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Thursday, July 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stories tagged: John Blanchette


John Blanchette: After forgoing early entry into the NBA draft, Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie must go about reinventing – and improving – his game

They are there and he is here in Spokane, but if it bothers Killian Tillie even a whit it is undetectable – even if he fully expected to be there, …


John Blanchette: Pat Shine coaxed into All-Star spotlight again to help Christian Yelich at Home Run Derby

Face it, you don’t want to be the caddie who hands his golfer the wrong club. Or the field-goal holder who doesn’t get the laces out.


They got the ball rolling: an oral history of the first Hoopfest as the 30th edition is set to begin

Hoopfest almost wasn’t Hoopfest, you know.


UPDATED: Thu., June 20, 2019, 11:05 p.m.

John Blanchette: Despite their collegiate accomplishments, the toughest challenges still await this bunch of Bulldogs

Both players, Hachimura in particular, will have to endure the modern blather that suggests that any first-rounder who falls short of All-Pro status is somehow a bust.


John Blanchette: Firing Don Verlin puts Idaho in contention as college basketball’s No. 1 laughing stock

This may be Idaho doing the most Idaho thing ever. So far.


John Blanchette: Heart-and-soul Spokanite Randy Burkhart truly whistled while he worked

During summers at Priest Lake, Randy Burkhart was known to drag his son Jackson down to the boat before breakfast, motor offshore of Kalispell Island, bring a megaphone to his …


John Blanchette: Michael Jordan made The Shot, but Craig Ehlo made it necessary

It was the summer that Austin Ehlo – then a fifth-grader – was a camper at Michael Jordan’s Flight School in Santa Barbara, which should have been irony enough given …


John Blanchette: For 43 years, Bloomsday’s Don Kardong has been Spokane’s Running Man

Don Kardong found his calling when he founded something Spokane could call its own – Bloomsday.


UPDATED: Tue., April 16, 2019, 9:09 a.m.

John Blanchette: There’s no debating Rui Hachimura’s legacy at Gonzaga

And now begins the debate over what Rui Hachimura might become.


John Blanchette: Even before Title IX, women’s sports had true pioneers such as Nancy Monroe

Having never been on an airplane or out of the state of California before her 17th birthday, Nancy Monroe can only explain away her decision to enroll at the University …


John Blanchette: Spokane Chiefs’ depth makes powerful statement in postseason

The consensus is that for drama, hockey’s playoffs have it all over basketball – the big-league, best-of-7 kind, anyway – despite all those tension-filled advanced-the-ball timeouts in the NBA’s DNA.


UPDATED: Sat., April 6, 2019, 10:35 p.m.

John Blanchette: View of future appears cloudy through Gonzaga’s window

They’ll settle college basketball’s national championship on Monday night in Minneapolis, and it’s entirely possible the winner will score more than 60 points.


UPDATED: Sat., March 30, 2019, 10:33 p.m.

John Blanchette: Every Gonzaga season has ended in hurt, but none match the pain felt right now

For all the ways Gonzaga basketball has changed the very face of Spokane in these past two decades, every Bulldogs season has still ended in hurt.


UPDATED: Fri., March 29, 2019, 10:38 p.m.

John Blanchette: Gonzaga, Texas Tech building hearty appetites as spot at Final Four table is up for grabs

There aren’t six words more sodden with anticipation and angst in sports. Forty minutes from the Final Four.


UPDATED: Thu., March 28, 2019, 11:11 p.m.

John Blanchette: Gonzaga’s grit on full display in hard-fought Sweet 16 win over Florida State

If you couldn’t get one of Gonzaga’s players to admit before Thursday’s game that this hangover of shame was prominent in their thinking, you simply had to go to the …


UPDATED: Wed., March 27, 2019, 9:52 p.m.

John Blanchette: Zach Norvell Jr.’s transformation into complete player has been key to Gonzaga’s success

As a freshman experiencing his very first NCAA Tournament game, Zach Norvell Jr. was accorded an honor that really isn’t an honor but still kind of is. A trip to …


UPDATED: Wed., March 27, 2019, 7:48 p.m.

John Blanchette: Washington State’s hiring of Kyle Smith suggests determination more than desperation

If you look at the history – the raw numbers of history, at least – the easy conclusion to lunge at is that Washington State mixed some unconventional thinking in …


UPDATED: Tue., March 26, 2019, 9:14 p.m.

John Blanchette: Who are you and what have you done with March Madness?

Look, excellence is swell and should be rewarded. Merit? Merit is the cream that makes the coffee taste like something a little better than acrid hot water. Merit rules. But …


UPDATED: Sun., March 24, 2019, 11:28 p.m.

Five years in a row: Gonzaga’s Sweet feat

With the first weekend of the tournament now over, fewer than five percent of college basketball’s teams 353 teams are still playing. Kansas and Kansas State, both No. 4 seeds …


UPDATED: Sat., March 23, 2019, 11:23 p.m.

John Blanchette: Brandon Clarke leaves everyone in Salt Lake City starstruck after dominating performance against Baylor

All those “watch lists” for college basketball’s many awards that managed to miss on Brandon Clarke altogether this year, or scramble to include him at midseason, or leave him off …


UPDATED: Fri., March 22, 2019, 8:43 p.m.

John Blanchette: Baylor’s Rem Bakamus, John Jakus know their dancing partner far too well ahead of Gonzaga showdown

At the edge of a merry Baylor locker room after the Bears bounced Syracuse from the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night, John Jakus pinned himself against a wall and weighed …


UPDATED: Thu., March 21, 2019, 10 p.m.

John Blanchette: With WCC clunker left in the past, Gonzaga returns to high-flying form in rout of Fairleigh Dickinson

We took their temperature, over and over. We wondered if the Gonzaga Bulldogs had really kicked that bad case of influenza WCC that laid them low in Las Vegas.


UPDATED: Thu., March 21, 2019, 9:53 a.m.

John Blanchette: Fairleigh Dickinson coach Greg Herenda knows what it takes to beat the odds

If Greg Herenda makes it to the Final Four this April with his Fairleigh Dickinson Knights it would be … well, it would be a damned miracle, OK?


UPDATED: Tue., March 19, 2019, 10:17 p.m.

John Blanchette: Geno Crandall knows all about dogged determination at NCAA Tournament

Though they all seem to get lumped together as happy Cinderellas, there are subtle degrees of underdog baked into March Madness.


John Blanchette: Doc Ball answers all your First Four questions

Learned and wise about college basketball as he is, Charles Barkley can’t cover everything, especially when it comes to all that’s complicating Gonzaga’s merge from the on-ramp to the fast …


John Blanchette: Depth and defense against offense and athleticism makes for tough choice in fictional battle between Gonzaga’s best

Picked up those inseparable buddies and Zags fans, Hysteria and Horse Sense, hitchhiking back from Las Vegas after cashing in their return flight tickets to put everything on Gonzaga to …


UPDATED: Sun., March 17, 2019, 9:58 p.m.

John Blanchette: On a topsy-turvy Selection Sunday, Gonzaga avoids another upset, holding on to No. 1 seed

So in case the Gonzaga Bulldogs still didn’t have that top-line feeling back after Terrible Tuesday, they were given an imprimatur on Selection Sunday. And they had nothing to do …


UPDATED: Fri., March 15, 2019, 11:15 p.m.

John Blanchette: For Gonzaga, move away from RPI in college hoops has been nothing but NET

Before Zion’s shoe went kablooey and “strong-ass offer” became the meme of the moment, college basketball’s ranking outrage of this season was some post-Thanksgiving indigestion.


UPDATED: Thu., March 14, 2019, 11:21 p.m.

John Blanchette: After split with Ernie Kent, red flags still surround men’s hoops job at Washington State

Hiring Ernie Kent was tired thinking on the part of Chun’s predecessor, Bill Moos; he couldn’t have done any worse taking a flyer on a younger, cheaper comer. Constantly rolling …


UPDATED: Tue., March 12, 2019, 11:11 p.m.

John Blanchette: Gonzaga’s faceplant in WCC Tournament may be most painful come Selection Sunday

Have you heard about the new March Madness Savings Time? If you’re the Gonzaga Bulldogs, you set your clocks back to a No. 2 seed.