Pac-12 leading scorer Motum back at Washington St


Pac-12 leading scorer Motum back at Washington St

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) The cupboard isn't completely bare for Washington State, not with Pac-12 leading scorer Brock Motum returning for his senior year.

But the Cougars have few other returning players with experience.

Guard Davonte Lacy is the only other starter back, and only Mike Ladd and D.J. Shelton saw any significant playing time last season.

Coach Ken Bone sees the lack of experience as an opportunity, not as a problem.

``I've been in this situation before over the years, where you are kind of looked at as an underdog, and you don't have this and you don't have that,'' Bone said. ``A lot of times those are the groups that pull together as a team and maximize their talent.''

Chief among things the Cougars don't have is a point guard, after senior Reggie Moore was recently kicked off the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. Moore, a three-year starter, was the second-leading returning scorer at 10.2 points per game and led the Pac-12 with 5.2 assists per game.

In his place will be Lacy (8.5 points per game) and Royce Woolridge, a transfer from Kansas who red-shirted last season. Neither is a true point guard.

``Defensively he will give us a lift,'' Bone said of the 6-foot-3 Woolridge.

The most talented player is likely to be Motum, who led the Pac-12 with an average of 18 points per game last season. The 6-foot-10 forward made 55 percent of his field goals, and added 6.4 rebounds per game

Bone needs Motum, an All-Pac-12 first team selection, to provide some leadership.

``He's not a rah-rah guy,'' Bone said.

``He's going to have to take another step on the defensive end and with his rebounding to help us out,'' Bone said. ``He will score points.''

Last season, Washington State advanced to the championship round of the College Basketball Invitational before falling in the series 2-1 to Pittsburgh. They also tied for eighth in the Pac-12 with Oregon State with a 7-11 league mark.

Their 19-18 overall record marked the team's sixth-straight winning season, the longest such streak since 1991-96.

But lost to graduation were productive players like Marcus Capers, Faisal Aden and Abe Lodwick. Patrick Simon and Mike Harthun transferred.

That means players like Woolridge, Ladd, Shelton, Dominic Ballard and Dexter Kernich-Drew must do more.

Bone said one way to accomplish that is to instill more confidence in those players.

``Making sure everybody understands that we can be successful, that we have some talented players on the floor,'' Bone said of his top priority.

Bone likes the way the Cougars bonded during a five-game tour of Australia in August. He doesn't think the loss of Moore will hurt the offense, and may improve the defense.

Top recruit Demarquise Johnson was ruled academically ineligible to play this season, but is enrolled at WSU and could play next year, Bone said.

Washington State added freshmen Brett Boese and Richard Longrus this season. They also picked up transfers Jordan Railey and James Hunter and walk-on Keaton Hayenga.

Ladd averaged 5.4 points and three rebounds last season in limited playing time before he was injured. He's been named a team captain for the second consecutive year, and Bone expects him to bring leadership to the program.

Shelton averaged 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds.

``He's definitely gotten bigger and stronger, and that could equate into playing more physical basketball, which we need,'' Bone said.

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

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How to entice Bryce Harper in to re-signing with the Nationals? With food, of course!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach… and if that leads us to Bryce Harper’s potential landing spot, then I present to you the yummiest reasons he should stay with the Washington Nationals.

In a video from TMZ, a paparazzi follows Harper to baggage claim and implores him for any hints toward where he is signing this offseason. The only true answer he got was that Harper likes a place called Steak 48 in Chicago. This surf-and-turf hot spot in the River North neighborhood of downtown Chicago has the audacity to serve “Maryland STYLE lump crab cakes.” Really, Bryce? Will the real thing convince you?!

On that note, let’s start off with the seafood we have to offer. This is the Mid-Atlantic, after all.

How can you work here April-September without eating local crabs in some form? I think that’s impossible. You can choose from hard shell or soft shell, but no shame in either game.

Live Chesapeake blue crabs can be bought at Captain White’s Seafood and other vendors on The Wharf off Maine Avenue. Otherwise, you can sit down and have them steamed for you at Quarterdeck, Ivy City Smokehouse, Bethesda Crab House or Captain Pell’s.

If Harper is more of a soft shell guy, all of those places also serve out-of-the-park crab cakes, but you can’t go wrong with Hank’s Oyster Bar, Old Ebbitt Grill, Chris’ Marketplace, or Clyde’s.

If the star really wants to dive in to local taste, he should eat Chesapeake Bay oysters from the largest estuary in America. My personal favorite selection is at Whaley’s (seafood tower on me, Bryce), but Rapphanock Oyster Bar, The Dabney, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black’s Bar & Kitchen can’t be beat.

I find it hard to believe the team hasn't had an outing at The Salt Line, the lively seafood spot just a short throw from Nats Park where teammate Ryan Zimmerman is an investor and co-owner.

Now that we’ve satisfied Harper’s iron intake, let’s break down his protein. In order to keep the superstar here, I want to make sure he knows that D.C. cares about providing a well-rounded diet.

Barbecued meats in general around here are delectable. Sitting in juxtaposition between the north and south, D.C. restaurants bring a mash-up of styles of smoked and sauced meats. Favorites are Federalist Pig, Hill Country, Fat Pete’s and Hardy’s BBQ truck.

However, if Bryce Harper show he’s as invested in authentic Nationals fans as our season tickets are in him, he should really pick up a half-smoke, the district’s original recipe for a spicy, thicker pork and beef dog that’s aggressively seasoned and sometimes served with chili sauce.

Could you imagine Harper making his announcement to stay over a half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl? I think even the panda statue would cry tears of joy.

Another hyper-local taste is mumbo sauce. While proven not originally from here, D.C. natives are enthusiastic about the special sauce. Yum’s is pretty well-known for carrying it.

Time for dessert! I think we can all agree that in the past 10 years, cupcakes have become iconic in the district with Georgetown Cupcakes, Baked & Wired and Sprinkles all having a home in Georgetown. To settle the debate, Baked & Wired is best. They are ranked #1 on Yelp if you don’t believe my own palette.

But what if it’s game night, you ask? D.C. has it’s hearty share of restaurants that are open even after extra innings. The Diner, Kramerbooks, Mandu, New Big Wong, Old Ebbitt Grill, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana, Amsterdam Falafelshop and Jumbo Slice are all here to keep you warm at night no matter what you’re craving post-victory. Need I go on?

Bryce reassured Nats fans and TMZ that he is “still a National right now.” Better eat these while you can, Bryce, or you’ll be sorry you didn't sign in one of the best food cities in the MLB.

Do you have any local food or restaurants you think will convince Bryce Harper to stay with the Washington Nationals this offseason? Send them to @NBCNationals or @rmhopmayer. Maybe we can throw together a friends-giving or holiday dinner for those that want him to stay our beloved Guest of Honor.


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Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park.