Offseason Video of the Week

Not Coug related; but still worth the watch. The Spokane Chiefs celebrating their win of the Memorial Cup, junior hockey’s most coveted prize. Dropping the trophy is hilarious enough, but then picking it up and trying to put the cup back on the stand is just as entertaining.

News and Notes 5/30

Posting has been a little light this week – combination of a slow news week and working on another Cougfan article.

Head on over to WSU Hoops for the most comprehensive info on walk-on recruit John Allen of Montlake Terrace. If he makes the 15-man roster, I believe that it all but assures Charlie Enquist of another season on scholarship. I’m leaving the scholarship chart as-is until we get some concrete info from the program, because walk-ons that don’t make the roster just end up on the practice squad (and therefore don’t affect the scholly chart). (Edit: I still would expect Allen to make the roster for this fall)

Cougar football cut ties with QB recruit Calvin Schmitdke, the Lakes High star who has been drawing some hype from people close to the school. It’s unfortunate, and probably related to the numerous, albeit minor, legal problems Schmitdke has come across recently.

Otherwise, if you’re looking for some reading to keep you occupied, check out one blogger’s quest for the ESPN.com “featured comment of the day”. Also, Bill Simmons has a blogspot blog as part of what appears to be a passive-aggressive quarrel with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. If baseball is more of you’re thing, it’s always entertaining to witness the meltdown on USS Mariner as the M’s work to avoid being the worst team in baseball. Bill Bavasi has to be toast at this point, right?

OT: ESPN Fiddles While the Sonics Burn

One of the key privileges of being a member of the media is that you have the power to fight an injustice. That’s why there are “investigative reporters”. It’s why there are the 60 Minutes and Dateline NBCs of the world. From Edward R. Murrow to Carl Monday, media members have a desire, perhaps even an obligation, to report what they believe are wrongdoings, no matter how trivial they may seem.

So if you were a member of a sports information network so huge that you proclaim yourself, I don’t know, “The Worldwide Leader in Sports”, you would feel an obligation to fight a sports injustice. Right?

Well, not if you’re ESPN, who continues to gloss over the ever-worsening situation with the Seattle Supersonics.

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Hardwood Classic Opponent Revealed

Get ready for December 13th, where the Cougs play the Hardwood Classic in Seattle against… the Bobcats!!

That’s right. Adam Morrison returns to Washington. It’s Emeka Okafor against Aron Baynes. Michael Jordan’s NBA team against Tony Bennett’s rising NCAA squad. Must see TV at the KeyArena (the worst sports venue in the history of the world, according to David Stern!).

Wait, what’s that?

The Montana State Bobcats?

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The Elusive National Championship

If you’re like me, you’re hoping the Cougars can take home a NCAA title in something this year. Well, the best chance belongs to the #4 Washington State women’s rowing team, who qualified for the NCAA championships on Tuesday.

In terms of the “major” sports, it’s been a long drought, but here’s how I rank the chances of a title for the Cougs’ squads going into the future:

Men’s basketball
Baseball
Women’s basketball
Football

Men’s basketball has the lead, for obvious reasons. Baseball has the advantage of a wacky postseason, in addition to the very good recruiting work by coach Donnie Marbut. Women’s basketball will be on its way with Daugherty’s first class coming in.

As for football…. well, this is the hardest title to win for us, especially being in the same conference as USC. Add to that the poor state of the program under Doba, and Wulff has some rebuilding to do before we begin thinking of anything big. It’s worth noting that I think a football title is the most coveted among Cougar fans, but I have a feeling we’ll take one in basketball too.

The Stadium Way BCS Playoff Proposal

ESPN has gotten itself all excited over the ten-year anniversary of the BCS, featuring dueling columns on the front page by Pat Forde and Ivan Maisel. Forde presents the always easy-to-formulate anti-BCS column, and Maisel plays Devil’s advocate literally by defending the money grubbing heads of the NCAA in Indianapolis (OK, that’s an unfair criticism, but it is not without some merit).

I agree with Forde on most points, including the general idea of an eight-team playoff. I’m into specifics though, and the playoff system I’ve formulated makes so much sense I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. This one keeps the Bowl system intact, adds only two weeks of football to the schedule (over Christmas break where there isn’t football anyway), and gives college football a legit national champion.

The only criticism I can see with this system is that it only allows a maximum of one team from each conference to compete in the playoff: The conference champion. But doesn’t it make a whole heck of a lot of sense that you shouldn’t be allowed to win a national championship if you can’t win your own conference? Forget the pros where divisions change so frequently and the playoffs are such a change of pace that wild-card teams often end up with a title. In college, you can’t tell me that a non-championship Nebraska team deserved to be in the Rose Bowl playing Miami for a title in 2002 while the Pac-10 champion Ducks of Oregon were shelved in Tempe for the Fiesta Bowl. No more gray area. If you can’t win you’re conference, you can’t win a national championship. Simple as that.

Without further ado, let’s get to the system. Here’s who qualifies:

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Casto Passes the Test

Cougfan is reporting that DeAngelo Casto performed well on a recent ACT, and is officially off to WSU assuming he finishes up his high school course work.

This is encouraging news – I tried to touch on this a little in my APR piece, but this shows why Tony Bennett and the Cougar coaching staff were so high on DeAngelo Casto, despite some of the academic concerns many fans have brought up. The goal for WSU sports teams should be either to bring in players who are already academically talented, or players who are ready and willing to work in that department. With his performance on the ACT it appears the coaches have found a kid who is motivated to perform off the court so that he can play at the Pac-10 level. That’s wonderful news both for Casto and WSU.

Casto is one 2008 recruit that I’ve had a good look at, in part because he kept getting Ferris into the state championship game and therefore onto FSN. The Washington State 4A level is no cakewalk; it has numerous players that are athletic and bound for college ball at all levels. The Greater Spokane league, a mixed 3A/4A venture, has produced all sorts of talented collegiate prospects including Adam Morrison, Sean Mallon, and Josh Heytvelt. Casto was a star in that league, but unlike the others I mentioned, is going somewhere other than Gonzaga. The quality of play in Spokane is such that we can tell Casto is a player that is easily skilled enough to make a college roster. Don’t listen to the recruiting rankings, this is a three or four-star player being listed on many sources as a two.

That’s good news for the Cougs, because Casto has the look of a sure-fire Pac-10 player, with huge athleticism, the ability to block shots, and a huge defensive presence. At 6’8″, 240, Casto will have the ability to body up against some of the most skilled big men in the conference. Under the development of Tony Bennett one can only expect his defense to get stronger. On offense he could develop into a powerful player by his ability to get to the basket and score from multiple angles. He was a man among boys in high school, and what will define his transition to college will be whether or not he can match up with players his own size.

Still, Casto is more refined already than Ivory Clark was when he joined the Cougs. Clark excelled under Tony’s system, and was missed this year when Cowgill was left as the only athletic shot-blocker the Cougs could utilize in the paint. Casto has the potential to be a star. However, it is only potential until he puts in the work necessary to win in the classroom and on Friel Court. For now, he’s put in the work off the court, and it could be the start of something great for WSU.