Monday, April 25, 2011

Gerrit Cole, Adam Conley duel in Pullman

New WSU Uniforms Released

Completed by Emily King and Andrew Talevich

USC adds Wake Forest transfer

The University of Southern California added another transfer to its men's basketball team, the school announced.

Ari Stewart, a 6-fot-7, 205-pound wing, joins the Trojans from Wake Forest. Stewart averaged 8.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game last season for the Demon Deacons. An outside shooting threat, he led all Atlantic Coast Conference freshmen in three-point shooting percentage in his first season on the Winston-Salem campus.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Stewart must sit out one year of eligibility. Because he has yet to use a redshirt season, he will take the 2011-2012 season as a redshirt year and have two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012-2013.

Stewart becomes the fourth transfer in the past two years to join USC.

Track and Field "Apple Cup"

The University of Washington will host the last dual meet between UW and Washington Sate University on Friday, April 29th. The meet is the last time that UW will host the meet because it will undergo a complete renovation immediately following the UW football spring game.

The cougs have won the last 12 out of 15 meetings with the most current being last year at WSU. The WSU men won by a margin of 50 points and the WSU women cruised to a 60 point victory.

Both schools fair evenly and the victor will depend on who does the best that day. The meet is slightly in cougs favor because of the dominance of the men's team. Yet, anyhing can happen at the dual meet and the points come down to the top three places, so each point is vital for both teams.

The meet is set for 4 p.m. in Husky Stadium. Anyone attending can expect a 60 percent chance of precipitation and a very entertaining couple of hours of competition.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Colorado's Burks declares for NBA draft

Earlier this week we told you Colorado’s Alec Burks was the last shoe still to drop as far as expected Pac-12 early defections to the NBA. Well, today that large foot hit the ground.

Burks announced at a press conference he will forego his final two years of college eligibility to enter the draft. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is rated on most draft boards as the number one player at his position.

Burks led the Big 12 in scoring this past season, averaging 20.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

The Buffaloes set a school record for wins this season with a 24-14 record that helped them reach the National Invitational Tournament semifinals in New York City. As they transition to a new league, Colorado will have to make do with a new look.

Head coach Tad Boyle said the loss will hurt the team, but Burks is ready to make the jump.

"Obviously, he's proved he can produce in one of the best leagues in the country and at the highest levels of college basketball," Boyle said. "You're talking about a situation where Alec can put himself on a course to take care of himself and his family for years to come. It's hard to begrudge anybody that opportunity, especially someone who has worked as hard as he's worked."

As they transition to a new league, Colorado will have to make do with a new look.

"We're not as good and we're not as experienced, but that doesn't mean we can't have a great year," Boyle said. "I'm optimistic, and I'm proud of Alec.”

Burks’ combination of ideal size and unquestioned talent make him a potential lottery pick.

“The NBA is a dream of mine,” Burks said at his press conference. “I feel like I’ve got to take advantage of it.” 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pac-10 Departures Open Door for New Talent

A handful of top Pac-10 basketball players have either decided to forgo the remainder of their college careers or are testing NBA waters.

Here’s how the process goes. College basketball players can either declare for the NBA draft, work out with teams, and see how they stack up to other talent, or they can dive right into the NBA draft by hiring an agent.

Once a player hires an agent, he can no longer return to play college ball. For players who declared for the NBA draft, they must make up their minds whether they want to go back to college or be drafted into an NBA team by May 8th.

This year’s list of players who declared for the NBA draft but have not hired an agent:

Klay Thompson, WSU
Isaiah Thomas, UW

Players who have hired agents and decided to not go back to college include:

Derrick Williams, Arizona
Nikola Vucevic, USC
Tyler Honeycutt, UCLA
Malcolm Lee, UCLA
DeAngelo Casto, WSU
Derrick Williams, Arizona

What does this mean for the Pac-10?

You can either look at the glass half empty or half full. From a pessimistic scope, the Pac-12 basketball league will probably not be as good as it has been in the past. With the abrupt absence of these top players across the league, the conference will have an absence of high-scoring leaders.

On the bright side, this will lead to an opening for new talent. For example Arizona hopes to fill the void of Derrick Williams departure with Josiah Turner, who ESPN ranks as the third best point guard to be recruited by the NCAA. Additionally University of Washington’s Tony Wroten and Arizona State’s Jahii Carson are ranked as the number 5 and number 8 point guards to be recruited.

So while it will be evident that the Pac-12 conference is missing a large number of top players, the conference hopes to make a quick rebound with young talent.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Honoring Coach Wooden

Earlier I wrote about amazing athletes who have come out of the Pac-10. While John Wooden was not an athlete in the Pac-10, he was still a tremendous figure who deserves to be mentioned in the same category as the previous individuals.

Wooden served as coach of the UCLA basketball team for more than a quarter century. Through his record of success and words of inspiration, Wooden epitomizes what it means to be a true leader.

Wooden coached UCLA basketball from 1948,49 season to the 1975,76 season. During a twelve year span from 1963-1975 Wooden coached UCLA to an unprecedented ten NCAA championships. His overall coaching record for UCLA was 620-147 with a winning percentage of 81 percent.

But it’s not necessarily his success as a coach that makes him a well-known figure but how he went about coaching.

Wooden coined his “pyramid of success” that was based upon qualities every athlete must have to reach the pinnacle of the pyramid which was competitive greatness. His “pyramid of success” can also be translated into realms outside of basketball such as the work world or significant relationships.

Some of Wooden’s greatest sayings on the “pyramid of success” include:

Cooperation: Have utmost concern for what’s right rather than who’s right. Cooperate with all levels of your co-works. Help others and see the other side”

Initiative: Make a decision! Failure to act is often the biggest failure of all. Cultivate the ability to make decisions and think alone. Desire to excel.”

Condition: Ability may get you to the top but character keeps you there- mental, moral, and physical.”

Poise: By yourself. Don’t be thrown off by events, whether good or bad. Be at ease in any situation. Don’t fight yourself.”

Competitive Edge: When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Be at your best when your best is needed. Your best is needed each day. Real love is a hard battle.”

Through this model, Wooden developed some of the best basketball players such as Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton.

On the Pac-10 web site, WSU men’s basketball coach Ken Bone recalls meeting Coach Wooden at his apartment.

“Just to be able to sit down with him and how humble he was, was incredible,” said Boone. “For everything he accomplished it felt like I was in the basketball hall of fame with all the memorabilia around his place and he was no different than anyone you’d meet on the street. Just a great man.”

Wooden lived to be 99. He died last year on June 1. In honoring his life we can live by his words so that we too can carry on the same successes.