Cole Morgan Goes West; Jeshua Falls Short

cmCole Morgan is transferring to Western Washington University, as reported by the Seattle Times on Saturday.

What does it all mean for Cougar football? Well, not much. Quarterback is one of the few positions on either side of the ball this year where there will be depth. This certainly solidifies Gary Rogers as the favorite to take the ball in 2008, with Kevin Lopina and Marshall Lobbestael in line for the future.

The good news for Cole is that he can play right away at Western, because it is a lower division school and therefore has no transfer penalty. The Times suggests he will challenge WWU Senior Adam Perry for the starting job there. My prediction is that Morgan will win the job – he still has a gifted arm and good enough poise in the pocket to do well at any level of college football.

Jeshua Anderson fell just shy of Beijing in the 400m hurdles at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene. He placed fifth in the a semi-final heat where only the top four were set to advance. The silver lining is that Anderson will still be blazing past defensive backs this fall for the Cougar offense (which takes the field in just 60 days).


Low Gets a Shot With the Mavs

Derrick Low has been invited to play on the Dallas Mavericks’ summer team, as reported by the Honolulu Advertiser.

The article notes that he could be the first native Hawaiian to make a NBA roster since the 1950s(!).

Also, the winner of the Kyle Weaver draft projection contest is DraftExpress, who picked Kyle at 39th overall, just one spot after he was actually selected.

Kyle Weaver, Charlotte Bobcat

bobbiesI cannot tell you how frustrating it is to watch your favorite NBA team gloss over your favorite college player not once, not twice, but three times in the exact area he was projected to be drafted. The Blazers had picks #27, #33 and #36. Weaver ends up at #38 – a perfect fit for Larry Brown, which will be about as smooth a transition from Bennett Ball as you can find in the NBA.

Weaver is now a teammate of former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison (although you have to wonder if Morrison is on the trading block, seeing as he’s the exact opposite of Larry Brown’s style). He joins a Bobcats team that is relatively young and not very deep at the guard position. I’m also excited at the prospect of watching Kyle D up on 5’5″ Earl Boykins in practice. [By the way, I’m one of the few Cougar/Husky fans on Earth that is actually a fan of Adam Morrison, and I still get upset when people call him a bust]

It should be a good fit for Kyle, and Cougar Nation wishes him all the best.

Update: was just reminded on the Cougfan forums that Tony Bennett played in Charlotte (although not for the same franchise). Awesome.

Go Bobcats.

Pre-Draft Predictions for Weaver

Chad Ford, ESPN.comRd 2, 32nd overall, Seattle. I can’t tell you how much I hope this is wrong. Seeing as how he lists Kyle as a point guard, it’s obvious Ford isn’t the most informed person on the situation. Also remember that Ford had dropped Weaver off of the draft board as little as two months ago. And Clay Bennett: I will hunt you down and destroy you if you draft Kyle, and that is a written threat.

Vince Grippi, Spokesman-Review – Rd 1, 27th overall (or Rd 2, 33rd overall), Portland. Full disclosure: I’m a Blazer fan, so this would be a dream come true. It also makes a ton of sense for the Blazers’ organization, and apparently Nate McMillan loves him.

NBADraft.netRd 2, 34th overall, LA Clippers. The only way I would ever buy a Clippers jersey.

DraftExpress – Rd 2, 39th overall, Chicago

CollegeHoops.netRd 2, 47th overall, Washington – clearly not a reliable source

There have been numerous other mocks, but few with the cajones to pick the second round, where most souces put Kyle right now. My pick:

Stadium Way: Rd 1, 27th overall, Portland – here’s hoping that Kyle is the reason the Blazers made the trade with New Orleans for #27.

And for Derrick Low: Undrafted free agent, New Jersey Nets

Offseason Video of the Week

Special Draft Day Edition as I get my riot gear together just in case the Sonics draft Kyle Weaver.

This one is courtesy of Grdgez23 on Youtube.

Xavier Thames is a Cougar

xtXavier Thames is the latest WSU basketball commit for 2009. Ranked as the #19 point guard in the nation, Thames will no doubt ease the loss of Taylor Rochestie following this upcoming season.

However… there are some interesting comments that Thames makes in the article I linked to:

“We talked about how they’re going to look to get up and down a lot more with guys like Klay (Thompson), (DeAngelo Casto and James Watson) coming in — even with playing the defense that they do,” said Thames.

Not a huge shock – I just hope that Xavier understands the Cougs aren’t likely to become the Phoenix Suns anytime soon. Still, we know that Tony’s approach on offense is different than his father’s in (at least) two ways. First, he is more willing to give players the green light to shoot early in the shot clock. Second, Tony is more likely to let his teams look for opportunities in transition. This statement from Thames is huge in that we now know that Tony is looking to push the tempo even more than he has the past two seasons. It’s a very interesting comment for the future of the program.

“Coach Bennett and coach Sanchez, those guys, I have a lot of faith in them. They’re good people. And it’s a good program. They said they’re looking for me to come in and play right away, if not starting then to get a lot of minutes and help the team out and he said he was excited about that, and I’m really excited too.”

Normally I’m concerned when coaches promise playing time, but the fact of the matter is we’ll need Thames in 2009. Rochestie is staring down 35 minutes a night this season, and beyond that there is no clear replacement. If Xavier keeps on working, he could find himself earning a lot of minutes and possibly even a starter’s job.

This kid is an exceptional player and a wonderful fit for the WSU program. He even has his own webpage! Thames is a guard in the same mold as a Mac Hopson and possibly even a Josh Akognon in terms of shooting the ball. Most sources also say he is versatile enough to play the 1 or the 2. Either way he is the kind of player that WSU had no chance of getting five years ago. A huge commit for the Cougs.

This is Why We Love Tony Bennett

I cannot tell you how refreshing it is, soon after going on a mini-tirade about why character is important, to see Tony Bennett give this response on his chat this afternoon:

Pullman: Character seems incredibly important to you, if not, the most important aspect of an athlete: would you sacrifice raw talent w/out character for an athlete who has less athletic ability (still a good athlete), but impeccable character? Why? Why not? Please explain.

Tony Bennett: No I wouldn’t. When you are building a program you cannot take a short cut on character. When you do, more times than not, it will end up hurting your program in the long run.

Read the whole chat; there’s lots of goodies in there, although TB skirts the questions regarding playing time and the starting lineup (c’mon Tony, we already know Taylor and Baynes are locks).

I would’ve liked to see Tony address the who-gets-the-last-scholarship question, but it’s from a selfish standpoint, so that I can update the scholly chart (see links above). I still think Enquist gets the scholarship, and Rochestie and Allen are the “walk-ons” for 08-09.

The great thing about Tony is that even in his chats he has a grounded, humble attitude. There are no pleas for financial support (mainly thanks for what has already been given), and he is repetitively thankful for the support WSU gives him. And he’ll need it as the Cougars enter the upcoming season with one of the youngest squads in the nation.

Side note: only 66 days until football season.