By From staff and wire reports
JeMeil King, a 6-foot-5 guard, will join the Idaho men’s basketball program as a fifth-year senior transfer, Vandals coach Zac Claus announced.
King spent the last two years at Bellevue (Nebraska) University, where he earned first-team all-conference as a senior, averaging a team-leading 14.2 ppg and 3.3 apg as Bellevue went 20-14. He was a second-team NAIA All-American as a junior, the conference MVP and Newcomer of the Year, after leading the team in scoring (15.9), rebounding (5.1) and assists (5.2).
The native of Oakland, California, played his first two years at Modesto (California) Junior College, earning first-team all-conference after leading the school to a 20-8 record and its first playoff berth since 2001.
• Violet Palmer, a former Big Sky Conference official whose credentials during a nearly 20-year officiating career include being the first female to work an NBA game (and she did more than 900), has been hired as coordinator of women’s basketball officials by the Big Sky. She has a similar title with the Pac-12, WAC and WCC.
Gonzaga junior forward Demitrius Kigeya, who has been a two-time All-West Coast Conference second-team selection in men’s soccer, was named Preseason All-WCC for a second straight year. He led GU with five points (two goals, one assist) in 10 games last season.
GU was picked last in the coaches’ preseason poll. Nationally 17th-ranked Loyola Marymount, the 2021 spring season champion, was picked to win the conference title this fall.
• The Idaho men were tabbed to finish sixth and the Vandals women fifth in the Big Sky Conference cross country coaches’ preseason polls. The Eastern Washington men and women were both selected to finish 10th.
Northern Arizona’s reigning NCAA men’s champions and two-time Big Sky women’s champions were heavy favorites to repeat their conference titles.
• Big Sky Conference volleyball coaches selected Idaho to tie Southern Utah for seventh place in their preseason poll with Eastern Washington just two points back in ninth. Defending champion Weber State, with all but one player back, was a unanimous choice to repeat atop the standings.
• The Big Sky Conference’s “group of five” continues to impress in preseason FCS football polls. The America Football Coaches Association tabbed Weber State (6th), Montana (9th), Montana State (11th), Eastern Washington (14th) and UC Davis (21st) in its Top 25.
• Two Central Washington players with area ties, sophomore outside hitter Ashley Kaufman from Lake City and Tia Andaya, a sophomore OH/setter, who transferred from Gonzaga University, were named to the Preseason All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball team.
The PGA Northwest Open Invitational at Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Walla last week was good to area players.
Not only did amateur Max Sekulic, a Washington State University junior, win with a tournament-record score of 23-under-par 193, but 13 other area pros and amateurs broke par of 216 for 54 holes:
Westcott Hunter (a), Rock Creek (Coeur d’Alene), 209; Ryan Hodl (a), Kalispel, 209; Russell Grove, North Idaho College, 209; Corey Prugh, Community Colleges of Spokane, 211; Derek Siesser, Indian Canyon, 212; Anton Rosen, Manito, 212; Andrew Von Lossow (a), Indian Canyon, 213; Naoki Easterday (a), Rock Creek, 214; Loren Jeglum, Palouse Ridge, 214; Riley Hutchinson (a), Rock Creek, 214; Jason Welty (a), Kalispel, 214; Colin McMahon, The Creek at Qualchan, 214; Joel Veenstra (a), University of Idaho, 215. (a-denotes amateur.)
• Jeff Gove, the director of instruction at The Idaho Club in Sandpoint, shot 3-under-par 69 last week to finish in a five-way tie for fourth in a qualifier for the PGA Greater Seattle Boeing Classic that was played last weekend. Gove was one of four eliminated in a three-hole playoff and didn’t advance to the Boeing Classic.
Letters of intent
Whitworth men’s basketball: Freshmen: JoJo Anderson, PG, Mt. Spokane HS, second-team All-GSL as junior, missed senior season with injury; Shayden Brown, P, St. George’s HS, team co-captain, part of two State 2B second-place finishes and two State 2B third-place finishes; Jackson Cash, G, Pleasanton, California; Jacob Coram, G/F, Walla Walla HS. Transfers: Sullivan Mendard, G, Western Wyoming CC, RS so.; Xavier Turner, W, Edmonds (Washington) CC, RS so.
Montana Tech men’s cross country/track: Connor Aikins, distances, University HS; Jon Hansen, distances, Mt. Spokane HS.
Tyler Brown, who has been a volunteer assistant coach with the women’s soccer program at Gonzaga University since 2019, has been added to the Eastern Washington women’s staff, first-year Eagles head coach Missy Strasburg announced.
Brown, whose duties at GU included opponent scouting and working with the goalkeepers, played two seasons at Utah Valley University before graduating in 2015. He played club soccer in Germany, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan and in the 6th tier of German Soccer Landesliga as a semi-professional. He also has extensive club coaching experience.
Hayley Hills, a three-time All-Big Sky Conference selection during her career at Eastern Washington (2006-09; MVP in 2008), is returning to the Eagles as a volunteer assistant coach while she works on a master’s degree.
Since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies in 2020, Hills has spent the last 10 years coaching in her native Canada, including 2012-14 when she worked for Volleyball Canada as a head coach at its Center for Excellence.
Washington State University athletics has added Janelle Nguyen, who worked last year at Lamar University, and Stephanie Cho, a 2021 WSU graduate, as part of the school’s student-athlete development unit.
Nguyen will be the student-athlete development coordinator, where she will be responsible for the Cougar Pursuit program, and will also serve as an advisor to the Black Student-Athlete Association.
At Lamar, she led student-athlete development programming for the department’s 17 sports while serving as the academic specialist for the football team.
Cho, who earned athletic and scholastic accolades as a track and field athlete for the Cougars, will be a graduate assistant in the unit, providing support for the program while focusing on community service and career programming.
• Idaho Vandals season ticket holders will be able to select seats in the new Idaho Central Credit Union Arena in a special seat selection event Sept. 2 and 3. Selection priority will be given based on donations toward the construction of ICCU Arena. Visit GoVandals.com/tickets or call (208) 885-6466 for more information.