football news here are five questions with Sebastian LaRue.

Chiefs’ Nachbaur considers next season

The end of one Western Hockey League season leads to thoughts about the next, as Spokane Chiefs coach Don Nachbaur knows well. Read story

Tramaine Isabell waiting on uncertain future

From Pullman — While the excitement of a new basketball coach had Washington State students in a tizzy this afternoon, it's been a bitter few weeks for WSU signee Tramaine Isabell. The point guard out of Garfield high school in Seattle committed to coach Ken Bone originally and signed a National Letter of Intent in the fall.

More after the jump.

 

Video: Ernie Kent introductory press conference

Ernie Kent was introduced to the media today. We've got a lengthy story for tomorrow's paper but here are some addition details:

  • Kent's contract will be for five years at $1.4 million per year. It begins with a $2 million buyout, which “dwindles” in each subsequent year. At the end of each year athletic director Bill Moos will have the option of adding an additional year.
  • Moos added that he doesn't always add the year, saying, “To tell you the truth, with Ernie at Oreogn we had a couple of off years and I didn’t roll it. And I’ll never forget that he said ‘I’ll earn that back’ and that was 07 when they won the Pac-12 tournament and went to the Elite Eight and lost to Florida, so he got that year back.”
  • Kent runs a continuity motion offense. In that offense the guard positions are interchangeable as are the post positions, hopefully mitigating WSU's lack of a point guard on the roster.
  • Here's Royce Woolridge on the hire: “Extremely excited, once we finally heard who our new coach was we were ecstatic because we were waiting for about a week and a half. There was a lot of anxiety but now that we know it’s coach Kent I’m extremely excited, the whole team is excited.”

 

Follow the jump for videos from Kent's introductory press conference, courtesy of the Pac-12 and WSU athletics.

New WSU basketball coach Ernie Kent

S-R photojournalist Tyler Tjomsland was in Pullman for the press conference to introduce new head basketball coach Ernie Kent.  Check out this big picture gallery of event photos.

5 Questions with Sebastian LaRue

From Pullman — Wide receiver Sebastian LaRue is pretty new to Pullman, having spent his freshman season catching passes in practice from Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M. He transferred to WSU this offseason to be closer to a family member who is going through some health issues. We asked him five questions about his time at WSU so far after Tuesday's practice.

 

Live WSU sports chat

 

Try Relay: the free SMS and picture text app for iPhone.

 

Shock trying to get back on track

Spokane Shock coach Andy Olson's pre-season checklist was for his team to be more disciplined, cut down penalties and trim turnovers. Those items went without checkmarks in a 68-49 loss to Arizona on March 23.

Those items are back on the agenda as the Shock, after a bye last week, prepare for San Jose, a key Pacific Division contest. Here's our weekly Shock notebook.

The two teams are expected to battle for the division title.

 

The Masters won’t be the same without Tiger

A GRIP ON SPORTS

One of the rites of Spring, with a capital “S,” is watching the Masters on television. It's coming up in about 10 days, but it won't be the same. Not with Tiger Woods sidelined. Read on.

Wednesday morning Pac-12 links

From Pullman — Just like that the Cougars are 20 percent of the way through spring football practice. They're also just a few hours away from officially introducing Ernie Kent as the new men's basketball coach. Keep an eye out for our coverage from that. Today we'll be having another live chat at noon to talk about both football and basketball. Brush up with yesterday's practice report and our story on WSU's visitor. We've also got our weekly college baseball notebook featuring coach Donnie Marbut's return.

Washington coach Chris Petersen isn't happy with his team yet … The Stanford women are headed to the Final Four … Cal's basketball coaching search is beginning just as WSU's ends.

Holmberg, Aviani sign with AHL teams

Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani, both of whom just finished stellar careers with the Spokane Chiefs, signed amateur tryout contracts with American Hockey League teams, the Chiefs announced Tuesday. Both players were never drafted by National Hockey League teams. Holmberg signed with Oklahoma City and Aviani with Utica. Read story Read story

Spring Practice Report: Day 3

From Pullman — The pads went on Tuesday’s and the Washington State football team had easily its most spirited practice of the spring. There was constant hollering from the sidelines, a few light scuffles broke out and the coaches didn’t seem to mind a bit.

Our practice report is after the jump.

A reunion in Pullman

A GRIP ON SPORTS

It would be so easy today to make an April Fools' Day reference in regards to a lot of items. But we will restrain ourselves. After all, there was a lot of news yesterday. Read on.

Tuesday morning Pac-12 inks

From Pullman — Lots of links following yesterday's big news that Ernie Kent was hired as the WSU men's basketball coach. Follow the jump and we'll direct you to the news in bullet form.

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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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