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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: The sun greets us earlier this time of year, which means we have more time to delve into our weekend plans

A GRIP ON SPORTS • One ironic aspect of doing this feature every day revolves round the sun. As in, it wakes us up earlier this time of year, when the magnitude of sports coverage we are interested in lags a bit. Football and basketball seasons correspond with shorter daytime hours, meaning it’s pretty easy to oversleep. The opposite is true in late April.  


• One would think someone of advanced years would know how to use an alarm. And one would be correct. It’s just we hate the darn things. Made a vow when we were in our teens and had to set one to arise at 2 a.m. on Sunday mornings to work for our dad we would never work a job that forced us to use one.

We were able to adhere to that vow pretty well over the years. Why change now?

We set alarms for fun stuff, like making a flight to a vacation destination. Or to watch The Open from the British Isles. But that’s about it. We use Mr. Sun as a wake-up call whenever we can.

Today, he woke us early enough we can spend even more time delve into what you should set an alarm for this weekend. Sadly, there is not much.

It’s the first weekend of the NBA and NHL playoffs, if that’s your thing. But the Northwest is pretty bereft of teams. The Blazers? Nope. The Kraken? Ha. Only Vancouver moved on. Heck, even the front-running Warrior fans in this region have to find a Nugget sweatshirt to cover up their Klay Thompson tattoo.

The TV highlights this weekend? Well, we can tune into Root to watch the M’s at Colorado. But until Julio Rodriguez begins to cut down on his wild swings, that’s nearly as much fun as it should be.

Both Los Angeles teams, the Lakers (vs. Denver) and Clippers (against Dallas) will be on ABC, with LeBron James taking over Saturday night (5:30 PDT) and Kawhi Leonard – maybe – the Sunday attraction (12:30 p.m.).

Otherwise, there is women’s major golf, (the Chevron Championships on NBC) with Nelly Korda hoping to become the next big thing in the sport. Or the Spokane Velocity at Richmond on SWX (Saturday, 3 p.m.). Or maybe, if you are really missing college football, the Michigan spring game (Saturday, 9 a.m., Fox).

If it’s that last one, sorry. Maybe some sort of intervention should be in order.

• When David Riley was named the Cougars’ men’s basketball coach, the first thought in our mind was a simple one. As per usual. How many Eastern players would follow him to Pullman?

The number is two thus far. Ethan Price, a power forward who can stretch the floor, was the first. Thursday, sophomore wing LeJuan Watts followed Riley down U.S. Highway 195.

It’s a good thing they have, as former coach Kyle Smith took both high school recruits with him to Stanford and much of the rest of last season’s roster has entered the portal, with another player finding a home yesterday.

It’s the new normal. Love it or hate it, might as well get used to it.

• There was some under-the-radar news yesterday on Twitter, a social media platform that’s changed its name to something we’ve just decided to ignore.

It was reported by Talia Goodman of @TheNextHoops, Gonzaga women’s player Calli Stokes has entered the transfer portal. You might remember Stokes, the Zags’ Energizer Bunny off the bench, missed much of the stretch run dealing with another concussion.

According to the report, Stokes is not only changing schools but sports. She is looking to compete in track and field. Could it have something to do with her injuries? A track background is not mentioned on her GU biography, which lists her other sport at Redondo Union High in Southern California as softball.

It would make sense, though. Track is a safer sport than basketball.

Stokes was always a joy to watch for Gonzaga. Not many college basketball players threw themselves around the court with the fervor she showed. And that could have been her undoing. Whatever course she picks, she has earned the opportunity to enjoy success and fulfillment.


WSU: The S-R’s Greg Woods has stories on Watts’ decision to attend Washington State and Rueben Chinyelu headed to Florida, where former Cougar assistant John Andrzejek works. Chinyelu is the fourth player off last year’s roster to change schools. … There is a new look for defensive back Kapena Gushiken. But the same intensity. Greg has that story as well. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, Jon Wilner is examining the conference schools’ finances. Today he looks at Washington (in the S-R) along with Utah and Oregon (in the Mercury News). … Yesterday, we linked this Times story on local player Devin Culp and his NFL chances. We link it again today as it ran in the S-R. … … The receiving corps still has some strong pieces. … One last UW story. The rape charges against Tylin “Tybo” Rogers are going forward. He pleaded not guilty to the allegations yesterday. No matter what happens with his adjudication, the Huskies’ process that allowed him to play in the playoffs is going to be scrutinized for a while. … Here’s a fun portal fact. Quarterback Jaden Rashada will basically be on his third school in two seasons. The now-former Arizona State freshman starter, who originally was set to attend Florida until an NIL squabble derailed his past, is in the portal. … The portal’s ins-and-outs are nothing new to Colorado, even in basketball. … Oregon is using helmet microphones during spring football practices. … As practices wind down, depth charts start to pop up. Here’s one from Utah. … The idea of hiring a popular-with-the-players replacement coach will keep kids from leaving is proving not to be true for UCLA. … The defense at USC is undergoing a makeover. … Former Oregon State running back Damien Martinez visited Arizona yesterday. … In basketball news, it looks as if the wooded-court at Oregon is going away.

Gonzaga: The Bulldog men are not going to get through the offseason without a portal hit. Walk-on Colby Brooks, who has played sparingly the past two years, entered the portal. Theo Lawson has more. … SWX covered the Stokes news this morning. … Jalen Suggs has turned into a defensive presence in the NBA. … Elsewhere in the WCC, Saint Mary’s has picked up a big transfer from Arizona. … Loyola Marymount added a guard from up the road at UCLA.

EWU: We have played golf with Erik Meyer in the past. OK, we were in a foursome at a tournament in which Meyer was in the preceding group, so there was some interaction. That’s it. But even then, we knew he was headed to some sort of Hall of Fame. Maybe the Wayward Drive Hall of Fame or something. Just kidding. The former Eastern quarterback has been named to the Big Sky Conference’s HOF. Dave Cook, who knows Meyer a little better than us, has this story. … Elsewhere in the Big Sky, a trio of folks with Montana or Montana State connections are headed to the conference’s Hall of Fame. … The Bobcats have decided who will wear a legacy number in football. … Montana State is rebuilding its women’s basketball roster through the portal. … The Northern Colorado women are using an old-fashioned way. … The roster-rebuild for Idaho State has varied, depending on gender.

Preps: It’s spring, which means the outdoor sports are doing their thing in the disjointed Inland Northwest weather. That includes possibly our favorite sport, fastpitch. Madison McCord has this story on the success two GSL 2A schools, Shadle Park and Clarkston, hope to continue in the playoffs. … Dave Nichols also has a roundup of Thursday’s spring-sports action.

Indians: Dave didn’t head out to Avista last night. Coming back from surgery, he’s taking it slow. But he still covered Spokane’s 8-1 loss to Everett. … Elsewhere in the Northwest League, the Indians stayed within a half-game of leader Eugene as the Emeralds lost 7-2 to visiting Vancouver. … Tri-City handed host Hillsboro a 7-3 defeat.

Kraken: Seattle’s season is over. Done. It finished with a hot third period and a 4-3 win in Minnesota.

Storm: Of all the Seattle pro franchises, the WNBA one may have the nicest practice facilities. At least now. The Storm opened up their new place yesterday and it was spectacular. It was also met with oohs and aahs from the players.

Seahawks: The Hawks changed paths once again Thursday, sending out their quartet of player acquisition folks to meet with the media prior to next Thursday’s NFL draft instead of John Schneider and the head coach. … Defensive line must be a spot the group has focused upon.

Mariners: Bryce Miller has added to his arsenal.

Sounders: Seattle will play Louisville FC as it begins the U.S. Open Cup in the round of 32.


• We binge-watched “Fallout” the past few days as we’ve nursed ourselves back to health. Never played the game (or games). Never had any desire to. That doesn’t mean, though, we didn’t appreciate the Amazon series. Walton Goggins turns in his best performance since “Justified” and that’s saying a lot. The series features a lot of gratuitous violence, sure, but it’s still a great story with many layers. Don’t be scared away by its computer-game roots. It’s good. Until later …