A GRIP ON SPORTS
Whenever a player transfers from one college to another, the fans of where he or she lands always get excited. Sometimes that excitement is well-founded. Other times is isn't. Read on.
• When Gerard Coleman decided to leave Providence College, where he had been a strong contributor for two seasons, and move west to Gonzaga, Zag Nation rejoiced. Here was an athletic wing who had no trouble getting to the basket. A guy who would add speed to the Bulldog attack. A long, quick defender. Talk about a perfect fit. Except it wasn't. Yes, Coleman was athletic. But getting to the basket is tough when your opponent doesn't have to guard you beyond five feet. And that seemed to be the limit of Coleman's shooting range. Plus, that extra defender in the paint meant less room for Zag bigs to operate. That wasn't good for a team that had a strong inside attack. And the defense part? Athleticism and length can only take you so far. Want-to is important too. As is understanding the team principles. The bottom line was Coleman wasn't a good fit in GU's system. And he won't be back. Jim Meehan broke the story yesterday but the rumor has been swirling through local basketball circles since the season ended. As is one more. With Coleman's departure, there is a spot available at Gonzaga. A spot for an athletic wing. And guess who visited last weekend? Former USC player Byron Wesley (pictured). Is it time to get excited again? Yes it is, though you probably should wait just a bit. See, Wesley, a 6-foot-5 wing, is a little less athletic than Coleman, but bigger, stronger, a better shooter, a better rebounder and, having played a couple years for Kevin O'Neil, a better defender (if he wasn't, he wouldn't have survived). He's expected to earn his USC degree this month (if he hasn't already) and be eligible next season. Wesley averaged 17.8 points and 6.4 rebounders for a mediocre USC team – OK, a bad USC team – and wants to finish his college career at a winner. He's talked with Michigan State, visited Pittsburgh and Oklahoma as well as Gonzaga and should make his decision soon. If he decides to spend his last season in Spokane, he immediately makes the Bulldogs better. So what's the catch? Wesley was suspended two games near the end of last season under first-year coach Andy Enfield for the catch-all, "violation of team rules," and no one has really elaborated on that. It could be just about anything. So he has a little baggage. But it's just carry-on, not a steamer trunk. If he does decide to transfer to GU, Zag Nation should get excited. There is a reason to.
• WSU: The Cougars have a new basketball player coming in next year, guard Jackie Davis, who signed his letter of intent yesterday. Jacob Thorpe has all the information in this blog post. ... Ben Howland (pictured) is no longer interested in the Oregon State job. We have no way of knowing if he's really no longer interested or if he's no longer interested because he's been told OSU is hiring someone else. That happens more than you might think. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog breaks down the conference's passing games from last season. ... A couple of looks at the NFL draft, this year's version and next year's, with an emphasis on the Pac-12.
• Chiefs: I'm pretty sure Chiefs fans are happy about this. Portland lost game seven of the WHL championship series, 4-2, at home vs. Edmonton.
• Preps: A lot of prep action on a Monday, which tells you it is playoff season. ... Tom Clouse was out at Avista where Lewis and Clark earned a 4A baseball regional berth. ... Jim Meehan was at Wandermere for the first round of the 4A golf state qualifying. ... Jim Allen has all the soccer playoff news in this advance. ... We also have a roundup of other action around the area.
• Seahawks: Dave Boling has a great summation of the Seahawks draft and what it means in today's News Tribune. ... General manager John Schneider talked about the draft on Seattle radio yesterday. ... The Hawks signed a few more players and gave guys numbers to wear in mini-camp. ... Seattle is still favored to win next year's Super Bowl. ... The Hawks now have a bunch of receivers.
• Mariners: I listened to the first part of the M's 12-5 win over Tampa Bay yesterday, pleased to hear the offense batter the Rays' starter. And it was fun to listen to Rick Rizzs gush over Felix Hernandez again. But I regret having turned it off before Felix was tossed, just because I would have loved to hear that description. ... If you are wondering why the M's have had two Triple-A umpires behind the plate the last two games, there are a couple reasons. Major league umpires get time off during the season and minor league guys have always filled that gap. Plus, replay is manned by a rotating group in New York City. Two full umpiring crews – eight guys – are doing that job every day. That has put more pressure on the umpires this season. ... The key to any success the M's have had this year? Timely hitting. ... The M's have been hit by the flu. ... Why is James Jones (pictured) doing so well? Could it be his socks?
• Sounders: As was expected, three Sounders, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin were all called to the U.S. National Team's World Cup training camp. Dempsey says he's now focused on that, but he'll be rooting for the Sounders. Great. That will help. ... Though everyone says the Sounders have the depth to overcome such losses, who knows? ... There was a new television agreement reached between the MLS and multiple partners, including ESPN.
• And that's our report for this Tuesday. Want to know the sweetest words to hear in mid-May? "Highs in the 80s by the end of the week." Sounds just about perfect. Until later ...