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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: We’re not sure if the transfer portal is some sort of biblical plague, but whatever its origins, WSU is getting hit hard

Washington State forward Mouhamed Gueye prepares to shoot against Oregon State on March 3 at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman. Gueye has entered the NCAA transfer portal.  (Associated Press)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • The transfer portal giveth, the transfer portal taketh away. We’re pretty sure that verse shows up in the bible somewhere. And by the bible, we mean the Sporting News, of course.


• But not even the bible of sports can explain why it is so crazy. Or tell us whether it is good or bad, long-term, for college athletics. All we know in this spring of freedom is the landscape has changed. And the rich will probably get richer.

Heck, even George Orwell knew that and he was only a football – English version – fan.

We’re well past “1984” but the upper class in college athletics are still taking from the middle, who strive to use the poor to rise up and supplant the rich. Just like Orwell described it.

Around here in hoops, Gonzaga is obviously in the upper strata. Washington State? We thought the Cougars had a decent chance to crash the rich kids’ party. But April seems to have showed us they may have a ways to go. After all, the past couple weeks have hit the WSU roster hard.

It doesn’t seem if the Zags have to worry about the outgoing aspect of the NCAA’s newest game changer. At least not with players Mark Few wants to keep around. The transfer portal only works one way for the upper class and GU has added a 7-foot center from the SEC, Efton Reid. What the Bulldogs do worry about, however, is the NBA. They are old school in that regard. They could lose all five starters to the pro ranks, though that’s unlikely.

Down the road in Pullman, Kyle Smith is dealing with a different brand of roster leakage.

The Cougars played well down the stretch last season and made a run in the NIT. They had three young bigs and two experienced guards who helped along the way.

Of those five, four were expected to return. Now only one might.

And that might be the same number of hairs some fans had after the news about Noah Williams, Efe Abogidi, Tyrell Roberts and Mouhamed Gueye broke. Guard Michael Flowers, who could have used his pandemic year, decided to declare for the draft. Dishon Jackson, a rising sophomore big, is staying in Pullman. Six starters (at times), one sure returnee.

It’s a disaster. Or it isn’t. Who can tell? There is a lot to be written between now and September.

The writing may even start today, as WSU assistant John Andrzejek hinted on Twitter last night. “Hey Cougs, I know we’ve been taking some bullets lately… but tomorrow will be a good day for @WSUCougarMBB! #GoCougs,” he wrote.

Is he referring to high school senior Adrame Diongue, a 7-footer who is announcing his commitment Tuesday? Could be.

But there are also other possibilities that could play out between now and next season. Players in the portal could return. There are only so many opportunities – and so much name, image and likeness money – available. Maybe one of the former Cougars will actually be bounce-back Cougars.

And, as we said at the beginning, the transfer portal works two ways. With more than 1,500 NCAA men’s basketball players listed, WSU, like everyone else, has options.


WSU: Colton Clark uses Gueye’s transfer portal appearance to summarize what’s happened for the Cougars recently. Change is coming. … CougCenter’s Jeff Nusser also breaks down the recent past and the possible future. … Jahad Woods and Jarrett Guarantano are going to get NFL opportunities. Colton has that story as well. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and college football, it’s never too early to look ahead to next year’s draft. Well, yes, maybe it is. … Oregon may lose a punter to the portal. … In basketball news, this story summarizes all the conference’s recent transfer news. … Washington added a transfer center. … Jabari Walker will not be returning to Colorado. … The line between pro and college sports is getting thinner quickly. … The conference holds its annual spring meetings this week in Scottsdale. … Finally, this story on Oregon State baseball coach Mitch Canham was the best we read today. It holds the extra-added attraction of portraying the Mariners’ organization in a positive light.

Gonzaga: Washington was able to get across the mountains, though the Huskies’ baseball team probably wishes it couldn’t have. The 12th-ranked Bulldogs picked up a 5-3 nonconference win. Justin Reed was there and has this game story. … James Snook rounds out the coverage with a photo gallery. … A Montana baseball player has committed to GU.

EWU: Cooper Kupp had a great year for the Los Angeles Rams. And, as Jim Allen tells us, it is about to get even better. … Around the Big Sky, Weber State is adding to its basketball roster.

Preps: Dave Nichols passes along a roundup of Monday’s action. … A former Mt. Spokane pitcher threw a no-hitter on Sonoma State’s senior day. That news leads off the S-R’s latest local briefs column. … Oregon will not have a shot clock in basketball next season. Maybe in 2023-24.

Mariners: No line drives off his arm this time. But Marco Gonzales took another loss despite pitching well. This one was 3-0 to the Astros in Houston. … Robinson Cano was designated for assignment by the Mets yesterday. Even if the M’s only have Jarred Kelenic left from the trade, they still won it. … Julio Rodriguez’s first home run was needed for his well being. … Logan Gilbert was the American League pitcher of the month.

Seahawks: The Hawks are switching how their defensive front attacks. Which means they need edge rushers. Which explains a lot of their draft strategy.

Sounders: Tomorrow night’s CONCACAF Champions League final in Seattle could be historic. And we’re not just talking about the crowd, which should be around 70,000.


• Who is to blame for the transfer portal mess? Lots of people, including the NCAA and its member institutions. Which means everyone connected to college athletics. NIL and free agency is proving to be a little much to institute at one time without much in the way of rules. Until later …