Monthly Archives: March 2009

Ken Bone’s the Man for WSU

I’m sure there’s a lot of disappointment in Cougarville over losing Tony Bennett. The guy can coach. He and his dad turned Washington’s men’s basketball program into one of the successful in the Pac-10 by preaching defense and discipline.

Now that Bennett’s taken the Virginia job, I’d suggest the Cougars do whatever they can to lure Ken Bone from Portland State to Pullman. Like Bennett, Bone can coach. And recruit. I remember Bone when he was at Olympic College, and he turned around a morbid program that had hit rock bottom and nearly took it to the playoffs in his only season. Twayne Rawls, a former Bremerton High guard, was the star on that team. Bone commuted from Seattle during that year and it was obvious that this young coach was going to be successful at the next level.

Bone assisted at and later was the head man at Seattle Pacific before accepting the top assistants’ job at Washington under Lorenzo Romar. He was the guy who recruited Jon Brockman, who was being wooed by the likes of Duke, to the UW. Of course, it didn’t hurt that his brother, Len Bone,was Brockman’s head coach at Snohomish.

Still, it’s connections like that that make him such a good recruiter. Bone’s taken Portland State to the NCAA Tournament the past two years. He’s paid his dues. He’s ready for a job at a bigger D-1 school. Washington State’s a good fit.

Memo to WSU AD Jim Sterk: You won’t find a better candidate.

Do You Remember the Sonics? Do You Miss ‘Em?

This post is mostly for diehard Seattle SuperSonics’ fans. It’s an update on the players (and coaches) on the 20-62 team that left us all slobbering for a real professional basketball team.

Still, some of you must have wondered how-in-the-heck Johan Petro, Sene Mouhammad and Nick Collison  are doing? And whatever happened to P.J. Carlisemo and Luke Ridnour?

Well, read on. Here’s some information, most of it factual, that I’ve dug up on that oh-so-memorable squad that Clay Bennett whisked away from Pugetopolis.

Kevin Durant: The second-year pro from Texas, the No. 2 pick behind Greg Oden in the 2008 draft, appears to be on his way to an all-star career. He’s averaging 25.8 points and 6.6 rebounds, and according to this story, has found a home in Oklahoma City. I wish him well. Durant always seemed like a good guy.

Paul Westhead: Remember Paulie, the assistant under P.J.? Westhead just accepted the Oregon job. Yeah, he’s the new women’s basketball coach at Oregon. Read all about it here.

Luke Ridnour: If Luke had an outside shot, he’d be compared to Steve Nash but he doesn’t. The Blaine native and former Oregon Duck is a backup point guard with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 10 points and 5.5 assists. Check him out here.

Nick Collison: The former hard-working Kansas star remains a productive NBA player, but he’s never going to be an All-Star? He’s battled through some aches and pains for Oklahoma City this season and is averaging 8.3 points and 7.1 rebounds while splitting time at power forward.

P.J. Carlesimo: He’s now working for Westwood One, calling college basketball games on the radio air waves and doing a little scouting on the side. The former Seton Hall, Portland Trailblazer head coach and San Antonio Spurs assistant was fired after the OKC Thunder got off to a 1-12 start this season.That was the smart thing to do. Instead of reading about P.J., who is yesterday’s news, I suggest you read about Scott Brooks, the man who replaced P.J.

Mickael Gelabale: The forward from France is now in the D-League, where he belongs. Yeah, he’s an LA D-Fender.

Johan Petro: Frenchie is now a reserve in Denver, averaging 8.5 minutes per game for the Nuggers. That’s probably 8.5 minutes too many. Check out his stats here.

Jeff Green: Remember the second-year forward from Georgetown? He and sidekick Durant are among the most improved players in the league, if you believe this report.

Sene Mouhamed: Sene, Petro, Gelabale .. are you getting a little misty-eyed thinking about these guys? C’mon, you’re tearing up, right? The legendary Sene is no longer in The League. Like Gelabale, this native of Senagal is in the D-League, recently landing in Albuquerque.

Robert Swift: The 12th overall pick in the 2004 draft has played in 23 games as a backup center for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Robert, we hardly knew ya when you were in Seattle? Now, you’re a bonafide … backup to the backup. And you just missed back-to-back games for “personal reasons.”

Earl Watson: Here’s a Q&A with the former UCLA point guard before he landed in coach Scott Brooks’ doghouse. Watson recently went six games without getting off the bench.

Chris Wilcox: We saw the best of Wilcox … and it really wasn’t that good. His numbers and playing time decreased after the move to OKC and he was traded to the Knicks, where he’s seeing even less court time.

Damien Wilkins: A guy who got a lot of playing time in Seattle is now coming off the bench, where he belongs. He’s playing 15.3 minutes per game, averaging 5.1 points.

Clay Bennett: He’s the guy who paid Seattle $45 million to break the KeyArena lease and move the team to Oklahoma City. He’s still making news, this time for insulting cheerleaders.

I know OKC has added Michael Westbrook, a talented rookie point guard, and Kyle Weaver, the former Washington State star. And Scott Brooks appears to be a significant upgrade over P.J. as head coach.

That said, I don’t miss the Sonics. Not these ex-Sonics, who are now wearing Thunder jerseys. Do you miss ‘em?

Sounders Soldout Again; Good Golly, You’ll Have to Listen to Calabro

If you don’t have tickets to Seattle’s home soccer game against Real Salt Lake, forget it.  It’s soldout.

The Sounders announced Friday morning that all tickets have been sold for the 7:30 p.m. Major League Soccer match at Qwest Field.You can watch it live on Kong TV (Ch. 6 or 16) or listen to it on KIRO 710 AM. Kevin Calabro, the former voice of the SuperSonics, will call the action on the simulcast. He’ll be joined in the booth by Greg Vanney, who played at UCLA and with the LA Galaxy.

Don’t expect to hear any “Good Golly Miss Molly” or “Magic Carpet Ride” calls Callabro was famous for.

Calabro, in an interview before the Sounders’ opener,  told Greg Johns of the Seattle P-I he doesn’t want to get in the way of the game.

“I’ll leave all the old basketball stuff out,” he said. “I want to do service to the soccer and not sully it up with basketball terms. I’ll keep this as simple as I can and as true to the soccer language as I possibly can. And believe me, they definitely have their own terms. I’m sure I’ll kick a few here or there early on, but hopefully I can be descriptive enough.”

Did anybody listen to the opener on KIRO? I’m curious as to how soccer afficianados reacted to Calabro’s call of the game?

The Sounders played before a soldout crowd of 32,523 in its opener against New York. Apparently, not as many seats were made available for the Real (as opposed to Fake?) Salt Lake match.

Next home game is April 11 aganst Kansas City. If you want to join the crowd, you probably shouldn’t wait until the last minute. Call 1-877-MLS-GOAL or go to soundersfc.com for ticket information.

Robbie Tobeck Part of New ‘Outdoor Line’ Radio Show

Local outdoorsmen will be happy to know that ‘The Outdoor Line’ radio program will be brought back to radio by 710 ESPN. You can read the press release right here:

“710 ESPN SEATTLE” resurrects “THE OUTDOOR LINE” on April 11th with
an all star cast of Pacific Northwest outdoor personalities. “THE
OUTDOOR LINE” will be hosted by former Seahawk Pro-bowler and
tournament angler Robbie Tobeck, fisheries biologist and radio
personality Tom Nelson, and veteran fishing guide and charter captain
Rob Endsley.

The show will inform listeners of the outdoor recreational
opportunities available in the Pacific Northwest and entertain
listeners with a unique blend of fishing, hunting, and sports talk.
THE OUTDOOR LINE will air on 710 ESPN Seattle Saturday mornings from
6:00 A.M. TO 8:30 A.M. starting April 11th, 2009.

Jud, Izzo and Zags at the Final Four?

Thirty years ago this week, South Kitsap grad Jud Heathcote, who grew up in Manchester, was involved in what most believe to be the most important college basketball game ever played.

You know the one: Magic vs. Bird. Michigan State vs. Indiana. The 1979 NCAA championship game won by Michigan State and Magic Johnson over Indiana State and Larry Bird was the most watched basketball game in the history of the sport.

It was the start of March Madness as we know it.

Heathcote, a member of the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame, coached Michigan State that memorable night. He was the guy in the green plaid pants. Now living in Spokane, he’s still coaching, only he’s doing it from the stands as he tries to pull two of his favorites teams — Michigan State and Gonzaga to the next round.

Jud was in Minneapolis last weekend for  reunion of sorts. Current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and Dayton coach Brian Gregory were on his staff at MSU in the early 1990s. The two, in fact, were roommates.

Another former MSU assistant, Utah’s Jim Boylen, was also on that Spartans’ staff.

Utah and Dayton didn’t reach the Sweet 16. Still, you can imagine how proud Jud must be of his former assistants.

Jud talks regularly with Izzo and doens’t miss many Gonzaga games. He’s close to Mark Few and the Zags’ staff.

Thirty years after Magic and Bird and Jud, wouldn’t it be something if it could be Izzo and Gonzaga and Jud at the 2009 Final Four in Detroit?

Will Sounders’ Soccer Mania Spread Over to Pumas and Other Clubs in the Region?

That’s a question posed by the informative David Falk of the Seattle Examiner. Falk’s a Port Orchard resident who has covered pro and college soccer in the area since 1974. He’s also the webmaster of GOALSeattle.com and GOALKitsap.com.

In this post, he pointed out that the Tacoma Tides, defending Northwest Division champs of the Premier Development League, drew a few hundred fans for home games. The Kitsap Pumas, Tides and Seattle Wolves will be playing in the shadow of the MLS’s Sounders this season. Or will they? Maybe those clubs will benefit from the soccer craze being created across the pond.

The Pumas and Sounders schedule does NOT have any conflicts, so die-hard soccer fans will be able to attend the games of both teams if they wish.

It’ll be interesting to track the support of the local soccer community for the Pumas, one of just two professional teams in the PDL (the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency is the other).

Here’s the Pumas’ league schedule. I posed the following question once before and I’ll do it again. How many fans do you think the Pumas will average this season?

a. 3,000

b. 2,000

c. 1,000

d. 500 or less

Questions for Soccer Lovers, and Soccer Haters

With the Seattle Sounders a dayaway from kicking off its maiden MLS season and the Kitsap Pumas driving toward the start of its first season as a United Soccer Leagues PDL franchise, it seems like a good time to ask these questions.

First, for the soccer lovers:

1. We’ll start with a three-parter: Who’s your favorite American soccer player, who’s the best player in the MLS and who do you think is the best player in the world?

2. How many fans do you think the Kitsap Pumas will average for their home games this season at Memorial Stadium?

a. 3,000 

b. 1,000

c. 500

d. 200

3. Will the Sounders average more fans for their home games than the Mariners this season?

4. Sounders or Pumas? If you can only go to one game, do you buy a $6 ticket and support the home team or jump on a ferry and spend $100 for tickets, dinner etc. to watch the Sounders? 

5. John Wedge, Sigi Schmidt, Fredy Montero, Ben Pecora, Robin Waite, Kasey Keller and Sebastien Le Toux. Of those seven, who plays for the Sounders? (No cheating).

OK, for you soccer haters, here’s your questions:

1. What’s so bloody boring about soccer? Isn’t soccer much more exciting than baseball, where the players spend most of the time just standing around?

2. If you understood the rules and complexity of the game, do you think you’d like it at least a little bit?

3. Would you go watch the Pumas if the tickets were free?

4. If soccer didn’t have so many nil-nil games decided by shootouts, would you like it better?

5. Why do you think soccer is so popular in the rest of the world and not here?

Three Things to Read

Not into NCAA Madness. Well, even if you are, here’s something to read before the balls start bouncing on Thursday:

1. Manny Being Manny Ramirez was recently taken to the woodshed by former Boston teammate Jonathan Papelpon. He went so far as to call MannyBManny “a cancer.” Manny’s got his detractors, but one thing you can say about Manny is that he’s a winner. At least the teams he plays on wins. Check out Joe Posnanski’s blog here. And while you’re at, you might as well bookmark Joe’s blog. It’s always full of good stuff.

2. ESPN.com columnist Gene Wozciechowski takes a look at possible life-moment mulligans. It’s a fun read, sure to make you chuckle.

3. Felix Hernandez has pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He started and won Tuesday’s game against Puerto Rico. “That’s the man the whole of Venezuela wanted on the mound,” said manager Luis Sojo. You can find the game story by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports here.

So Long P-I, You’ll Be Missed

Another sad day in our industry, but the closure of the print operation at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer hits close to home.

Like a lot of you, I grew up reading the P-I in the morning and The Bremerton Sun in the afternoon. Yes, The Sun used to be a P.M. paper, and it used to be called The Bremerton Sun.

I remember reading Royal Brougham’s column as a teenager, and years later, I remember watching an aging Royal spill scalding coffee all over the back of P-I photographer Grant Haller in the tiny media room at the Seattle Coliseum. Haller screamed in pain, while Royal just shuffled away, oblivious to what he’d just done.

I remember asking John Owen, the columnist and later sports editor of the P-I, for advice during the early years of my career.

I broke into this business about the same time as Art Thiel, who was working at the old Bellevue Journal-American at the time and covering the Sonics. Thiel, who was hired by Owen, has become, in my opinion, one of the premier sports columnists in our country.

If you haven’t read Thiel’s farewell column, I highly recommend it.

And, while you’re at it, check out Jim Moore’s good-bye column, too. The Go 2 Guy, one of the really good guys in our business, and Thiel gave the P-I a one-two punch that made the days of a lot of loyal readers.

This, indeed, is a sad, sad day. I know the final edition of that paper is sitting in a box up at the top of the hill, but I don’t want to go get it. It’s just another sign of where our industry is heading, and I’m in no hurry to get there, wherever that is.