Rochestie is apple of this radio gal's eye

TONY BENNETT MAY PUT a swoon in the collective step of Washington State's female faithful. And ever-smiling Kyle Weaver may be the younger, braided version of Billy Dee Williams. But it's the shortest guy on the team, point guard Taylor Rochestie, who was the center of affection Monday morning on Seattle radio when the discussion on KJR-AM turned to the station's "Ultimate Sports Crush" contest.

Tracy Taylor, KJR's mellifluous traffic announcer, was asked by host Mitch Levy who her "ultimate sports crush" was this Valentine's week, and she didn't hesitate in her response.


WSU's very own Taylor Rochestie.

Contacted by later in the morning, the personable 31-year-old Taylor was unabashed in her praise of the 22-year-old junior from Santa Barbara, Calif.

"God he's cute. He looks like a guy I dated in high school," she explained. "Taylor gives off the impression as one of the most easy-going guys, on and off the court. He never loses his cool."

Asked about the more usual heart-throb suspects, Bennett and Weaver, she was complimentary. But not effusive.

"Tony Bennett is cute and all, but not like Taylor. And Kyle has such a great smile. I think they're both great, but there's really nothing you can't love about Taylor."

She noted that the "Ultimate Sports Crush" contest –- in which only females can participate -- has received two essays so far detailing the virtues of Weaver. None has arrived, at least not yet, on Bennett or Rochestie.


And Taylor can't submit a formal application because, of course, she works for the station.

A QUICK LOOK AT the bios of Taylor and Rochestie suggests there's more than just nine years standing between them. WSU's media guide says Rochestie likes to spend free time watching movies and going to the beach. KJR's web page says Taylor likes to fish, snow ski and wakeboard.

Alas, there's another issue.

It turns out that Taylor's familiarity with the Cougs stems from her real-life Valentine -- WSU graduate and devout Cougar fan Brett Nelsen.

Between him and the fact Taylor is a Spokane native -– where crimson pride wears off on you even if you didn't go to school in Pullman -– she's become an astute observer of the Cougar sports scene, she says.

So what's Brett think about her affinity for Rochestie?

"He just found out this morning," Taylor laughs. "We're secure enough in our relationship that I don't think he's too concerned."

Rochestie, thankfully, not only looks good but plays good as well. He's averaging 9.3 points per game and leads the Pac-10 in assists with 117 (5.09 per game).


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