CougCenter Has Arrived!

CougCenter.com

If you read Stadium Way or WSU Hoops regularly you may have noticed some recent hints involving a new blog. Well, Jeff Nusser and I have finally been able to combine forces and create a brand new SB Nation blog, CougCenter.

We’re incredibly excited about this, and I hope all of you out there are too. If you’re not familiar with SB Nation, just know that it rocks and has tons of great features that I could never dream of having here on WordPress.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Stadium Way over the six months of its existence. It’s been a fun ride and I’m stunned at how much my readership has grown in such a short time.

Head over to CougCenter, and as always…

GO COUGS!

Something to Ponder

ESPN’s Ivan Maisel on Rick Neuheisal:

We got it wrong all these years. Wrong. All of it.

Really?

Well at least the article doesn’t get weird or anything.

He is as handsome as ever. The only evidence that time has made a visit are the crow’s feet that frame his otherwise unlined face.

Oh.

Nevermind.

Read the whole article. Then tell me honestly if the exact same article, maybe with a couple minor tweaks, couldn’t have been written about Dennis Erickson when he agreed to return to Moscow to coach Idaho two years ago.

Meanwhile, from Beijing: America swept the gold, silver and bronze in the men’s 400m hurdles. This is the same competition that Jeshua Anderson attempted to make the Olympics in just a few weeks ago. Now we know what he was up against – and why his 8th fastest time in the U.S. trial semifinals was actually pretty awesome.

OT: Michael Phelps is Decent at Swimming

Hey – thanks NBC, for making me wait three hours to watch something that happened live at about 8:10 pacific time. Not to mention avoiding any site on the Internet or TV station that might give away the result early.

NBC is also to blame for the buzzkill during the next commercial break that featured a Phelps-specific Visa commercial (Morgan Freeman’s voice isn’t just for marching penguins) and another for some NBCPhelps video thing you can order. Personally I’m stunned – stunned – that we didn’t see Phelps record followed up by the record 244,583rd playing of the Sprite commercial where the basketball court turns into a swimming pool.

Don’t let the above paragraphs fool you. That was one of the most incredible sports moments we’ll ever experience. I was glad to be a witness to it.

A Bad Monday for WSU

Ok. Do you want the bad news, or the worse news, first?

The bad news first?

Per KHQ:

Kyle Weaver has been traded to the Oklahoma City Fighting Satans, for a second round pick.

Even though he’s a perfect fit for Larry Brown’s system, I can only assume Kyle was traded for one of the following two reasons: either the Bobcats didn’t think he’d make the opening night roster, or Larry Brown continues his blind hatred of rookies. Because, as I’m sure you’re aware, rookies never contribute anything valuable in any sport whatsoever.

The worse news:

Jeshua Anderson is expected to be out six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery to treat a hernia.

Now the pressure becomes even greater for Brandon Gibson and Daniel Blackledge, who lose the aid of the fastest man on the football team.

A silver lining: Nik Koprivica and Serbia won the Under-20 European Championships in basketball, defeating Lithuania 96-89. Koprivica, who captains the team, scored only five points in 11 minutes. More details in the link.

Update (6:30pm): If Anderson is out six to eight weeks, it means his earliest return would be 9/20 against Portland State (would probably only see a few snaps anyway), and the latest 10/4 at UCLA. Either way this comes out to a loss of about four to six games. That is bad news for the Cougs.

Should Coug Fans Boycott Dissmores?

Full disclosure: I love Dissmores.

The epicenter of Pullman’s Friday night beer runs and more reasonably priced alternative to Safeway, Dissmores has been a local institution for ages. When my Dad and I traveled down to Pullman during the 1997 season, the first sight we saw coming into town on Highway 27 was Bryan Hall Clocktower. The second: the 90s-inspired colored shapes and the red glowing lights of the Dissmores facade. We knew we had made it to Pullman.

And the people of Dissmores: awesome. I know from personal experience. And not just because Dissmores has become something of a de facto training ground for future College of Pharmacy students.

So why, then, would I walk into Dissmores on a sleepy Saturday in Pullman and see crimson and gray colored t-shirts displayed prominently inside the front door with this phrase:

“DON’T COUG IT!”

What. The. F***.

I’m sorry, Dissmores. There are only four reasons I can see for making this abomination of a t-shirt, only one of which I’m OK with (#3):

1. To sell t-shirts to Coug fans who will buy anything in any shade of red or gray with “coug” on it.

2. To anger Coug fans and inadvertently get word of mouth promotion. Remember, there’s no such thing as “bad press”. Why do you think SportsCenter still goes nuts over Terrell Owens?

3. To show that Coug fans have a sense of humor and can laugh at themselves, even over fourth quarter meltdowns by the football team.

4. To sell shirts to Husky fans.

Regarding #4, honestly, if I’m a Husky fan and I walk into the ‘smores on Apple Cup weekend, that shirt is the very first thing I buy. I don’t care what color it is.

Case in point: I was visting the U-district in Seattle with my fiancee and some friends. I had one goal when visiting the student bookstore: find one of those “all dirt roads lead to Pullman” bumper stickers. I didn’t care that it was purple with gold lettering. I loved it. It was funny and I actually take some pride in the fact that Pullman is in the middle of freaking nowhere (side note: it isn’t).

But this is different. This is like a QFC or whatever the heck they have in the U-district displaying purple and gold T-shirts that say “I support Jerramy Stevens”. Maybe not that bad, but you get the point.

This is Coug sacrilege. Ever since the nightmare that was the 2002 and 2003 Apple Cups, our sports teams have been trying desperately to erase the phrase “coug it” from the northwest vocabulary. And they’ve succeeded. Three out of four Apple Cups. Seven basketball wins in a row over the Huskies. Instead of being the team collapsing late in the game, we’re making other teams do it (I’m looking your way, Baylor football and basketball). “Coug it” is starting to go the way of the dodo bird.

Let’s think about just how big that phrase had become: it is on urban dictionary [link NSFW]. It has its own f-ing wikipedia page. Every time the Cougs lost any meaningful game, the following post (or a variation of it) could be found within minutes on the Cougfan forums:

“Haha you coogs cooged it LOL”

And it’s ridiculous. Every team in the history of the world has blown games. Even good teams. The NFL dynasty of the decade just did it in January. The 2001 Mariners blew what I remember now as a 27 run lead to the Indians in a regular season game. The Huskies have done it in 2 of the last 3 Apple Cups. I don’t see a shirt that says “don’t dawg it”. The Yankees (26 championships) did it to the 2001 Diamondbacks (0 championships). So saying only the Cougs blow games is both stupid and wrong.

And for those of you who think I’m blowing this out of proportion – I’m not. I don’t seriously think we should boycott Dissmores. I still love the place. I still highly recommend the Deli, bakery and well-stocked alcohol section.

However, if you buy that shirt, I will punch you in the face. If you have a friend that buys that shirt, they deserve to be punched in the face. It’s a nuisance of a shirt, and if you wear it to a football game I can only hope Andy Mattingly comes at you afterwards with a frying pan (too soon?). It’s quite possibly the worst t-shirt in the history of the world. Or at least second to the Ramones t-shirt that is currently being desecrated by tween-age pop starts.

When we propagate the mentality that “Coug it” is an OK phrase, that it is something specific to WSU, we make our school look worse and our teams lose confidence. It’s a mental thing. If you don’t think you can close out a game, you won’t. Look at poor Byung-Hyun Kim. In 2001 he was an up-and-coming talent in relief pitching. Two home runs in two consecutive world series games later, his career began a downward spiral to nowhereville. On March 25th of this year, he was cut by the Pirates. Think about that for a second.

So please: don’t buy this shirt. Or the hats. Yes, there are hats. Someone, presumably a “coug fan”, actually designed them.

The only reason the shirt might be OK is that third reason listed above, an even that doesn’t cut it for me. And I hope that was the reason, because it’s the only excuse that I’m willing to give to the designer.

Or buy it, and burn it. Actually wait a bit to burn it because we’ve had some problems with fire in the greater Spokane region recently. Either way it makes a great base of ashes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to wash my eyes out. And then cleanse them by watching this:

By the way, on any player outside of the quarterback, that’s a clean hit.

The Worst Logo in Sports

Deal with that, Joel. If that is your real name.

By the way, have I ever mentioned how much I love that blog template? And the SB Nation network it’s connected to? It’d sure be great to be a part of that…

An Early Look at the Basketball Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Exp. Hometown (Last School)
20 John Allen G 6-0 181 FR HS Brier, Wash. (Mountlake Terrace HS)
11 Aron Baynes C 6-10 270 SR 3V Cairns, Australia (Cairns State)
13 Fabian Boeke C 6-11 230 SO SQ Hamburg, Germany (Urspring Basketball Academy)
0 Marcus Capers G 6-4 172 FR HS Winter Haven, Fla. (Montverde Academy)
23 DeAngelo Casto PF 6-8 229 FR HS Spokane, Wash. (Ferris HS)
40 Charlie Enquist F 6-10 220 RS FR SQ Edmonds, Wash. (Kings HS)
52 Caleb Forrest F 6-8 228 SR 3V Pagosa Springs, Colo. (Pagosa Springs)
32 Daven Harmeling F 6-7 225 RS SR 4V Grand Junction, Colo. (Fruita Monument)
3 Mike Harthun SG 6-3 170 FR HS Medford, Ore. (South Medford HS)
4 Nikola Koprivica G 6-6 211 JR 2V Belgrade, Serbia (Sport Grammer School)
5 Abe Lodwick G 6-7 196 RS FR SQ Bend, Ore. (Mountain View)
10 Taylor Rochestie G 6-1 186 RS SR 2V Santa Barbara, Calif. (Tulane)
1 Klay Thompson SG 6-6 187 FR HS Ladera Ranch, Calif. (Santa Margarita Catholic HS)
14 James Watson PF 6-7 210 FR HS Atoka, Okla. (Stringtown HS)
44 Nick Witherill G 6-1 176 FR HS Phoenix, Ariz. (Highland HS)

The first thing that jumps out at me – three, count ‘em, three players from the state of Washington. OK, so maybe it should be expected that Washington State boasts a few players from the Evergreen State. But this is a big deal because it starts to show something that Dick Bennett predicted years ago. That is, as the Cougs improve, the circle from which they recruit will become smaller. Last year, coming off of a tournament appearance, the Cougs only had one player from in-state: Charlie Enquist. And he was on the bench getting a redshirt.

Now, the Cougs picked up a college-ready recruit from Spokane (DeAngelo Casto), and perhaps the steal of this past recruiting period in walk-on John Allen from Montlake Terrace. Don’t know Allen? Nuss at WSU Hoops has the inside information on the 6’1″ guard that could steal some minutes as early as this season.

The other thing you’ll notice is just how ridiculously young this team is. Nine freshmen on the fifteen man roster. If you count Fabian Boeke, there will be ten first-year players on this squad. Wow.

Enquist, Lodwick and Boeke do have a year of experience in practice, which is useful because they had to go head to head with Low, Weaver and Cowgill at the top of their games. However there is nothing in terms of actual game experience for these guys. The learning curve will be steep and it starts with the tough non-conference schedule.

Baynes, Forrest, Koprivica, Harmeling and Rochestie. Those are your five players with experience. Enough to make a good starting lineup, but not enough to make a whole rotation. So expect a lot of playing time for the Cougs’ freshmen.

Quickly, we’ll see if Tony’s philosophy is different from his father’s. Dick Bennett played anyone and everyone in his first two years in Pullman. Tony played essentially the same starting lineup every night in 2007-08. Will Tony stick with the rotation he sets at the beginning of the year? Will we see all fifteen players out on the court at some point this season? Will anyone redshirt? Can we afford to have anyone redshirt? Only time will tell.

Some questions for you: which frosh will have the biggest impact this year? Who will be the biggest surprise? Who would you redshirt? Don’t be afraid to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.