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Wiltjer to return to GU

Junior forward Kyle Wiltjer has decided to return for his senior year at Gonzaga, The Spokesman-Review has learned.

Wiltjer had been considering declaring himself for the NBA draft or returning to Gonzaga. His return, coupled with Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis, brings back three keys pieces of one of the nation’s best front court.  Jim Meehan, SR


Zags expect tough test

SAN DIEGO – Gonzaga junior forward Kyle Wiltjer figures Saturday’s hard-fought road win over BYU came along at just the right time.

“We had a little adversity, we were down a little bit and it just shows how tough we are and that we were able to play in a close game,” said Wiltjer, who scored 24 points in the 87-80 win. “I think it was the kind of game we needed just to figure out our identity, what plays we are going to go to and just staying positive when things weren’t going well.”

Only two of the Zags’ 12 wins have been by less than double figures but chances are they’ll face a stern test against San Diego, which seems to play Gonzaga tough, particularly at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. More here.


Why whites dominated college hoops

A) The reality of race relations in America 50 years ago. B) Texas Western had yet to whip Kentucky. C) Some white players put Flubber on their sneakers.


State board approves new contracts for head basketball coaches at BSU, UI

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The men's basketball coaches at Boise State and the University of Idaho have new contracts. The Idaho Board of Education on Thursday approved contracts for BSU coach Leon Rice and UI coach Don Verlin. Rice's five-year deal pays him a base salary of $482,110 next season, with 3 percent raises each year. It also includes bonuses for the team's success both on the court and in the classroom, including a $15,000 bonus if the Broncos win the Mountain West Conference tournament championship. Verlin's three-year deal has his base pay starting at $156,832 and increasing to $169,629 by the final year. He will receive $60,000 in media payments each season and is eligible for bonuses based on his team's success.

Idaho falls apart in second half

If Idaho's season wasn't slipping away before tonight, it certainly is now. The Vandals were poleaxed by Texas-San Antonio in the final 20 minutes of a 74-56 loss. It was another unsightly loss for UI — its fifth in six games — and suddenly the Vandals are in danger of falling into seventh place in the WAC and the play-in round of the conference tournament in two weeks.

We've got all the details below, including coach Don Verlin questioning his team's heart and effort.

Idaho legend Anderson dies at 82

Wayne Anderson, a former player, coach, and assistant athletic director at Idaho and charter member of the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame, died Wednesday at the age of 82. We have more below on the Spokane native's passing.

Inslee: I’ll be there for Hoopfest

Inslee goes up for a rebound in an Inaugural Day game at the governor's mansion.

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee is a self-proclaimed hoopaholic who likes basketball so much his staff organized a pick-up game to provide a break in Inauguration Day.

He likes it so much he wants to turn that game into an annual event. 

He likes it so much the staff is looking for a place to set up a full court (and reportedly eyeing the parking lot between the Capitol press buildings.)

He likes it so much he said Wednesday he'll bring a team to Spokane for Hoopfest again this year, with plans to double the number of wins from his 2012 team… which would mean they'd win two games.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli of Spokane, who played on Inslee's Hoopfest team last summer, said that technically they did win two games in 2012. But only because one of the teams they were supposed to play didn't show up, so they won by forfeit.

Inslee said the Inaugural Day basketball game was, in part, an effort to encourage people to exercise more and make Washington the healthiest state in the nation.

A packed Thursday morning


FROM PULLMAN — With football practice, a live chat, early signing day and a basketball game last night, there were a few things to write about. And now there are a few things to read about. So go ahead and read on.

A big day from San Francisco


FROM SAN FRANCISCO — We have plenty of football links for you, as usual. But today, we shift  our attention to basketball with media day being held at the Pac-12 Studios in downtown San Francisco. We'll be there, and you can join us. Read on.

Live chat, links on a Wednesday


FROM PULLMAN — It's Wednesday, which means we're holding another live chat at 1 p.m. on this here blog. Join us then, and join us now for your daily dose of links.

Ex-NIC Cager Playing In Olympics

Former North Idaho College basketball player Tugce Canitez (shown above) is competing for her homeland, Turkey, in the 2012 London Olympics. Canitez played on the NIC women’s basketball team that won the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship. This is the first time the Turkish women have ever fielded an Olympic basketball team, but are currently 2-0 after upsetting the Czech Republic on Day 3 of the London Olympics. The Turkish team plays USA’s team at 2:15 p.m. (22:15 London time) Wednesday. (NIC Press Room photo)

Louisville-UK rivalry sparks fight at clinic

By BRUCE SCHREINER,Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authorities say the Kentucky-Louisville basketball rivalry boiled over at a Kentucky dialysis clinic when one patient punched another during an argument about the teams.

Georgetown police Lt. Robert Swanigan says the altercation began Monday with a verbal exchange between the 68-year-old Kentucky fan and 71-year-old Louisville fan. The men were arguing over who will win when the teams meet in the Final Four on Saturday.

Swanigan says the Kentucky fan, who was receiving treatment, flipped off the Louisville fan, and that the Cardinals fan punched him in the face.

Swanigan says police were called to the Georgetown clinic, but the Kentucky fan has declined to file charges.

He says police thought tensions would rise as Saturday's game approaches, but the fight at the clinic was stranger than they expected.

Georgetown is about 13 miles north of Lexington, where the University of Kentucky is loca

The right beer for watching basketball?


Maybe not. For one thing, the name summons allusions to professional basketball, not college. And secondly, the company went out of business ages ago. But I doubt if it was ever available around here anyway.

So what exactly is the point of this post? To show you a picture of a Knickerbocker. 

Spin, Stomp and Sexy, too

You don’t have to have the body of a waif or the feet of Fred Astaire to make your moves on the dance floor.  Take a chance, get out and dance!  Timeless Torches, a dancing troupe tied to the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association has been holding auditions and most of the men and women who try out are around 60-years-old.

So move over, Rockettes, the competition has arrived!  

(S-R archives photo)

The great 7th grade basketball draft

The only time I experienced moving to a new town in the middle of the school year was in seventh grade.

I had not been at my new junior high long before it was time for the intramural basketball season.

For reasons known only to Mr. Kangas, the shop teacher in charge of that Saturday morning extracurricular activity, I was chosen to be one of four team captains. A nice honor and all. But I had no real idea who was good and who wasn't.

So when the boys who had signed up for intramurals gathered in the school cafeteria one afternoon for the selection of teams, I was at a serious disadvantage.

Knowing next to nothing about the basketball skills of the assembled lads, I had to rely on an alternative drafting strategy.

I chose boys who had been friendly to me, the new kid.

There was a boy named Rich. One named Peter. The Ketola twins. And three or four others.

And you know what happened?

No. This was real, not a movie. We stunk.

Whoever said "Nice guys finish last" apparently knew what he was talking about.

My family moved again before 10th grade. I lost touch with the boys who were on that hapless team.

But I hope they went on to lead happy, fulfilling lives. My guess is that most of them did.

Those guys weren't really losers.

They just couldn't make a lay-up.

Eagles season ends

I've just returned to my hotel after filing my story on Eastern Washington's season-ending loss to Montana in the Big Sky conference baksetball semifinals. In the end, the script played out the same as two previous Eagle losses to the Griz, who kept pounding the ball inside, drawing fouls and going to the line. Thirty-two times.

Eagles prepare for Griz

I caught up with the Eastern Washington men's basketball team at their practice Sunday evening, and they feel tournament-tested after their big win Saturday afternoon over Idaho State. Look for a preview of the gam in Tuesday's paper. The team left for Missoula this morning to prepare for their Big Sky semifinal game at Montana Tuesday night at 7,300-seat Dahlberg Arena, which can be a pretty intimidating place:

Saturday’s highlights

University High School sophomores Ashley Lewis and Lindsey Knight sign holiday cards and attach them to toys for children adopted by their Titan advisory period class. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

It's another lovely Monday morning, which means it is time for the Saturday Valley Voice highlights. Reporter Lisa Leinberger spoke to students at University High School who participated in the school's annual Adopt-A-Tot toy drive.

The Spokane Valley Police Department has been accredited by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. They are the only contract law enforcement agency in Washington to take this step. The Spokane Valley City Council voted to lower the speed limit on a stretch of Mission between Flora and Barker in Greenacres. The city is also considering whether to keep the traffic light at Sprague and Progress.

Correspondent Steve Christilaw has a story on second year Freeman boys basketball coach John Graham. He brought a new style of coaching to the school that has apparently been successful.

Linfield no match for Eagles

Collin Chiverton scored a game-high 25 points and four of his teammates also finished in double figures Thursday night as Eastern Washington University blew away NCAA Division III Linfield College 102-54 at Reese  Court.

You can get an early look at the game story that will appear in Friday morning's S-R here.

Eags up big at halftime

Collin Civerton scored 13 points, Cliff Colimon added 12 and Cliff Ederaine chipped in 12 at Eastern Washington cruised to a 52-29 halftime lead over NCAA Division III Linfield College at Reese Court Thursday night.

This one was over early as Eastern scored at will inside against the smaller, slower Wildcats, who got 12 of their 29 first-half points from Zach Anerson.

The Eagles shot 52.5 percent (21-40) from the field in the opening period and turned the ball over only twice.  The only Eastern starter who did not score in the first half was Laron Griffin, who picked up a couple of early fouls and took only one shot in the eight minutes he was on the floor.

Early look at EWU game story

You can get an early look at the S-R game story on Eastern Washington's non-conference men's basketball win over vistin UC Davis on Sunday here

And by the way … this could be a pretty special year for the Eags.

Ederaine leads Eags past UC Davis

Senior forward Cliff Ederaine scored a career-high 23 points and added a career-high seven assists, eight rebounds and three blocks in leading Eastern Washington to a 79-59 non-conference men's basketball win over UC Davis at Reese Court Sunday afternoon.

Cliff Colimon and Tremayne Johnson each added 13 points for the Eagles. 

Check back later for link to game story that will appear in Monday morning's S-R.

Eastern blows early lead, up by 2 at half

Eastern Washington looked sharp in building an early 17-9 lead in its non-conference matchup against UC Davis at Reese Court Sunday afternoon.

But shortly after Cliff Ederaine scored his 11th point less than 7 minutes into the game, the Eagles' offense flatlined, letting the Aggies to storm back to take a brief 24-23 lead.

Still, Eastern managed to regain a slim 31-29 advantage at intermission, thanks to a 3-pointer by Kevin Winford and a pair of free throws by Collin Chiverton in the final 3 minutes of the opening period.

Ederaine finished the first half with 12 points  and three rebounds, but no other Eagle scored more than seven.

UC Davis got eight first-half points from Josh Richart, and outrebounded Eastern 15-12.

Eags give Hayford first DI win

Eastern Washington knocked off visiting South Dakota 70-61 in its home opener at Reese Court Saturday night, give first-year head coach Jim Hayford his first NCAA Division I victory.  You can get an early look at the game story that will appear in Tuesday morning' s S-R here.

Late first-half run puts Eags up 38-24

Cliff Ederaine scored five of his nine first-half points during a 10-2 run Eastern Washington University used to close the opening period of its its home opener against South Dakota at Reese Court Tuesday night.

That run gave the Eagles, who got a game-high 11 first-half point from first-year JC transfer Collin Chiverton, a 38-24 halftime lead over the visiting Coyotes, who were paced offensively by Louie Krogman's nine points.

Eastern, after making only one of its first seven shots, finished the first half shooting 42.9 percent (15-35) from the field and forced 13 USD turnovers.

Hayford lures another big to EWU

Eastern Washington's new men's basketball coach Jim Hayford continues to add size and talent to the Eagles' roster.

The latest addition is University of Oregon transfer Martin Seiferth, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound center from Berlin, German, who will sit out the 2011-12 season under the NCAA's transfer rule.  You can read more on Seiferth here.

EWU’s Dean transferring to Utah

Despite an earlier announcement that he was staying at Eastern Washington to play basketball under new head coach Jim Hayford, Eagles sophomore guard Glen Dean has decided to transfer to the University of Utah.

You can get an early look at the story that will appear in Friday morning's S-R — along with the complete statement Dean emailed about his decision — here.



Hayford signs first EWU recruit

Eastern Washington's new head men's basketball coach Jim Hayford signed his first recruit on Wednesday, landing Collin Chiverton, a 6-foot-6 win out of City College of San Francisco.  You can read more here.


Logie to take over Whitworth basketball program

Matt Logie, the  will be oficially introduced as Whitworth University's new men's basketball coach at a Tuesday morning press conference. You can read more here.