A RUNNING LIST of news, notes, quips and quotes from in and around the Cougar Nation. Updated regularly.
PISTORESE NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK - AGAIN
For the second time in as many weeks, Washington State senior Joe Pistorese has been named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. Pistorese on Friday pitched a complete-game victory over Washington, allowing three runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. The complete game was his fourth of the year, tying Pistorese for the national lead. It was Pistorese’s third-career Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honor and the 36th all-time for Washington State.
COUGS TANIELU AND CHLEBORAD OFF TO GOOD STARTS
Nick Tanielu and Tanner Chleborad enjoyed the most successful rookie seasons among the five Washington State baseball players who turned pro last year, and the same two players are off to the best starts among all former WSU players in the pros this season.
Tanielu is batting .308 (4-for-13) with a triple and two RBIs in four games with Quad Cities in the Class A Midwest League. Quad Cities plays out of Davenport, Iowa. Tanielu, a second baseman in the Houston Astros farm system, hit .300 in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League last season.
Chleborad held Greensboro (N.C.) to a pair of hits and one unearned run in five innings last Friday in Salisbury, Md. Chleborad, a Baltimore farmhand, struck out six and walked no one in his Class A South Atlantic League debut as a starter with the Delmarva Shorebirds. Last season, Chleborad went 2-3 with a 2.78 earned run average in the NYP.
Also making the jump from short-season Class A to full-season Class A this season are outfielder Yale Rosen and infielder Trace Tam Sing. Rosen plays for Lake Elsinore (Calif.), San Diego’s affiliate in the California League. Tam Sing has joined Pittsburgh’s SAL club, the West Virginia Power, in Charleston, W.Va. Catcher-outfielder Collin Slaybaugh, who turned pro in the NYP last season, remains in Tampa, Fla., in extended spring training for New York Yankees minor leaguers. -- Howie Stalwick
Former Washington State standout DaVonte Lacy averaged 10 points per game at the 63rd annual Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational, a popular gathering place for college seniors seeking jobs in the NBA or overseas pro leagues.
Lacy saved his best tournament performance for last, scoring 15 points with no turnovers in 23 minutes off the bench Saturday. He sank 5 of 10 shots from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and had three rebounds and one assist in a 95-83 victory for Roger Brown’s Restaurant over Mike Dumar Auto Sales. Lacy’s team played three games in as many days and posted a 2-1 record. He scored 10 points in his only start, a one-point loss Friday. -- Howie Stalwick
COUGARS' LET SWEEP SLIP AWAY WITH CARELESS DEFENSE
A sloppy afternoon led to the Cougars' undoing Saturday. Washington State committed five errors against Washington and lost 5-2 in the series finale at Bailey-Brayton Field. The Cougars took two of three from the Huskies in the series.
WSU was in the position to sweep, heading into the seventh inning tied 2-2; however, the Cougars proceeded to make three errors in that fame and the Huskies capitalized by scoring three runs.
The Cougars (17-17, 5-10) received four solid innings from freshman starter Ryan Walker, who gave up two unearned runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one.
Senior Ian Sagdal stood out offensively for the Cougars, going 3 for 4 at the plate with two RBIss and two runs scored. --Chris Shaw
PISTORESE'S COMPLETE GAME LEADS COUGARS OVER THE HUSKIES
WSU senior starter Joe Pistorese threw his fourth complete game of the season en route to an 8-3 victory over Washington. Pistorese is now tied for the most complete games in the nation this season. He cruised through the first three innings and was given a two-run cushion in the bottom of the second inning. He gave up one in the fourth and another in the fifth, but WSU scored in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth frames to regain the advantage for good.
The starter struck out eight Huskies on Friday night in Pullman. He now has thrown a team-leading 59 1/3 innings this season, and owns all four of the Cougars' complete games in 2015.
Freshmen Derek Chapman and Shane Matheny, and sophomore Cameron Frost all collected at least two hits apiece. Matheny scored three times on the night.
The Cougars are now 17-16 overall and 5-9 in Pac-12 play. They look for the sweep on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. --Chris Shaw
COUGARS NAME NEW SOCCER COACH
Todd Shulenberger has been named head soccer coach at Washington State, WSU announced Friday. He replaces Steve Nugent, who resigned for personal reasons after one season at the helm. Shulenberger becomes the seventh head coach in program history, and the fourth in the last five years, after spending the last two seasons as associate head coach at Texas Tech. Last season the Red Raiders reached the third round of the NCAA Championships and finished with a 16-4-2 record. The Cougars advanced to the NCAA Championships in six of the last seven seasons but have not made it past the second round.
Prior to Texas Tech, Shulenberger spent four seasons at Missouri. The Tigers regularly assembled several of the top recruiting classes in the country during Shulenberger’ s tenure. Shulenberger arrived at Missouri following a two-year stint as an assistant coach at Clemson where he also served as recruiting coordinator.
COUGARS EDGE HUSKIES IN GAME 1
The Cougars vanquished their rivals, the Washington Huskies, in their first bout on Thursday night behind some timely hitting and superb closing pitching. Sophomore Ian Hamilton tied the WSU record for saves by picking up the 24th of his career.
J.J. Hancock helped out in the bottom of the seventh when the Cougars were down 2-1. Hancock lined a triple into right field to tie the game, and then Jack Strunc drove in Hancock to put the Cougars ahead. WSU hung on to the lead and won 3-2.
WSU starter Sean Hartnett allowed two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The two teams play again Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field. That game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. The Cougars are now 16-16 overall and 4-9 in Pac-12 play. --Chris Shaw
LACY MAKES DEBUT AT PORTSMOUTH INVITATIONAL
Former Washington State star DaVonte Lacy scored five points in 16 minutes of playing time Thursday night in his first game at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational. Lacy came off the bench and sank 2 of 8 field-goal attempts, including 1 of 4 from 3-point range. Scouts for NBA and overseas pro teams are regulars at the Invitational.
The 63rd annual tournament for college basketball seniors continues through Saturday. Lacy’s team, Roger Brown’s Restaurant, plays Friday night at 6 PDT against Portsmouth Partnership. All games are streamed live at pit.keenation.com. -- Howie Stalwick
ASSISTANT ROY MANNING IN PRACTICE: KEEP YOUR BUTT AND YOUR HIPS BEHIND YOU
New Washington State outside linebackers coach Roy Manning has been busy coaching up his group. Before, after and during the drill or play, Manning has something to say, as seen in this video from WSU:
SAD, TRAGIC TALE OF FORMER WSU HOOPS ASSISTANT COACH UNDER SAMPSON
Former WSU basketball assistant coach Jason Rabedeaux (1989-94) who went on to become the head coach at UTEP in 1999, died in Vietnam back in September of last year at age 49. ESPN has done an article examining the downward spiral of a basketball coach who seemed to have everything. For the full piece, CLICK HERE
CONNOR HALLIDAY STIRS UP TWITTER
Never one to speak softly, Connor Halliday stirred things up on twitter after an interview on Sirus XM. If Jameis Winston didnt play well, FSU could still win a game. If I didn't play well we would lose by 30". Washington State Connor Halliday
@SiriusXM NFL Radio tweeted out after the interview.
Some fans felt Halliday was discounting his teammates, others thought he was pointing to the increased role the QB plays in success in an Air Raid system. Regardless, it seems to have got folks fired up
PINCH-HIT POWER HELPS MARBUT EARN 300TH WSU CAREER VICTORY
Win No. 300 for head coach Donnie Marbut came against in-state opponent Gonzaga on Tuesday night. The 4-2 victory also came in front of the home fans at Bailey-Brayton Field.
The Cougars used a three-run sixth inning to propel themselves to a victory over the Bulldogs, who won the first matchup between the two teams this season. Junior Patrick McGrath accounted for all three tallies in the inning with a pinch-hit three-run bomb. He was batting .122 in 23 appearances before this game.
Matt Bower earned his sixth win of the season, and sophomore closer Ian Hamilton notched his eighth save of the year. Starter Scotty Sunitsch entered the game with an 0-2 record and 4.76 ERA, but the freshman lefty lasted five innings and gave up one run on two hits.
The Cougars carry a 15-16 overall record into their three-game series against Washington, which begins on Thursday at 7 p.m. --Chris Shaw
SEATTLE TIMES PUBLISHER SEES GOOD DAYS AHEAD FOR ERNIE KENT, WSU HOOPS
Frank Blethen, Jr., a Seattle native and the long-time publisher of The Seattle Times, has seen a lot of college basketball in the Pacific Northwest over the years. A few days ago, he tweeted this out: Ernie Kent just may be our States salvation from worst college basket ball in the NW. hope in Pullman is... new, exciting.
WSU HOOPS UPDATES ON LACY, WEAVER AND MOORE
DaVonte Lacy says he believes he has a future in the NBA. Lacy and NBA scouts may have a better grasp of Lacy’s potential after he makes his debut Thursday in the 63rd annual Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament. The tournament for college seniors runs Wednesday through Saturday. Games are not televised. Lacy, a shooting guard who led WSU with 16.9 points per game this season, plays his first game against a team that includes talented shooting guards Darrun Hilliard of Villanova and Corey Hawkins of UC Davis.
Kyle Weaver moves around off the basketball court almost as quickly as he does on the court. The former Washington State and NBA guard, who has played for 11 teams in his seven years as a pro, scored 14 points in his recent debut with Humacao, Puerto Rico. Weaver spent most of the season in Israel, averaging 10.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals for Brei Hertzeliyya.
Marcus Moore, another well-traveled pro from WSU, remains in Israel. Moore is averaging 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals for Elitzur Ashkelon. -- Howie Stalwick
BADGERS' TITLE TILT HAS WSU OVERTONES
Wisconsin’s participation in Monday night’s NCAA title game reminds older Cougars of better times. The Badgers' last appearance in the championship was in 1941, against a Washington State team led by All-American Paul Lindemann. The Cougars won the Pacific Coast Conference championship that season – WSU’s last in men’s basketball – and won two games in the NCAA tournament before losing to Wisconsin in the title game.
The NCAA tourney was just 3 years old at the time, and only eight teams participated -- four in an Eastern Regional and four in a Western Regional. Coach Jack Friel’s Cougars defeated Creighton 48-39 and Arkansas 64-53 to win the West, then fell 39-34 to Wisconsin.
Since then, Washington State’s best showing in the NCAA tourney was a Sweet 16 effort in 2008 under coach Tony Bennett. After winning the 1941 title, Wisconsin didn’t make it back to the Final Four until 2000, when Bennett was a Badgers assistant coach under his father, Dick.
No team from the Northwest has won the NCAA championship since Oregon won the inaugural tournament in 1939. No Northwest team has reached the Final Four since Oregon State in 1963, and no Northwest team has played in the title game since Seattle University lost to Kentucky in 1958. -- Howie Stalwick
BASEBALL: TWO COUGS RANKED HIGHLY IN THEIR ORGANIZATIONS
Two former Washington State pitchers are ranked among the top prospects in their respective organizations by MLB.com, but the major league season will begin on Sunday without any Cougars on opening-day rosters. MLB.com ranks Adam Conley eighth among Miami Marlins prospects. Taylor Williams is tabbed No. 9 in the Milwaukee farm system.
The Cougars were represented on major league rosters every year from 1948 (Chicago Cubs pitcher Cliff Chambers) through 2011 (Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mark Hendrickson). Only two colleges had longer streaks at the time (since 1939 for USC, since 1945 for Oklahoma).-- Howie Stalwick
COUGARS FAIL TO SWEEP NO. 12 CALIFORNIA
The Cougars couldn't finish off the No. 12 California Golden Bears with a sweep on Saturday. Cal salvaged the rubber match of the series, winning 6-2 behind seven innings of two-run ball from starter Matt Ladrech.
Junior Matt Bower started his first game of the season and was the victim of poor execution. He gave up three unearned runs and exited after 2 2/3 innings, suffering his second loss of the year.
Freshman Tyler McDowell went 2 for 3 with an RBI for the Cougars.
WSU is now 14-16 overall and 3-9 in conference play. The Cougars begin a nine-game homestand on Tuesday against Gonzaga. That homestand includes three games against the rival Washington Huskies starting on Thursday. --Chris Shaw
PISTORESE NEARLY FLAWLESS IN COUGARS' SECOND STRAIGHT VICTORY
All the Cougars needed on Friday night was a strong first inning to power senior starter Joe Pistorese in a 4-0 victory over the No. 12 California Golden Bears. Pistorese pitched his third complete game of the season, a four-hit shutout with six strikeouts and one walk against a team that entered the contest outscoring their opponents 188-96.
Two freshmen supported Pistorese with some early offense against Cal starter Ryan Mason, who suffered his first loss in eight appearances this season. Outfielder Derek Chapman went 3 for 4 with an RBI against the Golden Bears, and third baseman Shane Matheny hit a two-run double to begin a four-run first inning.
The Cougars (14-15, 3-8) will go for the sweep on Saturday at 1 p.m. The win would also bring them back to .500. --Chris Shaw
OLD COUG HENDRICKSON MAY GIVE PRO GOLF A TRY
Former Washington State basketball star Mark Hendrickson played professional basketball in the NBA, and he played professional baseball in the major leagues. Now, Hendrickson says, it might be time to try professional golf at the tender age of 40. Hendrickson, released last month by the Baltimore Orioles, said he’s interested in remaining with the Orioles in an on-field or off-field capacity … or he might give pro golf a shot.
“To be honest, I love being an athlete … golf was always my third sport,” Hendrickson told the Baltimore Sun after announcing his retirement from baseball this week.
Hendrickson was one of the tallest pitchers in pro baseball history at 6-foot-9. The tallest PGA Tour player was 6-8 Craig Smith. The tallest player to win a PGA Tour event was 6-7 Phil Blackmar. The tallest player to win a major was 6-5 1-2 George Archer, the 1969 Masters champion.
Hendrickson, who ranks seventh in points and second in rebounds in WSU history, averaged 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in the NBA from 1996-97 to 1999-2000. He struggled in his one season of baseball at WSU (0-2, 6.43), but he played pro baseball from 1998-14 except for 2012, when he pitched in an amateur league. The Mount Vernon, Wash., native played in the majors from 2002-11, compiling a 58-74 record with a 5.04 earned run average. Hendrickson appeared in four exhibition games with Baltimore this spring. He went 0-1 with a 16.20 ERA, giving up six runs (all earned) and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings of relief. -- Howie Stazlwick
COUGAR BASEBALL SNAPS STREAK WITH LATE POWER
The Cougars' nine-game losing streak is over. Sophomore outfielder Cameron Frost launched a two-run homer against a California team known for hitting homers of its own, and the Cougars triumphed 4-2 on Thursday on the road.
Junior lefty Matt Bower recorded his fifth win of the season after providing three innings in relief of starter Sean Hartnett. The senior Hartnett pitched 4 2/3 innings of two-hit ball, striking out two and walking four.
Sophomore closer Ian Hamilton shut the door on California with a clean ninth inning of work, allowing one hit and no runs. Hamilton was given a two-run lead after Frost's home run in the top half of the eighth and a two-run homer by Cal in the bottom half of the eighth frame.
Catcher P.J. Jones and third baseman Shane Matheny each went 2 for 4 in the game against the No. 12 Golden Bears.
The Cougars improved to 13-15, and will play again on Friday at 7 p.m. --Chris Shaw
MAYLE WILL MEET WITH 49ers, SAYS AGENT
The Sacramento Bee reports Vince Mayle has a visit set up with the 49ers April 13-14, citing Mayle's agent, Cameron Foster. The Seahawks, Browns and Falcons all sent their wide receivers coaches to watch Mayle on Wednesday. Mayle has already met with the Dolphins and Falcons and has another seven teams on his visit list, including Cleveland on Thursday. Star San Francisco wideout Anquan Boldin (34) is headed into the final year of his contract.
COOPER REPORTEDLY EXCELLED IN PRIVATE WORKOUT WITH BUCS
Xavier Cooper "killed" a private workout with Tampa Bay Bucs according to what Rob Rang has been told, Rang said on his twitter account. Rang called the Cougar d-lineman an "underrated quick-twitch DT." Cooper is being projected by Rang as a late second-round draft pick.
COUGS' MITCHELL ON ESPN LIST
ESPN lists Cougar DE Jeremiah Mitchell as No. 10 on their list of 10 Pac-12 instant impact JUCO transfers for the 2015 season. "At 6-4, Mitchell brings solid size to the end position, and he's expected to instantly bolster the Cougars at a position of need." Destiny Vaeao returns as the lone starter on the Cougs' three-down line (base 3-4 defense) with Xavier Cooper leaving early for the NFL and Toni Pole graduating.
WASHINGTON FLIES FLAG AT HALF-STAFF IN HONOR OF WSU HALL OF FAMER TORGESON
The flag at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., flew at half-staff for several days in honor of LaVern "Torgy" Torgeson after his passing last week at the age of 89. Torgeson was a two-way star for the Cougars in the late 40s and early 50s who went on to played seven years -- five of them as an All-Pro -- between the Lions and Redskins before embarking on a storied coaching career. By the time he retired, redskins.com notes, Torgeson had spent 43 consecutive years in the NFL as a player or coach, most of them with the Redskins. He was one of only three men to be a part of the Redskins’ five Super Bowl appearances (Richie Petitbon, Charley Taylor were the others). Torgeson, a native of Lacrosse, Wash., was inducted into the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979.
REMEMBER THAT CSU ASSISTANT COACH WHO WENT OFF ON HALLIDAY?
Remember in the 2013 New Mexico Bowl when a Colorado State assistant coach was caught hurling a homophobic slur at WSU quarterback Connor Halliday? He's looking for work. Former CSU d-line coach Greg Lupfer is the only member of that staff who has yet to land a job after head man Jim McElwain left for Florida this offseason, USA Today reports.
A BIG WEEK FOR HALLIDAY AND MAYLE
Connor Halliday is ranked the No. 8 QB available and a 6th-7th round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft by CBS Sports. Vince Mayle is slotted as the 24th-best receiver and a fifth round pick. That could change this week.
Halliday and Mayle, who did not participate at WSU's pro day while healing up from injuries, will hold a joint workout this Wednesday in front of NFL scouts. For Halliday, it's a chance to show how he's healed from a broken tibula and fibula that prematurely ended his senior season. Mayle, meanwhile, will be looking to recapture some of the buzz he reportedly lost at the NFL combine. Mayle participated in the combine back in February despite a broken thumb. The injury may have affected his 40 time (4.67) as a league source confirmed to CBS that Mayle switched his stance due to the thumb injury, using his left hand for starts.
COUGAR BASEBALL TEAM EXTENDS LOSING STREAK
The Cougars lost their eighth game in a row and were swept for the second consecutive series on Sunday. UCLA triumphed 8-4 thanks to consistent scoring in the final three frames. The Cougars scored three runs in the bottom of the first and led 3-2 heading into the seventh inning before the No. 5-ranked Bruins unloaded. Washington State is now 12-14 this season, and 1-8 in Pac-12 play. Leadoff hitter Shea Donlin led the Cougars at the plate with a 2-for-4 day, scoring two runs. Designated hitter Wes Leow drove in two runs. Next up for the Cougars is a Tuesday matchup against Gonzaga, which starts at 6 p.m. in Spokane. --Chris Shaw
BASEBALL: COUGS DIP BELOW .500 AFTER BATS GO COLD
A moment of silence was held before the Cougars' second game of their series against No. 5 UCLA on Saturday. The silence honored legendary Washington State baseball coach Charles "Bobo" Brayton, who passed away this morning.
In the contest that followed, it was the WSU bats that went silent against Bruins starter Grant Watson, who gave up one run on three hits over six innings. Watson outdueled Cougars starter Joe Pistorese, who allowed all six UCLA runs in a 6-1 loss. The wheels came off late for Pistorese, who was stellar in his first five innings before allowing UCLA to score six times in the final two frames.
The Cougars are now 12-13 this season. The series finale begins Sunday at noon. -- Chris Shaw
BASEBALL: COUGS DROP TO 12-12 AFTER LOSS TO BRUINS
On the baseball diamond Friday night, Washington State dropped to .500 on the season with a 4-3 loss at home to No. 9 UCLA (19-5, 6-1 Pac-12).
The Cougars (12-12, 1-6 Pac-12) took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning but allowed three UCLA runs in the top of the sixth. Washington State picked up a run in the eighth after Derek Chapman tripled and scored but could pull not further than 4-3. Washington State starter Sean Hartnett pitched five innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits while walking three and striking out one. Lefthanded reliever Matt Bower (4-1) took the loss after allowing three runs after surrendering two hits and a walk in the sixth. Game two of the three-game series is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.
MAYLE AND HALLIDAY TO WORK OUT FOR NFL SCOUTS ON APRIL 1
NFL analyst Rob Rang told KJR's Ian Furness today that Vince Mayle and Connor Halliday will work out in tandem for NFL scouts on April 1 in Pullman. Mayle (thumb) and Halliday (ankle/leg) did not participate in the Cougs' recent pro day due to the injuries. For Halliday, it will be the first time he's thrown in front of an audience since his season ended in Week 9. Mayle participated in the NFL combine with a broken thumb (though the NFL did not allow him to participate in the bench press).
HAWKINSON AND LONGRUS NAMED TO PAC-12 ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM
Cougars Junior Longrus and Josh Hawkinson have been named to the 2015 Pac-12 men’s basketball All-Academic second team. Longrus, a junior, is majoring in management and operations with a 3.30 GPA. Longrus was second team all-academic last season as well. Hawkinson, a sophomore, has a 3.24 GPA. His major is undeclared. He set WSU single-season records this year with 334 rebounds and 20 double-doubles. A Cougar has earned all-academic honors in nine of the last 10 basketball seasons and 23 times in the last nine years.
MIKE LEACH AND CREW TO WORK SATELLITE CAMP AT CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOL
Mike Leach and the WSU coaching staff will work a satellite camp this year at Las Lomas High in Walnut Creek, Calif., on June 15 according to this
. College coaches are allowed to work a camp away from campus as long as they're not hosting it. This past June, the Cougs worked several satellite camps in California and elsewhere.
COUGS HAD ONE OF TOUGHEST SCHEDULES IN NATION LAST YEAR, SAYS STEELE
Washington State had the sixth-toughest football schedule in the nation last season, according to magazine guru Phil Steele's strength-of-schedule rankings released this spring. The Cougs' 2014 slate was second toughest in the Pac-12 behind UCLA. Seven other Pac-12 teams were among the 30 toughest. The easiest schedules in the conference belonged to Oregon State (39), Arizona State (41) and Washington (56). Steele's 2015 strength of schedule rankings will be released in May.
COUGAR JAMES HASTY NAMED FRANKLIN HEAD FOOTBALL COACH
Former Washington State and NFL star James Hasty has been named head coach at Franklin High School in Seattle. Hasty, a Franklin graduate, hopes to revive the football program after an 0-8 season. Only 12 players turned out for the first practice last fall. Hasty is a former assistant coach at prep powerhouse Bellevue.
Hasty will coach in the Metro League against nearby Garfield and coach Derek Sparks, another former WSU player. Hasty played in the NFL from 1988-2001, making 45 interceptions as a cornerback with the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. He made All-Pro in 1997 and was twice selected for the Pro Bowl. -- Howie Stalwick
COUGS' LACK OF POWER COULD BE WORSE
As sobering as this season's power outage on the Cougar baseball team has been so far -- four home runs in 717 at bats (no, that is not a typo) -- it's still miles better than the production of some notable names in baseball lore. Former Phillies All-Star Larry Bowa hit 15 career homers -- but it took him more than 8,700 at bats to do it. Mario Mendoza, he of the infamous Mendoza Line, hit but four homers in 1,337 career Major League at bats, and before he became a broadcasting icon with Boston, Jerry Remy was a second baseman for the Red Sox and Angels who managed but seven homers in 4,455 career at bats.
COUGARS SUFFER SERIES SWEEP AT HANDS OF OREGON STATE
The Cougars could not take care of business on the road against No. 25 Oregon State. With Sunday's 2-1 victory, the Beavers swept the three-game baseball series and dropped the Cougars to 12-11 (1-5 in Pac-12 play). Washington State has now lost five in a row.
The lowlight for the Cougars was a perfect game thrown by OSU freshman Drew Rasmussen on Saturday. Oregon State won 3-0 behind Rasmussen's 10-strikeout effort, spoiling WSU senior Joe Pistorese's complete game. The road doesn't get any easier for WSU. Next up, the Cougars host No. 9 UCLA for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field. --Chris Shaw
COUG QB FALK AMONG THOSE PICKED TO SHOCK CFB WORLD
Luke Falk has been pegged by Bleacher Report as one of the 25 players set to shock the college football world in 2015. "With a full season to throw in (Mike) Leach’s offense, who knows how big Falk’s numbers could be in 2015? The sky is the limit," writes columnist Greg Wallace.
FORMER COUG EARNS SMALL-COLLEGE ALL-AMERICAN HONORS
Former Washington State basketball player Andre Winston has been named a second-team All-American in NAIA Division II. Winston, a redshirt senior at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., led The Sun Conference and ranked eighth in Division II with 22.3 points per game. Winston scored a career-high 38 points in his final college game, an overtime loss that prevented Southeastern (18-12) from advancing to the national tournament. Winston played in 26 games as a freshman at WSU in 2010-11 and scored just 0.6 ppg in limited playing time. Winston played more regularly in two seasons at Portland State, but the Tacoma native cited his desire to have a breakout senior season when he transferred to Southeastern last fall. He has been invited to participate in the NAIA Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. -- Howie Stalwick
YEP, HALLIDAY, MAYLE, COOPER, ET.AL ARE GONE, BUT ...
Many notables are gone, there's no getting around that fact. But when Mike Leach kicks off the start of spring football practices at WSU on March 26, he'll hardly be without experienced old hands. The 2015 Cougars return seven starters on offense -- including the entire O-line -- plus another seven on defense. That returning depth on the OL should be enough to warm the hearts of young QBs Luke Falk, Peyton Bender and Tyler Hilinksi. Rising seniors Joe Dahl (LT) and Gunnar Eklund (LG) bring a collective 57 starts into the season, while junior-to-be Eduardo Middleton (RG) started all 12 games last season, center Riley Sorenson 10 and right tackles Cole Madison and Jacob Seydel eight and four games, respectively.
There's also some intriguing depth looking to push those guys, including Sam Flor, Cody O'Connell, Davonte McClain and Carlos Freeman. Spring ball will conclude on April 28, but the penultimate workout -- on Saturday, April 25 -- is the one to circle. That's the day of the annual Crimson & Gray Game in Spokane (2 p.m./Pac-12 Networks).
KLAY THOMPSON IN RARE SPOT: ON SIDELINES
Cougar Great and Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson finds himself in a rare place this week: out with injury. The fourth-year NBA guard will miss today's game against Atlanta, and likely be out up to 10 days, because of a sprained right ankle sufffered in the third quarter of Monday's win against the Lakers, the San Jose Mercery News reports. Prior to this, Thompson had missed just one game in his pro career.
COUGAR BASEBALL LOSES WILD AFFAIR AGAINST SAN DIEGO
San Diego snuck by visting WSU on Tuesday with a 5-4 victory. The Cougars are now 12-8 heading into another weekend of Pac-12 play, this time at No. 25 Oregon State, with the opener at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Cougars held a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom half of the sixth inning, but San Diego rallied for two runs in the frame to gain the advantage against a variety of Cougar pitchers. Four different Cougars drove in runs, and junior infielder Patrick McGrath went 2 for 3. -- Chris Shaw
END OF THE BASEBALL ROAD FOR COUGS' MARK HENDRICKSON?
The Orioles have released veteran left-hander Mark Hendrickson, the Baltimore Sun reported. The Orioles could offer Hendrickson, 40, a non-player position within the organization if he chooses to retire, the newspaper said. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011, with the Orioles. Manager Buck Showalter has said he believes Hendrickson would make a great pitching coach some day. Hendrickson is part of a unique fraternity in professional sports, having played four seasons in the NBA before embarking on his pro baseball career. He had an outstanding basketball career at Washington State, earning All-Pac-10 plaudits twice and etching his name in the top five of just about every career stat list during his days in Pullman.
FORMER WSU POINT GUARD REGGIE MOORE RELEASED
Former Washington State point guard Reggie Moore has been released by the Reno Bighorns for the third time this season. Moore was cut in training camp by the NBA Development League team, signed for two games in early December, then signed again recently when former Gonzaga point guard David Stockton was briefly called up by the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Moore has averaged 7.7 points, 2.4 assists and 20.5 minutes in seven games with the Bighorns. — Howie Stalwick
SPRING FOOTBALL WILL SPAN A MONTH
Spring football practices at Washington State will run just over a month, beginning March 26 and concluding April 28. There will be 15 sessions in all, including the annual Crimson & Gray Game in Spokane on April 25 (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). The Cougars return 41 lettermen from last season -- 18 on offense, 20 on defense and three on special teams.
SPRING FOOTBALL WILL SPAN A MONTH
Spring football practices at Washington State will run just over a month, beginning March 26 and concluding April 28. There will be 15 sessions in all, including the annual Crimson & Gray Game in Spokane on April 25 (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks). The Cougars return 41 lettermen from last season -- 18 on offense, 20 on defense and three on special teams.
COUGARS KNOCK OFF No. 9 USC
This was the Joe Pistorese CougFans had been waiting to see. The lefty threw a complete game and Shane Matheny added three hits as Washington State came from behind for a 4-2 victory over the ninth-ranked team in the Baseball America poll. After spotting USC a 2-0 lead in the fourth, WSU (12-6, 1-1) answered with three in the fifth never trailed again. Pistorese allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out eight in picking up his third-straight win. Offensively Matheny went three-for-three with an RBI, Ian Sagdal was two-for-five with an RBI and a run scored and Ben Roberts was one-for-one with three walks. The Sunday rubber match between Washington State and USC (16-3, 1-1) is set for 3 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
COUGAR BASEBALL ON TV SATURDAY FOR FIRST TIME THIS SEASON
The Cougs will play their first televised game of the baseball season Saturday night, Washington State squares off against No. 9 USC in Los Angeles at 6 p.m. The game can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks. Washington State (11-5) will be trying to even the series after dropping the opener 10-3 on Friday night. Joe Pistorese (2-1, 3.63 ERA) is expected to take the mound Saturday against USC's Kyle Twomey (3-0, 2.49 ERA). Sunday's 3 p.m. matchup will also be on the Pac-12 Networks.
COUGAR HOOPS: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO...
Royce Woolridge, a senior transfer from WSU, averaged 10.1 points and 2.3 rebounds for Grand Canyon in his hometown of Phoenix this season. The 17-14 Antelopes play in the NCAA Division I Western Athletic Conference. James Hunter, who transferred from Washington State to South Dakota as a senior, started at center all season for the South Dakota Coyotes. Hunter, who rarely saw action in his two years at WSU (after one season in junior college), averaged 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds for the 17-16 Coyotes. South Dakota plays in the Division I Summit League.
Tramaine Isabell and Jermaine Morgan, two recruits who signed letter of intents with WSU under Ken Bone and were released from those letters by Ernie Kent, struggled on weak Division I teams this season. Isabell, suspended twice for disciplinary reasons at Missouri, averaged 4.1 points and 1.2 assists as a freshman guard with the 9-23 Tigers. Isabell’s only start came in the final game. Morgan, a junior post player, averaged 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds as a part-time starter with 9-24 Bradley (Ill.). — Howie Stalwick
JED COLLINS SIGNS WITH COWBOYS
Old Cougar Jed Collins has signed a one-year deal with Dallas, multiple news outlets report. The 29-year old fullback, an undrafted free agent coming out of WSU in 2008, played in every game last season for the Lions, with two starts. He spent three years with the New Orleans Saints before that. The Cowboys, ESPN notes, have not had a big role for a fullback the past several years, preferring to go with two tight ends instead of the traditional two-back set. Collins has served as a blocker and special teams standout throughout his NFL career.
The NCAA had total revenue of nearly $1 billion during its 2014 fiscal year, according to an audited financial statement the association released Wednesday, USA Today reports.
The total resulted in a nearly $80.5 million surplus for the year – almost $20 million more than the surplus the NCAA had in 2013 and the fourth consecutive year in which the annual surplus has exceeded $60 million. The latest surplus increased the NCAA's year-end net assets to nearly $708 million -- more than double where they stood at the end of its 2008 fiscal year.
PAC-12 EXPENSES SET TO SOAR
Jon Wilner at the Mercury News on Tuesday reports the Pac-12's expenses are poised to greatly increase due to myriad factors. "The cost of competing at the highest level of intercollegiate sports will soar in coming years due to the legislative changes and legal challenges. The good news for the Pac-12 and the other power conferences is that revenues are soaring, as well. But here’s the catch: Expenses are expected to rise in a fairly narrow range across the country..." It's a compelling read - for the full blog entry,
COUGREAT WR BRANDON GIBSON HAS NEW NFL HOME
The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots signed wide receiver Brandon Gibson to a one-year deal on Tuesday, the Boston Globe reported. The Dolphins released Gibson last month as a way to clear salary cap space - he was due to make about $3.2 million in 2015. Gibson has 233 receptions for 2,711 yards and 13 touchdowns in six NFL seasons. Gibson had career highs of 691 yards and five touchdowns in 2012 with the Rams. Gibson, the newspaper reports, will compete with Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce "for reps at the bottom of the depth chart."
Related Story: Brandon Gibson tells CF.C Miami release a blessing
BASEBALL: COUGS THRASH SACRED HEART 14-2
Joe Pistorese worked six innings and the Cougars pounded out 12 hits in a 14-2 victory over Sacred Heart in front of 1,108 fans Friday night at Bailey-Brayton Field. WSU (9-6) put up five runs in the third inning, paced by a pair of two-run singles by Wes Loew and Tyler McDowell to give WSU a 6-1 lead. Pistorese, a senior left-hander, allowed two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts as he moved to 2-1 on the season. The four-game series continues Saturday and Sunday at Bailey-Brayton Field.
HARTNETT LOVES THAT STARTING ROLE
WSU starting pitcher Sean Hartnett of Kent lowered his ERA to 3.47 and improved his record to 3-1 on Thursday as the Cougars defeated Sacred Heart of New Jersey 5-1 in the opener of a four-game series in Pullman. The victory improved the Cougars to 8-5.
Until this season, Hartnett, a senior right hander, had spent the vast majority of his Cougar career coming out of the bullpen. In 55 career appearances prior to this year, he had made only five starts. In 2015, though, he's been the ace of the staff. With 8 strikeouts in seven strong innings Thursday against Sacred Heart, he now has 22 Ks vs. just four walks, in 23.1 innings of action this season.
X-MAN ROCKETS UP RANG'S BOARD
In the span of three months, Washington State defensive lineman Xavier Cooper has gone from a guy Gil Brandt and others said wasn't ready for the NFL to a projected second-round pick. Well-regarded talent forecaster Rob Rang of NFLdraftscout.com is out with his latest "Big Board" projections for the first two rounds of April's NFL draft and Cooper is pegged at No. 61. His crashing of the list stems from his sterling showing at the NFL Combine last month. Rang, however, is actually late to the party in his assessment of Cooper. Back on Feb. 16, another NFLdraftscout.com writer -- Frank Cooney -- pegged Cooper as the No. 62 overall pick. Cooper will have another chance to impress next week in Pullman when scouts are in town for NFL Pro Day. CLICK HERE
to see Rang's complete list.
COUGS GALEIRA, PRESLEY EARN ALL-PAC-12 HONORS
Lia Galdeira was named to the 15-member All-Pac-12 Team for the second straight season while Tia Presley earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors, the Pac-12 announced on Tuesday. Galdeira was also named to the conference's All-Defensive Team, just the second Cougar to capture that honor (Jazmine Perkins, 2008-09). Galdeira finished the regular-season second in the league in scoring (19.4 ppg), first in steals (94), tied for tenth in 3-pointers (48) and No. 11 in rebounding (6.1 rpg). Presley was fifth in the conference in scoring (17.1 ppg), sixth in steals (54) and ninth in free throw percentage (.776).
COUGS PUT IN BACKUP PLAN, BID FOR WNIT IF NCAA DOESN'T COME CALLING
The Washington State women’s basketball team aspires to play in the NCAA tournament for the second time in program history, but the Cougars already have a backup plan in place if they don’t advance to the Big Dance for the first time since 1991. Coach June Daugherty announced Tuesday morning that the Cougars have put in a bid to host first- and second-round games in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) if they fail to crack the NCAA field.
Washington State has already clinched its first winning season since finishing 17-12 in 1995-96. The seventh-seeded Cougars (16-13) tangle with 10th-seeded Oregon (13-16) in the first game of the Pac-12 tournament Thursday at KeyArena in Seattle. The Pac-12 Network televises the contest at 11:30 a.m. The WSU-Oregon winner faces ninth-ranked Arizona State (26-4), the No. 2 seed, in Friday’s quarterfinals. Asked if she believes two wins at the conference tournament would be enough to vault the Cougars into the NCAA tournament, Daugherty said, “That would definitely help us.” — Howie Stalwick
ESPN: VAEAO 1 OF 5 WITH MOST TO PROVE IN PAC-12
Cougar senior-to-be Destiny Vaeao, who started nine games last season at defensive end and one at nose tackle, has been pegged this week by ESPN as one of five players in the Pac-12 with the most to prove in 2015. Kevin Gemmell writes that with Toni Pole graduating and Xavier Cooper jumping to the NFL, the 6-4, 295-pound Vaeao will need to step up this season. "... he has shown some glimpses, tallying 3.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks last season," Gemmell writes. "But as the only returning starter on the line, the staff is looking for more production from him in 2015."
for the full story.
FUTURE COUGARS IN THE PLAYOFFS
What a sendoff for future Cougar Jeff Pollard. Bountiful High completed an undefeated season in regional play with a win in the 4A state championship over Kearns High on Saturday, ending Pollard's high school career with a bang. Pollard led all scorers with 22 points in the game, propelling the Braves to a 66-54 victory. He was also named to the 4A All-Tournament Team, which was selected by the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune.
The Braves led by 20 at the half, and they cruised to their second consecutive state title. Three of Pollards' teammates also scored in double figures.
In 27 games this season, Pollard (6-8, 215) averaged 14 points. He scored below 10 only six times.
Meanwhile, two other players were still in action longer than most. Renard Suggs and Milan Acquaah each reached the playoffs with their teams this season; however, only one has advanced to the next round.
Suggs and Gillette College surged to a 71-59 victory over Miles City Community College on Saturday, thanks to a 21-3 run in the second half. Suggs, a 6-3, 200-pound guard, scored 10 points for the Pronghorns. They will play again on Thursday in the second round of the playoffs against the second-lowest seed remaining in the South Region.
Acquaah was not so fortunate. The 6-2, 184-pound point guard out of Cathedral High is part of the 2016 recruiting class, so he still has another year for redemption. This season, though, his team lost in the second round of the playoffs, 59-47 against Bishop Montgomery.
The point guard turned in an exceptional season statistically. In 27 games, not including the loss vs. Bishop Montgomery, Acquaah averaged 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists. -- Chris Shaw
COUGALS TO FACE OREGON IN 1ST ROUND OF PAC-12 TOURNEY
Washington State women’s basketball team will face Oregon in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament at KeyArena in Seattle, the conference announced Sunday. The Cougars (16-13, 7-11 Pac-12) enter the tournament as the No. 7 seed for the second straight season and will face the No. 10 seeded Ducks (13-16, 6-12 Pac-12) Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Washington State and Oregon split the two meetings this season with each team claiming road wins. The winner will face No. 2 seed Arizona State on Friday at 11:30 a.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.
COUGARS WRAP UP SERIES WITH A WIN
Washington State used a five-run first inning to jump out to an early lead, and senior Ian Sagdal provided the difference with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh on Sunday as the Cougar baseball team defeated UC Riverside 6-5 in the final game of a four-game series. The Cougs took three of the contests and now stand 7-5 overall with a Sacred Heart coming to town Thursday for a four-game series.
Junior southpaw Matt Bower earned his third win while sophomore closer Ian Hamilton recorded his fifth save of the season. Starter Layne Bruner threw 4 1/3 innings of shutout ball with five strikeouts and five walks. -- Chris Shaw
PISTORESE TURNS THE CORNER IN COUGAR WIN
WSU senior pitcher Joe Pistorese, who struggled mightily in his first two starts of the season, returned to his 2014 form on Friday when he fired seven shutout innings to propel the Cougars to a 3-0 win over UC Riverside at Bailey-Brayton Field. The win was the Cougars' second straight over the visiting Highlanders and improved their record to 6-4. The series continues Saturday and Sunday.
Pistorese faced the minimum number of batters through the first five innings. The senior lefty struck out five and allowed only three base runners. Closer Ian Hamilton picked up his fourth save of the season. On offense, Cameron Frost led the way, going 2-for-4 and driving in two runs.
FORMER COUG HOSS McENDOO TAKES POST AT OKLAHOMA STATE
Jason McEndoo, a Fat Five standout on WSU's 1998 Rose Bowl team and a long-time offensive line coach at Montana State, has accepted an assistant coaching position at Oklahoma State, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle and others report. McEndoo was an All-Pac-10 offensive lineman and honorable mention All-American at Washington State before spending three seasons in the NFL with Seattle and New Orleans. He had been Montana State’s offensive line coach since 2003, the longest-tenured assistant coach in Bobcat football history. In 2012 he was named assistant football coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association. A native of Aberdeen, Wash., McEndoo was inducted into the Aberdeen High hall of fame in 2000.
WSU PRO DAY SET FOR MARCH 12
Sports Information Director Bill Stevens tells Cougfan.com that Washington State will host its pro day on Thursday, March 12. This figures to be a big day for Vince Mayle, Connor Halliday, Xavier Cooper, Toni Pole and several other Cougs who are hoping to land in the NFL next season. With Halliday, it's still up in the air if he'll be able to work out, he's still rehabbing his surgically repaired leg. Haliday said at the combine that if necessary he'd set up his own pro day event to showcase his skills to scouts.
TWO COUGAR WIDEOUTS RECEIVE ALL-TIME VEGAS PROPS
Scout.com recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman is out today with his picks for the all-time best performers in the first five seasons of the Nike Las Vegas 7on7 football tournament and two Washington State wideouts -- Gabe Marks and Robert Lewis -- are among the honorees. Marks was picked to Huffman's first team and Lewis to the honorable mention list. Here's what Huffman had to say about Marks' work at the tourney as a prepster in 2010 and 2011 ...
OLD COUG STARS OUT IN FORCE ON FRIDAY
Among the WSU greats who will be attending Friday's "Night with Cougar Football" at Seattle's downtown Sheraton are current NFLers Brandon Gibson and Jed Collins and former NFL players Erik Coleman, Marcus Trufant, Devard Darling and Hamza Abdullah. In addition, WSU Hall of Famer and race relations pioneer Duke Washington will be attending the event as the guest of Cougfan.com.
COUGAR HOOPS ON 'THE DRIVE'
WSU'S men's basketball team will be featured on the Pac-12 Networks' documentary series The Drive. The premier airing of the behind-the-scenes look at the team will be at 11:30 pm Wednesday following the WSU-USC game. The 30-minute program also will air Thursday at 3:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.; Friday at 2 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.; Saturday at 9:30 a.m., 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., and Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
COUGS' FARRAR ON RECEIVING END FROM QB VERNON ADAMS
With QB Vernon Adams transferring from Eastern Washington to Oregon later this year and the two teams playing one another this season, Adams doesn't have his usual receivers to throw to this offseason. According to Adams' instagram page, he was in Pullman on Sunday throwing to Cougar corner Jeff Farrar: @vadams_qb: Throwing routes wit the bro @jefffarrar10 this morning wsu. http://t.co/yDHcLq63vp
FORMER COUGAR REGGIE MOORE FINDS HOME IN NBA D-LEAGUE
Former Washington State point guard Reggie Moore has signed with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League. Moore replaces ex-Gonzaga point guard David Stockton, who signed a 10-day contract with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings last Friday.
Moore, a three-year starter at WSU, was set to become the school’s all-time assists leader before he was kicked off the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules prior to the 2012-13 season. He planned to join NCAA Division II powerhouse Western Washington in 2013-14, but failed to qualify academically. Moore, who tried out with the Bighorns prior to the season, averaged 10.7 points and 4.4 assists at Washington State. He ranks sixth in school history with 419 assists (Bennie Seltzer holds the record of 473). Moore’s 5.2 assists average in 2011-12 ranks third in a season. — Howie Stalwick
BASEBALL: COUGS FALL TO 3-3 ON THE SEASON
Washington State got drilled by No. 9 Oklahoma State on Friday, falling 11-1 on the second day of the Pac-12/Big 12 Challenge in Surprise, Ariz. WSU starter Tyler McDowell (1-1) lasted just 2/3 of an inning after giving up three runs. He was one of five Cougar pitchers on the night that allowed 11 runs on 14 hits. The Cougs managed just two hits, both singles. "We were just too passive today," said WSU Head Coach Donnie Marbut. "It's unfortunate but this team will bounce back and be ready to play tomorrow."
The Cougars continue play Kansas on Saturday at 3:30 PT.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND KLAY THOMPSON'S JUMP SHOT
ESPN's Sport Science program breaks down Klay Thompson's 3-point jump shot. Among the findings: that he repeats his release nearly 15 percent faster than the average NBA player. And when ESPN cut the lights in the gym just as he got the ball, Thompson's neurons had already gathered enough distance information that allowed him to can an incredible eight of 10 treys in the dark. For the video:
KLAY ISN'T THE FIRST COUGAR COVER GUY
Klay Thompson's Sports Illustrated cover shot this week got us to wondering if he's the first Cougar ever on the front of SI. Henry Rono, the remarkable track star of the late 1970s, struck us as a possibility. So did Drew Bledsoe. Neither of them was, though Drew did on appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids a couple of times. Drew also made the cover of The Sporting News, as did fellow WSU quarterbacking legend Jack Thompson. But the only other Coug we could find who hit the cover of SI was QB Ryan Leaf, back in September of 2000. Ryan, by the way, has served his time for addiction to painkillers and called us in December when he was released; the former CF.C columnist sounded great.
BASEBALL: COUGS MOVE TO 3-2 AFTER WIN OVER OKLAHOMA
Washington State starter Sean Hartnett threw a career-high 7 1/3 innings and Ian Hamilton picked up his second save of the season as the Cougars won 4-3 over Oklahoma Thursday in the Pac-12/Big 12 Challenge at Sloan Parkin Mesa, Ariz. Cougar second baseman Ian Sagdal collected two hits and an RBI while OF Cameron Frost had two runs batted in and six putouts. The Cougars face No. 9 Oklahoma State on Friday. First pitch is sschedule for 3:30 p.m. PT.
KLAY THOMPSON IS SI COVER MAN
Just days after playing in -- and starting -- his first NBA All-Star game, Washington State great Klay Thompson has landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He's on a regional cover of the issue, which is built around a mid-season report of the NBA. Thompson's Golden State Warriors are off to a 42-9 start, the best in the league. Thompson is 10th in the NBA in scoring, at 22.1 points per game, and sixth in 3-point field goal percentage, at .440. At WSU, Thompson was a two-time all-conference pick and led the league in scoring, at 21.6 ppg, his final season. He holds the WSU record for most 3-pointers made (242).
SIZING UP THOMAS TOKI NO EASY TASK
It seems unanimous that nose tackle Thomas Toki is the top recruit in Washington State’s 2015 class, but no one seems to be able to agree on Toki’s height and weight.
Scout.com lists Toki at 6-1 and 300 pounds, while ESPN.com pegs him at 5-11, 307. The WSU website lists him 6-1, 280 in one spot and 6-1, 307 in another. There’s little disagreement that Toki is a big-time run-stuffer, though. ESPN ranks him the 21st-best college prospect among defensive tackles in this year’s high school senior class, and Scout ranks him No. 27. After nearly a year in Scout’s overall top 300, Toki was edged out at the end, but ESPN still slots him at No. 180 on its Top 300 list.
Toki’s path to WSU says much about his grit and determination. In case you missed it, here’s the link to a recent CF.C feature story
chronicling his journey.
Among WSU’s new recruits from the junior college ranks, safety Shalom Luani and defensive end Jeremiah Mitchell are on Scout’s JC top 50 list. Luani is No. 19 and Mitchell No. 28, while cornerback Treshon Broughton comes in at No. 57. ESPN’S top 50 JC list puts Luani at No. 40 and new Cougar linebacker Aaron Porter at No. 45.
In final recruiting class tabulations, Scout and ESPN each ranked WSU’s class ninth in the Pac-12. Nationally, the two ranked the Cougars 43rd and 54th, respectively. — Howie Stalwick
LEACH HIRES OLD TECH WR AS NEW QUALITY CONTROL ASSISTANT ON OFFENSE
Mike Leach has hired Joel Filani, 31, as his new offensive quality control assistant, WSU confirmed today. The post became open when Graham Harrell was promoted to outside receivers coach. Filani played receiver for Leach at Texas Tech from 2003-06 where he was named first-team all-conference his last two seasons. Filani comes to WSU after a two-year stint at Boise State as a graduate assistant working primarily with receivers.
Filani began his coaching career at his old high school, Paradise Valley in Phoneix, spending a year there before heading to Boise State. Prior to that, he was with six NFL teams from 2007-09. He also played for the Chicago Rush of the Arena League in 2011 before injuries led to him hanging up his cleats.
KLAY THOMPSON HAS HIS OWN SHOE LINE
It’s official: Klay Thompson is a really big deal in the NBA. The proof? He has his own signature line of basketball shoes. The unveiling of “KT Fire” shoes by Anta, a Chinese shoe company, was just part of a hectic NBA All-Star Weekend for Thompson. The Golden State Warriors guard out of Washington State played in his first All-Star Game on Sunday in New York.
To read about Thompson’s wild All-Star Weekend experience, here's an excellent piece by Antonio Gonzalez of The Associated Press:
XAVIER COOPER DRAFT PROJECTIONS ALL OVER THE MAP
An internet NFL draft site on Monday bumped up their porjection on Cougar DT Xavier Cooper (6-4, 298-pounds). Frank Cooney of nfldraftscout.com pegged Cooper to go late in the second round as the No. 62 overall pick as the No. 8 DT in the draft. Elsewhere, Cooper is not rated among the top 10 d-tackles by ESPN’s Mel Kiper in his most recent rankings. ESPN ranks Cooper as the No. 17 DT and the 272nd best prospect available. They give him a grade of 40, which places him in the upper end of their Borderline Draft Prospect category. In mid-January, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said Cooper will “probably be somewhere between a sixth-round pick and a free agent.” Cooper bypassed his senior year at Washington State to enter the draft. Cooper, WR Vince Mayle and QB Connor Halliday will be in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine that starts Thursday.
RAVELING PICKS THOMPSON FOR HALL OF FAME INTRO; SAYS WSU UNEQUIVOCALLY FAVORITE PLACE
Washington State coaching legend George Raveling said he plans to have former Georgetown coach John Thompson introduce him when Raveling is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 11 in Springfield, Mass.
“He’s a longtime friend of mine,” said Raveling, whose election to the Hall of Fame was announced Saturday. Coincidentally, Thompson was also on the short list of candidates then-WSU athletic director Ray Nagel was looking at when he hired Raveling.
Raveling is the second Cougar to go into the Naismith Hall of Fame, which serves as the world hall of fame of basketball. The late Marv Harshman, who coached the Cougars from 1958-59 through 1970-71, was enshrined in 1985.
Raveling and Tony Bennett are the only WSU basketball coaches to reach the NCAA tournament twice. Raveling also made it to the tournament two times with both Iowa and USC after leaving Washington State in 1983, but WSU remains close to his heart.
“One of the most consistent questions I get is, ‘Of all the places you coached, which one did you like the most? What was your best job?’ I always say, unequivocally, Washington State,” Raveling said. “It was the best 11 years of my coaching career. That’s not to put down Iowa or USC.” -- Howie Stalwick
COOPER WRITING DRAFT DIARY WITH FOXSPORTS
Washington State defensive lineman Xavier Cooper has cut out the red meat and loaded up on the veggies in preparation for the NFL Combine in Indianapolis that starts Thursday, he says in part one of a draft diary he's writing for FoxSports. Cooper is one of three Cougs -- Vince Mayle and Connor Halliday are the others -- who will be in Indy with 300 other top draft prospects. CLICK HERE
to read his draft diary.
GALDEIRA NOTCHES DOUBLE-DOUBLE IN DAUGHERTY'S 400TH CAREER WIN
The Washington State women's basketball team fell behind by eight against Utah on Sunday morning, but stormed back with a 13-0 run that gave them the lead midway through the first half. The Cougars never relinquished the lead after that, and won 61-52 over the last-place Utes. The win improved the Cougars to 14-11 overall and 5-9 in Pac-12 play. The Utes fell to 8-17 overall and 2-12 in the conference.
Head coach June Daugherty earned her 400th career victory on Sunday. The Cougars had lost five straight games dating back to Jan. 31.
Junior guard Lia Galdeira returned to her dominant form with a double-double. She led all scorers with 23 points, and led the Cougars with 10 rebounds. True freshman forward Louise Brown added six rebounds as WSU and Utah each grabbed 36 boards.
WSU was economical from three-point range, hitting 4-of-7 after a 3-for-24 effort the game prior at Colorado. Galdeira was 3-of-5.
Galdeira's hot hand fueled the Cougars when both Brown and senior guard Tia Presley picked up their fourth fouls late in the second half.
Next up, the Cougars travel to Washington on Feb. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Then, the teams return to Pullman to play each other on Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. Both games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. --Chris Shaw
for previous entries in the Cougar Blog