A sampling from the past week of entries in The Spokesman-Review blog SportsLink at spokesman .com/sportslink.
The WCC held its annual tip-off event in Los Angeles on Thursday and to the surprise of no one Gonzaga was picked to win the conference title in the preseason poll. Perhaps the only surprise was the margin – Gonzaga received eight of 10 first-place votes, BYU and Saint Mary’s one apiece. I thought BYU, with a strong backcourt, would have pulled down at least another first-place vote or two.
Idaho’s paychecks for these money games have gotten progressively bigger. In 2007, Arizona paid $600,000. In 2010, Nebraska dished out $800,000. Last year, LSU wrote Idaho a check for $925,000. And later this season, Florida State will pay $950,000 to the Vandals. The guaranteed payout from Ole Miss is $850,000.
Asked about playing money games this week, UI coach Paul Petrino said, “That’s what helps pay for all the other programs. You need a couple of ‘em a year to help pay your budget. So if we’re just going to be flat-out honest, that’s the most important thing.”
Next year Idaho will play at Florida for $975,000. In 2015, the Vandals will play at Auburn and at USC. The guarantee for the USC game is $1.1 million, slightly above what Auburn is paying.
Washington State still held its weekly Thursday Night Football practice at the regular time.
Linebacker Nathan Hundeby (University) was the night’s most impressive player. The freshman from Spokane Valley had seven tackles to go with an interception of Tyler Bruggman and a sack of Connor Ennis. It was a rough day for Bruggman, who finished the day 7 of 14 with two interceptions.
• We had a chance to speak today with Washington State men’s basketball coach Ken Bone, who provided an update on the status of Jordan Railey and Danny Lawhorn, who were each suspended indefinitely by Bone for violating team rules. Lawhorn has since left the team but Railey has returned and is practicing with the Cougars.
Bone said that Railey has done “everything we’ve asked of him,” although he wouldn’t yet say whether or not the center will be available to play in WSU’s season-opening exhibition game against Central Washington University on Nov. 1. Railey – who transferred to WSU from Iowa State – is known for his shot-blocking ability on defense, and provides crucial front-court depth for the Cougars.
Bone said that Lawhorn is back with his family in Connecticut. The WSU coach is fielding calls and emails from other coaches inquiring about the point guard, and Bone hopes to help him find another school to play for.