Hoops verbal: Tony lands another local gun

HIS DAD IS THE DISC JOCKEY, but one of the state's most exciting young basketballers is the guy spinning the music these days. And the melody? It's colored crimson. A lefthanded shooting guard, not yet a high school junior, gave his verbal pledge to Tony Bennett on Saturday, his mom told CF.C in an exclusive interview. His prep coach calls him an uncanny slasher with a chance to become special.

Shadle Park's Anthony Brown, a second-team All-Greater Spokane League pick last season, committed to Washington State yesterday while in Pullman for an advanced basketball camp.

"Anthony said his heart's in Pullman, with WSU," Angela told CF.C. "He really likes the style of play and the coaching staff. They were elated when he told them he wanted to be a Cougar."

Ironically, the 6-5, 192-pound Brown got his hardcourt start in Pullman, playing rec ball while a kindergartner at Jefferson Elementary School.

The long lefthander asked Bennett and staff if they had time to chat on Saturday, said his 5-foot-5 mom, who joined her son at the meeting. "They (the coaches) didn't have any idea he was there to commit.

"Coach Bennett had made a scholarship offer back in February," said Angela, a WSU graduate who serves as the school's development director for student affairs, equality and diversity issues. "Anthony wanted to think things through, which we've always encouraged him to do. There was no pushing from me -– but I was biting my tongue," she joked.


"We're a Cougar family," she said. Anthony was flattered by overtures from Gonzaga, Oregon State and others, but "he told me, ‘My heart's in Pullman.'"

His mom said he genuinely loves basketball and works hard at improving his game.

He will be part of WSU's class enrolling in the fall of 2009. The soonest he can sign a letter of intent is November 2008.

He carries a 3.0 GPA.

Brown becomes the second in-state underclassman and third Pacific Northwest product to commit to the Cougars in the last four months. Patrick Simon, a 6-7 forward who just completed his freshman season at Ephrata High, verballed in February. South Medford (Oregon) High guard Michael Harthun, rated one of the top 100 prep prospects in the nation for 2008, orally committed with WSU last month. He just finished his junior season.

SHADLE PARK HEAD COACH Tim Gaebe is unequivocal in his praise of Brown, who averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Highlanders (19-9) last season.

"He's got all the gifts and abilities –- he's long, lefty, athletic, and he's getting better and better. Now if he lifts the weights and continues to work at his game he has a chance to be a really special player," Gaebe said. "He's really excited about going to Pullman with Tony Bennett and the crew.

"Anthony is an exciting player to watch. He's really good at slashing and getting to the basket –- his body balancing and maneuverability is uncanny. That's been his forte up to now, but he's really improving his rebounding and ball handling.

"We've played three tournaments already this summer, plus he's playing AAU ball, and his ball handling has improved immensely -– he'll be a 2-3 combo in college so that's critical. He's also getting better defensively and shooting the 3 well."

Brown is more than an athlete, Gaebe adds. "He's a solid student with a warm smile and a personality people like to be around. He's a fun kid, a great kid."


• Brown's dad, Tony, was a high jumper at Spokane's Mead High and then at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, but he wasn't a hooper. He now runs a series of record stores in Spokane and serves as a DJ at one of the local radio stations.

• Angela is in her second stint at WSU, coming on as a development director in 2006. She previously worked in the admissions office at WSU from 1995-98.

• One of Gaebe's assistant coaches at Shadle is Shane Doyle, a mainstay on the defensive line of WSU's 1998 Rose Bowl team.

• The last Shadle Park product who played basketball for WSU was Rob Corkrum, a forward who started 49 games for Kelvin Sampson's Cougs between 1991-94. He played professionally overseas for many years before becoming an Olympia police officer. Gaebe says Corkrum has been, and may still be, deployed in Iraq with his National Guard unit.


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