I just got down to Pullman and I haven’t had a chance to pick up my Evergreen. I hear I made it in the special edition, but just in case here is my whole submission to the paper regarding senior night:
I came to WSU the same year that Dick and Tony Bennett did. My friends and I stuck with the team for three losing seasons. We saw the unbearable loss to #1 Stanford, read the box score from the 81-29 loss to Oklahoma State, watched the team lose four consecutive games to the huskies, and fall in 14 of their last 16 games to close out the 2006 season.
Then, after a double-digit loss to Utah, something amazing happened. The Cougs overcame a 10 point lead from #18 Gonzaga, and never looked back. There wasn’t any hesitation on my part to rush the court, and when we did three years of bad memories and losses at the buzzer were history. We all know how the rest turned out – the first NCAA tournament in over a decade, the win over Oral Roberts, and the emergence of a team this year that has never dropped out of the Top 25.
I have to thank the team for never giving up. I especially want to thank the members of Bennett’s first recruiting class. They came to Pullman knowing the odds were against them and somehow overcame it all. Kyle Weaver has been incredible to watch and will be an absolute steal for the NBA team that drafts him. Derrick Low had games where he couldn’t miss and sports the best leg tattoo in the nation. Robbie Cowgill makes defense on guys that look twice his size seem effortless. Chris Henry was a force under the basket until injuries held him on to the bench for way too long. Daven Harmeling has been fun to watch, and the silver lining to his injury two years ago is that he’ll be back for one more season.
Most importantly, I want to thank Dick and Tony Bennett. Dick told the ZZU CRU prior to his last game that WSU was his favorite place out of all the universities he had coached in his long career. That to me sums up the Bennett era here. We never gave up on them, and they never gave up on the team or the university. I will always be grateful for that.
Projected starters (senior night):
Line: Washington State (-9)
Why the Cougs might win: Dick Bennett in attendance. Kyle Weaver, Derrick Low, and Robbie Cowgill’s last home game. It could be a special night.
Why the Huskies might win: “The Randy Green Effect”. The emotions of senior night can work both ways. In Green’s final game at home he was the lone senior. The Cougs came out in green-colored warmups. The stage was set – unfortunately Randy went 0 for 7 from the floor, with 6 of those misses from behind the arc. The Cougs lost 39-37, meaning you could make the argument that if he hit just one of those shots the game would’ve been won by WSU or gone to overtime.
X-Factor: Derrick Low. Could go for 4 points in this game. Could go for 40. It’s anyone’s guess, and here’s hoping it’s the latter.
Prediction: Washington State 69, Washington 54
Cal at UCLA
Stanford at USC (if the Cougars win)
Arizona State at Oregon State
Arizona at Oregon