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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
The rest of you will have to settle for some links as a consolation prize.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Columnist Ken Goe has written for The Oregonian for nearly 37 years now and in that time he's seen just about everything. He watched the Ernie Kent era at Oregon from start to finish and is uniquely qualified to grant some perspective on the new Washington State men's basketball coach. Goe was kind enough to answer five questions about Kent, who was announced as the 18th men's basketball coach at WSU on Wednesday.
Questions and answers after the jump.
Update[3:30]: I have confirmed that Kent will indeed by WSU's new coach.
That's what College AD is saying, breaking the news with the above tweet. The hire makes sense, Washington State athletic director Bill Moos also hired Kent when he was the AD at Oregon and Kent took the Ducks to a pair of Elite Eights. Kent, 59, compiled a 235-174 record at UO and a 109-125 record in the Pac-10.
For the past three years he has worked as a basketball television analyst. Prior to today's presumed announcement Kent was working as an analyst for the Pac-12 networks.
When the coaching search began Moos stated that his biggest priority was finding someone who could recruit good players, one of Kent's strengths while he was at Oregon. From Washington alone Kent lured future NBA players Aaron Brooks and Luke Ridnour, while also showing the ability to pull stars such as Malik Hairston out of the midwest.
We'll try to confirm the report and keep you updated as new information surfaces.
From Pullman — Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Final Four is set and that means the college basketball season is almost over. It also likely signals the coming end of the Washington State coaching search as athletic director Bill Moos plainly said he hoped to have the hire in place before the NCAA tournament was over. The hire could be announced today or it could be announced a week from today. Likely, it will happen sometime in between.
On Sunday we put up some notes and quotes from Saturday's practice and we had a live chat as well … With Marquise Lee entering the draft USC has already found his replacement … the Stanford women advanced to the Elite Eight … One Oregon unit isn't looking exactly championship caliber yet.
From Pullman — Hope you didn't sleep in on Saturday. If you did you missed a flurry of Cougars news, not to mention some pretty great cartoons. The day began with Washington State's second spring football practice. We've got a practice report and a story on WSU's young offensive line. Soon after, we learned that the Cougars were making a second run at Boise State's Leon Rice. By mid-afternoon, however, we learned the Rice was going to stay put.
From Pullman — Forgive me if today's practice report isn't as meaty as Thursday's and ones to follow. During practice some basketball news was happening that proved to be more than a little distracting. Still, I think we got most of it. There were a couple new faces running with the ones today and a new quarterback got some significant reps.
Read on, after the jump.
Update [3/31/14 10:34 a.m.] On Monday athletic director Bill Moos told host Bud Nameck that he didn't fly to Boise to pursuit Leon Rice during his weekly Cougar Calls segment.
Our previous report is after the jump.
Shortly after the news came down that Washington State had apparently offered the men's basketball coaching position to somebody, we confirmed that Boise State's Leon Rice interviewed with the Cougars. But apparently has decided to stay in Boise.
You're not going to believe this, but it looks like that 7th grader who committed to USC once upon a time may not actually end up a Trojan … Oregon is reloading in the secondary … Washington's Desmond Simmons will transfer.
Update [11:27 p.m.] It looks like Rice won't be the guy. On Friday night ESPN's Andy Katz reported this:
Source: Boise State's Leon Rice decided to stay, accept pay raise, 5-year rollover instead of continuing talks w/Wazzu after interviewing.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 29, 2014
From Pullman — Boise State coach Leon Rice has long been associated with the vacant Washington State men's basketball coaching job and with good reason, it turns out. Today I reported that Rice interviewed for the position earlier this week. Coming on the heels of the news that WSU has offered the position to a candidate and it seems that Rice becoming the next WSU head coach is a distinct possibility.
We'll keep you updated as we find out more.
AD Bill Moos has extended an offer to a new men's basketball head coach. The offer has yet to be accepted.— Taylor Hennessey (@T_Henn24) March 28, 2014
From Pullman — The above tweet is from ASWSU president Taylor Hennessey who heard it directly from school President Elson Floyd at this month's meeting of the Board of Regents. There is no word on when the offer was made or if the candidate is likely to accept.
Still, it appears likely then that Washington State will have its new basketball coach soon. We'll try and update things as fast as we can.
From Pullman — Football as back and that can only mean one thing: more links. The Cougars had their first practice of the spring yesterday and we've got a practice report as well as a story on WSU's developing quarterbacks. Yesterday, baseball coach Donnie Marbut was in an automobile accident but thankfully he's already out of the hospital. We've also got a blog post about New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies, who denied interest in the open WSU baseball coaching position, for now.
Don't forget, at noon tomorrow we'll be hosting a live chat to talk about spring practices and the basketball coaching search. We'll continue having a noon chat on the day following practices throughout the spring.
From Pullman — Things are starting to pick up in Pullman. Tomorrow will be the first day of Washington State's spring football practices, and on Friday we'll have a live chat at noon. In today's paper we take a look at five important position battles to watch this spring, and we also had a blog post on the topic. Cougcenter has a breakdown of WSU's football scholarships by class. The Daily Evergreen has a preview as well.
UCLA hasn't played Florida, yet, but they've played Arizona … spring practices are underway at USC under new coach Steve Sarkisian … ESPN's Kevin Gemmell says the Cougars have the fourth best “three-headed monster” in the Pac-12 North next season.
From Pullman — Spring practice is just days away for the Washington State football team and the Cougars are already getting ready. And so is the media. WSU released its Spring roster on Monday and we've got a post detailing the differences we could find between the roster now and at the end of the 2013 season. Coaches Mike Leach and Mike Breske also appeared on Cougar Calls with Bill Moos yesterday to talk about the team. We've got some highlights from that discussion here. Moos also touched on the ongoing coaching search, something that we have a story on here. Speaking of coaches, former WSU coach Kelvin Sampson has emerged as a leading candidate for the Houston job.