Gonzaga draftees make history in more ways than one

Gonzaga draftees make history in more ways than one

Basketball fans around the country may still not know that Gonzaga University is nestled away in Spokane, Washington. And, they may not know how to properly pronounce Gonzaga or Spokane, but NCAA and NBA fans do know that the Zags have produced some NBA level talent and have been a force to be reckoned with come March.

Twenty-four Gonzaga players have now been drafted to play at the next level and eight of those NBA draftees have come in the last 10 years.

Gonzaga Forward Rui Hachimura made history this year.

Hachimura became the first Japanese player ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft, when he was picked No. 9 overall to the Washington Wizards.

The son of a Japanese mother and a father from the West African nation of Benin, Hachimura's athleticism did not go unnoticed in his three years as a bulldog. The 21-year-old averaged 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists his junior year.

This year’s draft marked the first time in program history that the Zags produced two first-round picks with Hachimura and teammate Brandon Clarke.

Clarke started 36-of-37 games last season for the Bulldogs, averaging 16.9 points per game and 8.6 rebounds. He also became Gonzaga’s all-time leader for blocks in the season, with 117.

The Phoenix native was drafted 21st overall by Memphis, after the Grizzlies acquired the pick in a draft-night trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The last time a West Coast Conference team had a pair of first-round picks was back in 1978 when the San Francisco Dons’ James Hardy was selected 11th and Winford Boynes was taken at No. 13.

As for Gonzaga, the program has produced seven first-rounders overall.

GU has had two players selected in the same draft twice. The most recent draft was in 2017 with Trail Blazers lottery pick Zach Collins and second-rounder Nigel Williams-Goss.

Gonzaga’s Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins went undrafted this year. However, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Norvell will reportedly sign a 10-day contract with the Charlotte Hornets. While Perkins has reportedly agreed to a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN.

Paying college athletes for their likeness could bring a calamity of unintended consequences

Paying college athletes for their likeness could bring a calamity of unintended consequences

Now that the Oregon legislature is busily pushing through a bill that would allow college athletes in the state to be compensated for their image, name and likeness, it’s a good time to remind everyone that the NCAA has already made a major shift to allow that very thing in its three divisions.

In October, the major governing body for intercollegiate athletics announced a plan for compensation and asked its three divisions to come up with their own rules about how to implement the compensation.

There were two basic precepts to its proposal:

  • The organization’s top governing board voted unanimously to allow college athletes to be compensated, though the NCAA’s three divisions must still craft their own rules and detail the specifics.
  • Student-athletes must be treated similarly to non-athlete students, must not be treated like employees of their respective universities, and there should be a “clear distinction between college and professional opportunities,” the NCAA said. 

A big concern of both parties in this situation is whether to actually make athletes employees of their universities. Doing so would allow them to unionize and probably make them eligible for other benefits, but at the same time possibly make their scholarships and cost of attendance taxable.

Cost of attendance was given to athletes a few years ago and it has allowed them to receive money for incidental expenses of attending college that can rise up to several thousand dollars. And by the way, for all those people out there still saying athletes don't have money in their pockets, this stipend does make a difference.

While the NCAA is always portrayed as the villain that continues to exploit college athletes, it’s important to point out there are legitimate reasons for having strict rules and enforcement of such rules in regard to payments of athletes.

A level playing field is critical to competition and when the big-time football and basketball schools are enabled to funnel money to their athletes, it will open revenue streams that may be impossible to regulate.

What would an Alabama football player -- not just a star quarterback, but a lineman -- be able to earn on his likeness compared to one at California or Washington State? And what is the potential for abuse of this situation?

This thing sounds like something the University of Oregon athletic department would love and the rest of the Pac-12 would not. That Nike connection might come in handy for likeness and image purposes.

This could lead to some very distinct recruiting advantages that I’m not sure all colleges -- including the ones in Oregon -- would want to sign off on. I think there is an answer somewhere to how this could be fairly handled but I haven’t seen it so far. What I see is a hot mess made even hotter by the participation of state governments all over the country, with each state passing differing laws.

Bottom line: if athletes are to get money out of their participation in college sports, fine. But let’s have uniform rules -- not something done state-by-state -- for all of those universities and figure out a way to enforce them. 

If not, we’re talking about ushering in an athletic calamity of unintended consequences.

Portland Pilots cruise past Geoducks

Portland Pilots

Portland Pilots cruise past Geoducks

Jacob Tryon recorded his second double-double of the season and Portland raced to a 77-55 victory over Evergreen State on Friday night in a non-conference basketball game at the Chiles Center.
Isaiah White had a game-high 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Pilots (7-3). Freshman point guard Chase Adams tallied a season-high 14 points, while junior guard Malcolm Porter added 12 points six rebounds and six assists.Portland sophomore center Theo Akwuba made his season debut and finished with eight points and five rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench.
The Pilots used a 21-0 run midway through the second half to pull away.  
The Geoducks, a NAIA team from the Cascade Collegiate Conference, were held to 17 second half points and 33 percent shooting for the game.
Evergreen State put up a fight early and trailed by just a 44-38 margin at the half, thanks to knocking down 10-of-24 three-pointers in the opening period. The Pilots held Evergreen to 1-for-15 from beyond the arc after the break.
Portland gained a 52-31 rebounding advantage and had a 46-16 margin in points in the paint. The Pilots shot 46 percent overall for the game.
The Pilots jumped out to an early 14-point lead, but the Geoducks rallied with an 8-0 run to pull within one. White buried a three-pointer just before the half to give the Pilots a 44-38 lead at halftime.
Portland continues its three-game homestand on Monday night against Florida A&M at 7 p.m. The Pilots will then have a doubleheader on Thursday with the women hosting Willamette at 5 p.m. followed by the men against Jackson State at 7:30 p.m. 

Mike Leach goes off on reporter after 7th straight Apple Cup loss


Mike Leach goes off on reporter after 7th straight Apple Cup loss

Chris Petersen continues to have Mike Leach's number. In fact, Washington has never lost to WSU with Petersen at the helm. 

The Washington Huskies once again shut down Mike Leach's air raid attack to clinch a 31-13 win in the 112th Apple Cup on Friday.

The Cougars finish their season 6-6, the Huskies close the season 7-5. 

After the game, head coach Mike Leach was... unhappy. Or, maybe, unapologetically himself.  

Leach speculated that UW's better recruiting classes had something to do with it. But, when pressed by John Blanchette, columnist for The Spokesman-Review about whether he wasn't supposed to beat teams with better recruiting classes, Leach said this:

I don’t really care to have a big discussion with you (Blanchette) on it, because I don’t really care what you think. You know, you run your mouth in your little column and stuff like some sanctimonious troll. You’ve never been fair-handed with us. So, I really don’t care what you think. Ok? Go ahead, because you’re going to write some nasty stuff like you always do. And, I don’t know which Coug did something back when that offended you, and I really don’t care about that, either. But, you can live your little meager life in your little hole and write nasty things. And if that makes you feel even, you can go right ahead. 

It’s unknown exactly what set Leach off on Blanchette. Possibly, a previous column where he wrote “Whatever you choose to call it, Washington State shows lack of electricity.”

“This was mostly #Pac12Afterthought for the Cougs, Blanchette wrote. “Generally feckless on defense, curiously flat on offense. And soft.”

Blanchette has yet to comment publicly on Twitter since his run-in with Leach. We’ll keep you posted. 

Young Florida State fan uses lemonade stand to fund Willie Taggart buyout

USA Today

Young Florida State fan uses lemonade stand to fund Willie Taggart buyout

How much are you willing to spend for a glass of lemonade? 10 cents? 25 cents? a dollar? How about a 20 spot? $20, that's what a young Florida State fan was charging people for a glass. But there was a reason for the high-priced refreshment. Four-year-old Grayton Grant opened up a pop-up stand hoping that sales of his lemonade could bring in enough cash to fund the buyout of head coach Willie Taggert. Taggart is due to make $30 million this season, while Grant pulled in just $241 dollars. He may have fallen short of his goal, but that didn't stop him from putting the money to use. 

According to a story published by the Tallahassee Democrat, Daniel Grant, Grayton's father, matched his son's total and together they sent a $482 check to Florida State marked  “Taggart Buy Out!” 

That's not all. Grant also wrote a letter to the university that read “I am tired of losing football games and being made fun of at school for being a Seminole fan. At four, I am already starting to gravitate towards the color orange. You don’t want that for an innocent kid like me….” 

For those of you not in tune with college football, Orange is the school color of Florida State's biggest rival, the Florida Gators. It's also the color of the pen Grant used to sign his letter. That's a deep cut. 

Of course, the letter was all tongue-in-cheek. Nothing can really come between a fan and their favorite school, and it's what makes college sports so great.

Taggart is remembered in the Northwest as the former coach of the Oregon Ducks. Taggart spent just one year at the helm before bolting for his dream job with the Seminoles. Taggart when 7-5 in his lone season with the Ducks, and is 6-9 in his time with Florida State. 

The Bridge Podcast: Eugene native and former WSU QB Alex Brink


The Bridge Podcast: Eugene native and former WSU QB Alex Brink

Host Justin Myers sits down with former Washington State Cougars quarterback Alex Brink. Brink recounts his college career in Pullman and what it was like playing in the Pac-12 as a starting quarterback.

Also, Brink talks about his transition into broadcasting for the Cougars and life post-football.

You can listen to the podcast below!

Are Ducks more potent, Beavers better, Viks tired of Missions Almost Impossible?

Are Ducks more potent, Beavers better, Viks tired of Missions Almost Impossible?

Opening weekend, finally, for our area’s college football teams and I’m happy about that – primarily because stories from “fall camp” (even when it’s nowhere close to fall) are usually just a combination of hopeful hype and injury reports with little real news. I know, because I used to write those stories. Anyway, just a few random thoughts about the Ducks, Beavers and Vikings leading into Week 1:

  • Yes, I know bowl games are different than regular season games and not necessarily an indication of what’s to come for a team in the following season. But when I think about the Ducks and the upcoming year, it’s pretty hard for me to get the Redbox Bowl out of my mind. And I also understand that if you’re an Oregon football fan, you probably flushed that game out of your memory bank the day after that debacle. Certainly, pollsters don’t remember it, or I don’t think they’d be voting the Ducks as high as 11th in the AP preseason poll. But seriously, UO rushed for 37 yards on 27 carries and had only 11 first downs. Oregon won 7-6 against Michigan State. I saw that game as a summary of the season on offense for the Ducks. They underachieved with the ball, especially considering they had a quarterback who was touted as a Heisman candidate at the start of the season. I would hope they would make better use of Justin Herbert this year.
  • Oregon State has a long way to go from where it was last season just to become a respectable college football team. I am optimistic that Jonathan Smith can engineer a turnaround, but I don’t expect it to happen overnight. Can the Beavers upset Oklahoma State Friday night? I doubt it, but I also think they have their best chance to win early in the season, before the inevitable injuries start to pile up. Depth is going to be a problem, as it always is, for schools trying to make the climb from the bottom to even the middle of Power-5 conferences. It’s hard for them to recruit enough quality starters, let alone bench players, at this point of their development.
  • The prime funding mechanism for some FCS football programs has become sending their teams on Missions Almost Impossible to FBS schools, scooping up six-figure guarantees in exchange for playing the role of patsy for those higher-level teams. Meet Portland State football. The Vikings this year open their season at Arkansas and then also play on the road at Boise State. For Viking players, the only good thing about a game at Arkansas is they don’t have to undergo a long bus ride. I assume they will fly, as opposed to those long motor coach rides to other away games during the season. I realize that a few years ago PSU traveled to Pullman and upset Washington State. Stuff happens. But for me, there is something unseemly about a system that requires players to take a beating from more powerful schools, just for a paycheck they don’t get to share. But good luck, Vikings, stay healthy and remember, the Razorbacks went 2-10 last season, including a home loss to North Texas.

Portland State athlete killed in NE Portland shooting, two others injured


Portland State athlete killed in NE Portland shooting, two others injured

News outlets in the Portland area are reporting a shooting in Northeast Portland has ended with a fatality and two others injured. 

The man who died has been identified as Deante Strickland who was a two-sport athlete at Portland State University playing on both the basketball and football teams. 

Portland State Athletic Director Valerie Cleary released the following statement from the University:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Deante. He represented everything it means to be a Viking in his hometown of Portland. He will forever be remembered for his character, determination and warm smile. Our prayers go out to his family and friends."

Strickland was a local, a graduate of Central Catholic High School and was studying Social Science at PSU. 

Update on the shooting from KGW:

You can read more about the tragic event at the following links:

KGW News


Portland State University 

Death takes Portland State Hall of Fame coach, athletic director Roy Love

Portland State University

Death takes Portland State Hall of Fame coach, athletic director Roy Love

The Portland sports community lost an all-time great this week, with the death of Roy Love.

Love, 82, passed away Monday at his home in Tigard and had dedicated a good part of his life to athletics at Portland State University.

He has been a mentor and a friend of mine throughout much of my life.

A Cleveland High School graduate, Love was a pitcher on Portland State’s baseball team from 1955-59 and then its head baseball coach from 1962-74. During that time, he spent five seasons as an assistant football coach and was also a golf coach at the university. He became the athletic director at PSU from 1975-86 and then after a short retirement, returned to the same position from 1988-93.

First and foremost, though, he was a baseball coach. He compiled a 257-215 record over 13 seasons and had eight teams in postseason play. His 1967 team won the pacific coast NCAA College Division championship – a division that no longer exists and one that did not have playoffs that extended beyond the regional level. His 1962 team finished second in the nation at the NAIA level.

He was old school, a fiery leader who didn’t hold anything back with his players or the men charged with umpiring his games. He was the kind of coach who pushed hard and often his players didn’t realize how impactful he was on their lives until later – when they looked back and realized how much he cared about them and what his discipline taught them.

He was also the long-time co-director of the popular Metro Baseball Camp at Alpenrose Dairy, where he worked with thousands of the area's Little League players.

During his tenure as AD, PSU teams won four national championships in volleyball and two in wrestling, five league championships in football and many others in baseball and women’s basketball.

Portland State moved up from NAIA through NCAA college division, Division II and Division 1-AA. He was inducted into the Portland State Hall of Fame and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame.

He was also known for his ability to find and lure high-quality coaches to PSU, which didn’t exactly have a lot of money to pay its coaches. His coaching hires included Mouse Davis, Don Read, Pokey Allen, Jack Dunn, Jeff Mozzochi, Teri Mariani, Marlin Grahn and Greg Bruce.

And on a personal level, I would add that he once hired me to be his junior varsity baseball coach – putting his faith in a young guy who would be coaching players older than he was. I’m not sure I would have finished college without that job.

Roy was a personal mentor and a role model, a man who often advised his players with just two words to guide them on and off the field – “Do right,” he would say.

And Roy Love himself always did that. He was a great coach, a great leader and a great man.


A celebration of life will take place in mid-July, with details announced later.

What They’re Saying: The Ducks are the team to watch in the NCAA Women's Final Four

NBCS Northwest

What They’re Saying: The Ducks are the team to watch in the NCAA Women's Final Four

All eyes are on the Oregon women’s basketball team in the NCAA Tournament.

Behind Sabrina Ionescu and a star-studded cast of Ducks including Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard, Oregon will make its first Final Four appearance in program history on Friday. The Ducks are the only team to never make it to the round of four before.

Notre Dame, the defending national champs, will be returning to the Final Four again this season, after knocking off UConn in the national semifinals in 2018. UConn is competing in the Final Four for the 12th consecutive season and looking for its 12th national championship. Baylor is returning to the Final Four for the first time since winning a national championship in 2012. 

Ahead of the Ducks meeting with perennial powerhouse Baylor, let’s take a look at What They’re Saying about Oregon's first appearance in the Final Four.

It’s nearly impossible to talk about Oregon without talking about it Sabrina Ionescu, the Ducks star guard and the NCAA triple-double record holder. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Warriors champion Stephen Curry both praised Ionescu, who has dominated the pick and roll throughout the tournament thus far.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey had more to say about the WBCA Player of the Year in Thursday’s press conference:

“What a talent. What a joy to watch. If you’re not having to play against her…The thing that I love more than her talent is I love the way she competes. She’s got that umph in her. She makes everybody around her better.”

An ESPN panel, including LaChina Robinson and Mechelle Voepel, cast their predictions on how the Ducks will fare in the NCAA Tournament. Only one member on the panel, ESPN's Graham Hays picked Oregon to advance to the national championship title game. No panel members chose the Ducks as a national championship winner. 

Michelle Smith of the Pac-12 Conference knows the dangerous Ducks wiil have a daunting task ahead, specifically containing the Bears dominant duo of 6-foot-8 Kalani Brown and 6-4 forward Lauren Cox.

ESPN also noted Oregon's need to stop the Brown-Cox tandem, as Baylor historically relies on its post players to set the tone on offense.

The Oregonian says the Ducks are doing more than dancing in the Final Four--they are putting the Pacific Northwest and West Coast on the map for basketball of any gender.

Tip off for the Final Four game between Oregon and Baylor is set for 4:00 p.m. PT.

Make sure to follow NBCS Northwest for complete coverage of the Final Four from our staff, as well as behind-the-scenes updates from Eddy Ionescu, Sabrina Ionescu's twin brother, on Twitter and Instagram.