THE COUGAR BLOG: Sept. 10 to Sept. 30, 2015

A RUNNING LIST of news, notes, quips and quotes from in and around the Cougar Nation. Updated regularly.

SEPT. 30 6:23 PM
  • BIG HONOR FOR OLD COUG PITCHER
Former Washington State baseball star Adam Conley has been named Organizational Pitcher of the Year by the Miami Marlins. Conley, who has been a key member of Miami’s starting rotation down the stretch, also turned in standout work for the club's Class AAA team in New Orleans.

Conley, 25, is 4-1 with a 3.84 earned run average in 14 games (10 starts) with the Marlins. At New Orleans, he compiled a 9-3 record and 2.52 ERA in 19 games (18 starts). In his three most recent starts for the Marlins, the rookie left-hander from Olympia has given up just three runs, 11 hits and three walks in 19 innings, with 19 strikeouts. Conley, a second-round draft pick by Miami in 2011, may start in the Marlins’ final game Sunday at Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, another former WSU baseball star, Taylor Ard, has been named most valuable player in the Frontier League. Ard, playing for the River City Rascals in suburban St. Louis, led the independent league with 30 home runs, 83 runs batted in, 29 doubles (tied) and a .646 slugging percentage in 96 games this season. He ranked 15th in batting at .313. – Howie Stalwick.

SEPT. 29 7:29 PM
  • NEWEST DAUGHERTY VERBAL LANDED QUICKLY
Kayla Washington, the 6-foot San Bernardino scoring and rebounding machine who announced her verbal commitment to WSU women's hoops coach June Daugherty today, tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise here that the entire recruiting process with WSU began this past weekend at an NCAA viewing tournament at Chaffey College.

She had numerous scholarship offers but none from her dream conference -- the Pac-12 -- until WSU. She said she loves the Cougars' up-tempo style. Last season, Washington averaged 28.1 points and 16.1 rebounds per game en route to regional player of the year, league co-MVP and MaxPreps honorable mention all-state honors. For a great feature story on her from this past spring, click here.

SEPT. 28 9:20 PM
  • TICKETS TO OSU, UW GAMES AVAILABLE
Washington State announced Monday night that approximately 4,000 tickets remain available for the next home football game, the homecoming contest Oct. 17 against Oregon State. Kickoff time has yet to be determined.

About 1,500 of the 4,000 tickets allotted to Washington State for the Apple Cup are still available. The tickets cost $100. The game will be played Nov. 27 at Washington at 12:30 or 1 p.m.Tickets may be purchased at (800) GO-COUG or www.wsucougars.com. – Howie Stalwick.

SEPT. 28 3:15 PM
  • COUGS-DUCKS SET FOR AFTERNOON
Washington State’s football game at Oregon on Oct. 10 is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff on the Pac-12 Networks, WSU announced.

SEPT. 27 7:15 PM
  • CAL A BIG FAVORITE VS. COUGS
In the early betting line, oddsmakers see California as a big favorite against the Cougars on Saturday (1 p.m. kickoff, Pac-12 Networks). The home-team Bears are pegged as 14 1/2-point favorites.

SEPT. 26 3:33 PM
  • WICKS IS TOUCH KING SO FAR
Third-year sophomore running back Gerard Wicks is running away with the most touches on the Cougar football team so far this season. Through three games he has 43 -- 29 rushing and 14 receiving. No. 2 on the team is wideout Gabe Marks, with 26 -- 25 receptions and one punt return. Running backs Jamal Morrow (24) and Keith Harrington (21) and receiver River Cracraft (17) round out the top five.

SEPT. 25 1:14 PM
  • HELP FIGHT ALS WITH ALES
Former WSU tight end and current CF.C analyst Tony Thompson is co-hosting a viewing party for next Saturday's Oct. 3 Cougar game at Cal (1 p.m. kickoff) that will benefit Team Gleason. The gathering will be held at Bad Jimmy's Brewing (4358 B Leary Way NW) in Seattle. All proceeds from the $5 "No White Flags Ale" pints will go to Team Gleason, as will $1 from every other beer sold during the game. Doors open at 11 a.m.

SEPT. 25 1:00 PM
  • WSU LOSES A GREAT ADVOCATE
Art McDonald, a devout Cougar and one of the most respected TV news men and later PR consultants in Seattle, passed away last month. He was 83. Art and his late wife Jeri were tireless advocates for Washington State.Thoughtful, smart and quick with a smile, Art was an ardent supporter of the Murrow College of Communication and WSU athletics, and also served on the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees. In 2002, he helped WSU stoke the Heisman Trophy campaign of Jason Gesser by hanging giant banners of Gesser alongside I-5 in the run-up to the 2002 season. Remembrances can be made to the Art and Jeri McDonald Endowment, WSU Foundation, PO Box 641927 Pullman, WA 99164-1927.

SEPT. 24 11:00 PM
  • COUGS OFFER 3RD QB IN 2017 CLASS
Connor Neville, a junior out of Wilsonville, Ore., tweeted this week that he has been offered a scholarship by Washington State. He is the No. 7-rated QB prospect in the West in the 2017 recruiting cycle. He also holds an offer from Boise State. He is the third-known QB to be offered for 2017 by WSU. The other two are Tua Tagovailoa of Jason Gesser's alma mater, St. Louis High in Honolulu, and Tristan Gebbia of Calabasas, Calif. They are rated the Nos. 4 and 5 QB prospects in the West for 2017. Both have double-digit scholarship offers. All three players are rated 4 stars by Scout.com.

SEPT. 23 11:00 AM
  • JIM WALDEN CAN RELATE TO KLIFF KINGSBURY
The "ass kicking" feud between Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and Arkansas coach Bret Bielma isn't a surprise to former WSU and Iowa State coach Jim Walden. He told ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy this week that in 1992, when he and Iowa coach Hayden Fry were shaking hands following their rivalry game, Bielma, then a Hawkeyes players, came up to Walden and said "It’s been a pleasure kicking your ass the last four years."

“The media was all standing there," Walden told McMurphy. "I was flabbergasted. In my 17 years as a head coach, I never had one opposing player say one word to me after a game -- except Bielema.” Nonetheless, Walden said he and Bielema have spoken several times over the years and they now laugh about the incident.

SEPT. 23 1:00 AM
  • SHARPSHOOTER VERBALS TO DAUGHERTY
Katie Campbell, a senior at Oaks Christian High in Westlake Village, Calif., tweeted Friday on an official visit to Pullman that she has verbally committed to play her college ball for Washington State and June Daugherty. Last season the 5-11 guard averaged 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 steals, 2.3 assists and 1.5 blocks as a prep junior in 2014-15. She made 77 of 193 3-pointers (40 percent), including a school record 10 in one game. She was named first-team All-Area. Her prep coach has nicknamed her “Avatar” because of her long arms.

SEPT. 21 8:34 PM
  • LARRY SCOTT ON DIRECTV, LIVE STREAMING, ETC.
Jon Wilner, the San Jose Mercury News scribe who covers the business side of the Pac-12 closer than anyone on the planet, was in wonk heaven Saturday when Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott stopped by the press box at the Stanford-USC game. The result was a wide-ranging Q&A about the future of DirecTV negotiations and the integrity of the Pac-12 business model. HERE is the link to the story.

SEPT. 21 7:25 PM
  • COUGS OPEN FALL BASEBALL WORKOUTS
Washington State's baseball team held its first practice of the fall today under first-year head coach Marty Lees. The Cougars worked through baserunning and defensive drills before taking batting practice and scrimmaging, WSU said in a release.

SEPT. 21 7:19 PM
  • HOOPS: COUGAR WOMEN WILL BE TELEVISED
Washington State's women’s basketball team will appear on the Pac-12 Networks 14 times in the upcoming season, the school announced. The CouGals' TV slate will begin Dec. 8 when they host Gonzaga. Click HERE for the complete rundown.

SEPT. 21 12:20 PM
  • KICKOFF TIME SET AT BERKELEY
Washington State's next game, at Cal on Oct. 3, is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff with TV coverage on the Pac-12 Networks, WSU announced today. The Cougars have a bye this week. Following the Cal game, they hit the road for Eugene and then return to Pullman on Oct. 17 against Oregon State.

SEPT. 20 8:23 PM
  • WSU SOCCER FINALLY LOSES AFTER HISTORIC START
Washington State lost its first match of the season on Sunday afternoon, dropping their nonconference finale 2-0 to Portland. Washington State outshot the Pilots 14-10 but couldn't put one into the net. The Cougs were one of only three teams in the country without a tie or loss until Sunday, with the 7-0 mark representing the best start in program history. WSU opens Pac-12 play on Sept. 27 at Arizona State.

SEPT. 18 8:08 AM
  • DISH CUSTOMERS TO MISS KICKOFF OF WSU-WYOMING
WSU fans with DISH are apt to be throwing things at their TV on Saturday night. CF.C contacted the Pac-12 Networks and they contacted DISH and here's the scoop: the satellite operator plans to join the WSU-Wyoming game in progress, at or slightly before 6 p.m. The game kicks off at 5:30.

DISH says the issue is one of satellite capacity -- DISH has a number of other events going at the same time that soak up their resources, including their primary Pac-12 game in that window: Oregon State-San Jose State. DISH plans to go to the WSU-Wyoming game as soon as the capacity issues clear - by 6 p.m. and possibly earlier).

SEPT. 17 3:04 PM
  • KERNICH-DREW HAS NEW HOOPS TEAM
Former Washington State guard Dexter Kernich-Drew has signed with Minas in Brazil’s top pro basketball league. Minas plays in Belo Horizonte, a city of approximately 2.3 million located in southeastern Brazil.

Kernich-Drew returned to his native Australia after graduating from WSU last spring. Playing in a semipro league of sorts, Kernich-Drew averaged 22.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game for the Melbourne Tigers. – Howie Stalwick

SEPT. 17 12:16 AM
  • HEY DIRECTV, DAMN YOU TO HELL. LOVE, PAC-12 NETS
For more of the break down between DirecTV and the Pac-12 Networks, after media had reported it was all but done in light of DirecTV testing the channel, here's an illuminating podcast featuring the Santa Mercury News’ Jon Wilner. CLICK HERE FOR PODCAST, SCROLL AHEAD TO ABOUT 2:20.

SEPT. 16 1:27 PM
  • IF IT DIDN'T BEFORE, IT MAKES SENSE NOW
Scout.com's Jamie Newberg has broken down, by school, where every active, injured reserve and practice squad NFL player in 2015 comes from. The numbers illustrate the depth of WSU's woes over the past 10 years:

PAC-12
1. USC 42
2. Oregon 3 4
3. Stanford 31
4. Cal 28
5. UCLA 26
6. Utah 24
7. Oregon State 21
8. Washington 21
9. Arizona State 18
10. Colorado 11
11. Arizona 10
12. Washington State 9


SEPT. 16 12:52 PM
  • COUGS FAVORED BY MORE THAN THREE TDs
Washington State was installed Wednesday as a 24-point favorite over Wyoming. The Cougs play host to the Cowboys on Saturday evening out on the Palouse (5:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

SEPT. 16 9:09 AM
  • COUGS YO-YO IN NEWSPAPER'S RANKING
It's been like a yo-yo for Washington State this season in the USA Today's weekly re-rank. The Cougs soared upward 27 spots this week in the newspaper's ranking of all 128 FBS teams, settling in at No. 87. No school had a greater leap. Wazzu began the season at No. 84 in the paper's metric, plunged 30 spots after the loss to Portland State and now finds itself roughly where it was to begin the season.

SEPT. 15 10:22 AM
  • COUG KICKER NAMED GROZA STAR OF THE WEEK
Washington State kicker Erik Powell was named one of the Lou Groza Award Stars of the Week, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission announced. Powell, a third-year sophomore from Vancouver connected on all three of his field goal attempts (46, 47, 37) in Washington State’s comeback win at Rutgers. Three of the top kickers from the FBS are recognized each week.

SEPT. 14 1:26 PM
  • WSU-WYOMING TICKET UPDATE
Washington State has roughly 3,000 tickets remaining for Saturday's game vs. Wyoming (5:00 p.m.) Paul Finn, the director of ticket operations, tells Cougfan.com. There is a wealth of information on WSU’s ticket page including how to purchase single game Wyoming tickets or the new 48-hour plan, seating and more: CLICK HERE. Fans can always call 1-800-Go-Cougs if they need more help or want to buy over the phone.

SEPT. 14 1:15 PM
  • FUTURE COUGAR QB HAS ANOTHER BIG NIGHT
WSU verbal commit Cody Brewer of Corpus Christi, Texas, played a little more than two quarters in Flour Bluff High's 42-8 rout of Moody on Thursday, throwing for 170 yards, three TDs and one INT on 10 of 17 passing accuracy before giving way to his understudy. Brewer also rushed for 49 yards on eight carries. The interception -- his first of the season -- came on a 50-yard heave as the first half expired.

Flour Bluff will face Victoria West this week in a clash of district powerhouses. Through three games this season, Brewer has connected on 63 percent of his passes (51 of 81) for 604 yards and seven TDs.

SEPT. 13 5:01 PM
  • COUGAR SOCCER STILL PERFECT
Washington State's soccer team still hasn't lost a game. The Cougs moved to 6-0 on Sunday after a 2-1 win in double overtime against Cal State Fullerton. Senior Kourtney Guetlein scored the game winner, heading home a ball in the 103rd minute of play. WSU junior Kaitlyn Johnson found the back of the net in the 81st minute to tie the game 1-1 in a match that turned more physical in the second half. WSU plays host to Gonzaga on Thursday at 7 p.m. before traveling to Portland for a tilt on Sunday at 1 p.m.

SEPT. 11 5:30 PM
  • ALL 4 HOOPS TRANSFERS HAVE LANDED
All four transfers off last season’s Washington State basketball team have found new homes, according to various media and school reports.

Forward Aaron Cheatum and guard Marcus Graham transferred to NCAA Division II Cal State-Dominguez Hills and Seattle Pacific, respectively. Guards Jackie Davis and Trevor Dunbar transferred to noted junior college programs Odessa (Texas) and San Francisco, respectively.

All four players spent one season at WSU. Cheatum and Graham (the son of WSU assistant coach Greg Graham) were JC transfers; Davis and Dunbar were freshmen. Cheatum, Davis and Dunbar saw limited playing time, and Graham redshirted. – Howie Stalwick

SEPT. 11 11:27 AM
  • KLAY THOMPSON GREETS HERO
Former Washington State star Klay Thompson has delivered many heroic performances on the basketball court, but he saved his most dramatic performance for a real-life hero. Thompson appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” television show Tuesday night along with Spencer Stone, the U.S. Airman who helped subdue a gunman on a train in France last month.

After discovering that Stone is a fan of Thompson’s Golden State Warriors, it was arranged for Thompson to meet Stone on the TV show … and for Thompson to hand Stone the keys to a Chevrolet Camaro convertible (purchased by the show). Thompson also presented Stone with one of his jerseys and a Warriors 2015 NBA championship cap.
-- Howie Stalwick

SEPT. 10 7:40 PM
  • PAC-12 PRODUCES VIDEO TRIBUTE TO E-FLO
The Pac-12 is out with a five-minute video tribute to WSU President Elson Floyd, who passed away in June. It's a beautifully crafted salute to a man who elevated both his university and the state to higher levels of excellence. CLICK HERE to watch.

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