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Wednesday, July 15, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Grip on Sports: From Hoopfest to the NBA draft, there is basketball news during baseball season

Former Zag Nigel Williams-Goss claps during an April rally at the Foley Center celebrating Gonzaga’s season (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Former Zag Nigel Williams-Goss claps during an April rally at the Foley Center celebrating Gonzaga’s season (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

GRIP ON SPORTS • Hoopfest is right around the corner and we will be focusing on that Spokane event often the next few days. The Mariners have been the focus consistently since their season began. So what are we focusing our gaze upon today? It's a surprise. Read on.

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• The NBA draft is Thursday and there is only one local player guaranteed to be picked: Gonzaga's Zach Collins. Every mock draft we've seen has Collins going somewhere in the lottery.

But he's not the only local hoping to be chosen. Today Jim Meehan examines the chances of the one next on the list: GU's Nigel Williams-Goss.

Williams-Goss has been flying all over the nation the past few weeks, seemingly never saying no to a workout – in contrast, UCLA's Lonzo Ball only worked out for a limited number of teams and is expected to go to the Lakers at No. 2 – in his quest to entice someone, anyone, to call his name.

There is no guarantee anyone will pick Williams-Goss. In his three years playing college basketball, his negatives have always been highlighted as much as his positives, and the run-up to the NBA draft has been filled with the same criticisms. (Jim covers the positives and negatives in his story better than I ever could.)

But Williams-Goss' strengths are highly coveted by some. There has to be one team out there that sees his competitive nature as a plus, right? Who likes how hard he works to help his team win? And, remember, to fulfill a dream of being drafted, it only takes one team to buy in.

• My mom used to say home is where the heart is. OK, it's a cliché, sure, but when mom says it, it sinks in, right?

Her point was love is what makes a home.

Which means this group of M's must really love Safeco Field this season. They have been tough to beat at home. It's one of the reasons they have been able to hover around the .500 mark, despite all their injuries. They are 22-13 at Safeco, the best home record in the American League West after last night's 5-4 10th-inning win over the Tigers.

There is a flip side to that, of course. There always is when a team is a game under the break-even mark. Seattle is 14-24 on the road. The division leading Astros, 23-16 at home, are an almost inconceivable 25-8 on the road. They must have a heart they pack along with their bats and gloves when the leave Houston.

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WSU: The Cougars announced the signing of a junior college linebacker yesterday. He's Dymund Richardson, younger brother of Seahawk wide receiver Paul. … Around the Pac-12, Colorado has picked up a transfer receiver. … The conference should be well represented in Thursday's NBA draft. … Oregon lost another quarterback recently but Willie Taggart isn't worried. … Oregon State's season has built confidence in every player, even the young ones.

Gonzaga: Jim Meehan has been profiling the Zags' draft eligible players and today is Williams-Goss. … The schedule for The Basketball Tournament is out, with Few Good Men seeded second in the West Division. The other teams in the pod are rivals.

EWU: Former football player Samson Ebukam has signed his rookie contract with the Rams. Jim Allen has the details. … Shantay Legan's basketball coaching staff is filled. Jim has that story as well.

Indians: The first taste of the road was as bad as it gets, with the Indians losing 10-0 at Tri-City. … The successful homestand was fueled by chemistry according to Johnathan Curley. … Around the Northwest League, Vancouver and Boise picked up wins.

Hoopfest: Shann Ferch has been a Hoopfest fixture for years. Now he's using his other talent, writing, to share his thoughts about the event. … The weather will be warm but nothing like what the Southwest is experiencing.

Chiefs: Kailer Yamamoto is sure keeping busy this summer.

Preps: The youth notebook, done this week by writer emeritus Chuck Stewart, focuses on softball.

Mariners: Dave Nichols is back with this Mariners Log. We added the links to the bottom.

Sounders: Chad Marshall is about to reach a milestone.

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• If you happened to read the Hoopfest weather story, you will notice how hot it's been in some parts of the Southwest. We are close by but, luckily, not in the worst of it. And we're heading back to Spokane soon. We miss it. Until later …

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