Monthly Archives: July 2009

Former SK Coach Fisher Going Into Eastern Hall of Fame

Ed Fisher, who turned South Kitsap into a state football powerhouse during his years at the Port Orchard High School, is among five former Eastern Washington athletes who will be inducted in Eastern’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Fisher will be honored on Oct. 10 in Cheney.

The honor’s well deserved. I don’t know that I’ve covered a better high school football coach in my years in this business.

Here’s the bio info the school released about Fisher:

Ed Fisher
(Athlete/Football-Track & Contributor)

Fisher played football for Eastern from 1967-70, and then established a football powerhouse at South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, Wash., in the 80’s and 90’s. A 1967 graduate of Shadle Park High School in Spokane, Fisher earned Little All-Northwest honors as a cornerback in 1969 and 1970, and both seasons was also honored on the All-Evergreen Conference and All-NAIA District 1 teams. He was an honorable mention All-District 1 selection as a sophomore and played as a freshman in 1967 when Eastern finished 11-1 and advanced to the championship game of the NAIA Playoffs. Also Eastern’s punter, he still owns the school record with 78 punts in 1968, which at the time were also Evergreen Conference and NAIA records. His 219 career punts were a school record for nearly 30 years before it was broken in 1997. He also competed in track and field as a long/triple jumper at Eastern, and four times he advanced to the NAIA Championships — outdoors in 1969 and 1970, and indoors in 1970 and 1971. His best finish was outdoors in 1970 with a long jump effort of 24-3 3/4 after setting a school record earlier in the season of 24-5 1/2. That mark stood as a school record for nine years and currently ranks fourth in school history. He also had a career-best triple jump of 45-7 3/4. Hired as a high school head coach at the young age of 23, he spent 23 seasons at South Kitsap where he had a 197-48 record (.804 winning percentage) and ended his career with 17-straight playoff appearances. When he left South Kitsap, he ranked in the top 20 all-time in the State of Washington in wins, and his winning percentage was sixth among coaches with at least 150 victories. South Kitsap won the WIAA State AAA championship in 1994, and was runner-up in 1982 and 1984. In his last 15 seasons, the Wolves won 14 league titles. In his final season at the helm in 1996, South Kitsap was 12-0 before losing in the State AAA semifinals to Richland. He left South Kitsap and returned to Spokane as vice principal and activities coordinator at North Central High School, and later helped his son Adam coach at East Valley High School in Spokane. Fisher was inducted into the Washington State Football Coaches Association in 1996 and the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. In December 1999, the Seattle Times selected him as one of the top five coaches in this history of high school football in the state of Washington. He was selected by the Eastern Athletic Department to the “100 for 100″ All-Time Football Team, which was honored on Sept. 27, 2008, to commemorate Eastern’s 100th year of football. Two of his players at South Kitsap — Derek Strey and Kevin Peterson — were also selected to that squad.

Pumas Opponent Brings In Hired Gun for Playoff Game

Here’s a report from the Ventura County (Calif.) Star on the Ventura County Fusion — the team the Kitsap Pumas face in today’s PDL quarterfinal playoff game in Laredo, Texas. It sounds like they’ve added a ringer for the game. They also talk about containing Kitsap’s tall, ranging forwards.

The game starts at 3:15 p.m. There are no live streaming links available, but we’ll try to post game updates. Check back here or on the Wide World of Kitsap Sports blog.

Seahawks Links

The Seahawks are back at it, starting training camp today, and here’s a few things to read to get you in the mood for some football.

Eric Williams, the former Sun staffer now working at the News Tribune in Tacoma, has a nice piece on head coach Jim Mora. It details his relationship with his father, the former NFL head coach with the same name, and talks about the passion he’s always had for the game.

Mora tells Williams he’s got extra motivationt to be successful in Seattle because of his connections to the city.

“To me, as an NFL football coach, you come into a situation a little bit as a mercenary,” he said. “You don’t really have an affiliation with the city or the team that has hired you. Now, it grows as you are there.

“But for me, being the Seattle Seahawks’ head coach, that isn’t the case. This is where I grew up. This was my team. This is where my best friends and family live. So I feel a real responsibility to this community to make them proud of this football team. And I intend to do that.”

You can read the entire story here.

You can read John Boyle’s coverage of the Seahawks in the Kitsap Sun. Boyle’s a staff writer for the Everett Hearld and we buy their Seahawks stuff, in addition to their Husky football and Mariners coverage. Boyle boiled down his training camp preview to six key questions.

Steve Kelly of the Seattle Times writes that Seattle’s season depends on the how veterans Matt Hasselbeck, Walter Jones and Patrick Kearney bounce back from injuries.

And here’s 10 storylines for the Seahawks during the preseason, from Field Gulls, a blog that’s all about the Hawks.

Five Things on a Hot Summer Day

1) Jim Moore has an interesting take in the SeattlePI.com on Ian Snell, the pitcher the M’s got in the trade with Pittsburgh along with shortstop Jack Wilson. Snell sounds like, well, a piece of work. But will he work out?

2) Here’s a link to the Seattle Examiner, which has some info on the Kitsap Pumas’ USL PDL quarterfinal playoff battle in Laredo, Texas.

3) John Daly said he’s got his stuff together. He’s been hanging with buddy Kid Rock in Detroit for this week’s Buick Open. Check out this AP story and this YouTube video of Daly hitting a shot off a 24-ounce can of Budweiser.

4) Here’s Bob Condotta’s blog report in the Seattle Times from Pac-10 football media day on the Washington Huskies.

5) WSU picked last in Pac-10 media poll.

Troy Kelly 1-Under Through 7 Holes

We had Troy Kelly’s tee time wrong in today’s paper. Sorry about that. He teed off at 10:48 a.m. (Pacific Time) in today’s first round of the PGA Tour’s Buick Open. He tees off Friday at 5:48 a.m. (PT). You can follow Kelly’s round by clicking on here. The Central Kitsap grad currently 1-under through seven holes with six pars and a birdie.

Kelly’s currently tied with Tiger Woods for 84th. Tiger’s through 12 holes. The Golf Channel is televising the tournament right now (replay at 5:30 p.m.)

Ortiz Tested Positive, Too; Who’s Shocked?

David (Big Papi) Ortiz recently said that every baseball player who tests positive for a performance enhancing drug should be banned for a year instead of suspended 50 games, which is the current penalty.

Wonder if the Boston slugger will take a year off after a report in the New York Times said Ortiz and former teammate Manny Ramirez were both on the list of players who tested postive for PEDs in 2003. That’s supposed to be an annonymous list, but somebody’s leaking names. Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa were also on the list. Remember, there was no punishment for testing positive at that time.

By now, nobody should be shocked by these reports. For all of you naive baseball fans out there, I urge you to get a copy of Kirk Radomski’s book: “Bases Loaded.” It’s truly the inside story of of the steroid era in baseball. Radomski, the former Mets’ clubhouse boy who advised several major leaguers — stars and average players alike — on how to stake anabolic steroids and human growth hormone — and how to get around drug testing. The book, which I just read last week while on vacation, is a fascinating inside look into major league baseball. Here’s an exerpt:

“Jack Armstrong, who pitched for the Reds, admitted that at least 30 percent of all players were using large doses of steroids by 1994 and a significant number of players were using lower doses  to maintain. When pitcher Kenny Rogers saw a list of players known to have used them, he just about starting laughing. There are hundreds of players missing from that list, he said. Ken Caminiti guessed publicly that half of all major leaguers were using anabolics. Privately, a lot of people thought that number was low.”

Radomski, who escaped prison time by cooperating with the feds, said he had at least one client on every major league roster at the time he was busted.

So while Boston’s Big Papi will be the big story for the next week or so, don’t forget all the other guys who haven’t been named. Don’t forget that baseball’s leaders — Bud Selig and all of the owners — buried their heads in the sand for years when it came to steroids. They could have — should have — policed this years ago.

Once again, baseball will ride this latest story out, hoping fans forget about it. And they will. We’ll still go to the games and cheer on our favorites players and teams.

In his book, Radmonski makes it clear that he does not think all of the records that were established during the steroid era were broken because players were using steroids or growth hormones.

The biggest impact, he wrote, “was that they enabled players to perform at the peak of their ability on a regular basis and helped them to keep their stamina during the second half of the season. Those changes along led many players to end up with better stats.”

Hall of Famer Henry Aaron recently said he’d be OK with players on the PED list going into the Hall of Fame, but only if there was an asterisk by their names.

If I’m one of those players whose name has not been released, I certainly wouldn’t want the complete list to come out. But if the rest of those names come out — and I think they will — it’ll be interesting to see who’s on it.

Like a lot of you, I’ll be especially interested if any ex-Mariners are on it. David Segui, a former client of Radomski’s who played in Seattle, has admitted using steroids. Radomski writes about it in his book and he also commends Segui for being upfront about it. He’s not so kind to Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and others who claimed they never used steroids.

You can’t help but wonder who else was on the juice. What do you think? Has your opinion of major league baseball been altered?

Marvin Reportedly Close to 5-Year, $40M Deal With Hawks

Bremerton’s Marvin Williams said he’s “close” to signing a deal that will keep him with the Atlanta Hawks. A restricted free-agent, the 23-year-old forward told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that he will be in Atlanta next week for face-to-face talks with the Hawks. The contract, including incentives, would be worth about $40 million over five years, the paper reported.

Here’s the link to the AJC story.

Jack Wilson Trade; Updates on Willie B., Hammel, Cunningham, Prince, Ellison

Do you have any thoughts on the Mariners trade with Pittsburgh that brought shortstop Jack Wilson and pitcher Ian Snell for Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno and three minor-league pitching prospects?

Wilson’s one of the best defensive shortstops in the majors, and is a career .269 hitter (.267 this year). Will the M’s pick up his $8.4 million option for 2010 or is his stay going to be a short one. Would the M’s package Wilson with Jerrod Washburn in another deal?

If they keep him, the M’s just got a heckuva lot better. Wilson’s offensive production might be sub-par, but at least he’s not Cedeno-like. Then again, who is? Cedeno was in an 0-for-26 slump and hitting .167 for the Mariners. With all of the other light-hitting players in the lineup, it’s truly amazing that the M’s have been able to stay above .500 with Cedeno in the lineup.

Here’s some linkage on the trade. This one from
ESPN.com’s Keith Law.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times
filed this report after talking to Wilson at Safeco Field. Wilson was on his way to AT&T Park in San Francisco in a cab when he found out about the trade.

Lookoutlanding.com broke the trade down player by player while even managing to get in a shot at Willie Ballgame.

* Speaking of Willie Ballgame: All three of Willie Bloomquist’s home runs this season have been game-tying blasts on the road. Yes, Bloomquist, who had one extra base hit a year ago with the Mariners, has three bombs — the latest coming on Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Orioles. That’s a career-high for the Port Orchard native and matches his total in the last four seasons with the M’s.

Bloomquist, hitting .278, has already set career highs in at bats (266), hits (74) and stolen bases (17). Here’s a look at his career stats. He’s now playing most in the outfield after the Royals traded for shortstop Yunieski Betancourt. Bloomquist has also been mentioned in possible trade talks with Boston, which was looking for fourth outfielder.

* Betancourt, by the way, was hitting .119 (5-for-42) in his first 12 games with the Royals. And it looks like he’s continued his free-swinging ways because he’s still looking for his first base on ball as a Royal.

* The pitching matchup between Colorado’s Jason Hammel (5-5, 4.28 ERA), the other SK grad currently in the majors, and Mets ace Johan Santana was pushed back to Thursday after Wednesday’s game was rained out in New York.

Hammel talked after he recently beaned Edgar Gonzalez of the Padres. The 6-foot-6 right-hander has been up-and-down over his last five outings, but he’s coming off a solid six-inning effort in a 3-1 loss to the Giants. Here’s a look at his last 10 starts.

* Aaron Cunningham, yet another SK grad, is having another productive year and seems destined to be wearing an Oakland A’s uniform by the end of the season. He’s hitting .297 with nine home runs and 35 RBI in 55 games at Triple-A Sacramento. The outfielder had a couple of short stints with the A’s earlier this year and was a September call-up a year ago.

* Jared Prince is having a solid season in rookie ball for the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League. The North Kitsap and WSU product is hitting .263 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 26 games. He’s been used mostly at first base.

* Jason Ellison’s hitting .244 with four homers and 24 RBI for the Lehigh IronPigs — Philadelphia’s Triple-A affiliate. The South Kitsap grad is playing center field and has been batting No. 2 in the order lately.

Summer Basketball Las Vegas Style: Days 4/5

I wasn’t able to post on Saturday. It was a long day in the gym — watching three Total Package games and another while I waited — and it was nearly 11 p.m.by the time I got back to my new room. And ended up having problems connecting to the internet.

First, let me catch you up on Total Package’s games on Saturday.

The Red team fought back from an 18-2 deficit in the first half against the Santa Margarita (Calif.) Eagles to make a game out of it. And they were down 10 with about three minutes left and they forcd overtime before falling 65-58 in the single-elimination portion of the Reebok Summer Championships. Christopher Bell, an incoming sophomore from Bainbridge, had a big offensive game and Bremerton’s Terrik Maghee, who will be a senior, was pivotal during the comeback.

The younger Red team finished 0-4 and leaves for home today.

The Blue team had a full day, playing three games (20-minute halves with a 2-minute break). With 6-foot-6, 250-pound Austin Jenkins leading the way, Total Package beat Eastern Washington Elite White 54-48. Nobody’s keeping stats for this tournament, but the strong and active Jenkins had to have 18-20 rebounds.

Then, playing perhaps their best game of the tournament, TP Blue beat the Hawaii Raiders 67-55. Jenkins, once again, was a man among boys. He’s going to be a fun player to watch the next two seasons. But this junior-to-be from Gig Harbor won’t make a living as a basketball player. He’s a football star, a blue chip recurit who is considered the best tight end prospect in the country. He could probably play multiple positions. I could see him making a living on Sundays as a defensive end, tight end or offensive lineman.

Counting pool play, that was four straight wins for TP, which lost its opener to Petersburg Elite (Va.). But they ran out of gas in the semifinals of its bracket against Play Hard Play Smart (Sacramento, Calif.). PHPL played harder and smarter and ended TP’s run with a 62-56 victory. It was tied 22-22 with about two minutes left in the first half but Total Package made some poor decisions and fell behind 31-22 at the half and PHPL scored the first two baskets of the second half.

Total Package Blue leaves for Los Angeles today and begins plays in the Best of the Summer Tournmaent on Tuesday. This is an 11-day grind, but these players are getting a lot of exposure and being exposed to some of the best talent in the country.

ALSO

* At the Main Stage summer tournament at UNLV, Seattle Rotary Select was making noise. Nate Robinson was among those in the crowd during Rotary’s 73-67 win over Chicago’s Mac Irvin team. There was a brief scuffle in that game and Robinson reportedly charged on the court to chest bump Rotary’s Joshua Smith, the Kentwood star, after a dunk.

The 6-10, 300-pound Smith had 24 points and 10 rebounds against Mac Irvin. Among the coaches watching him were Washington’s Lorenzo Romar, UCLA’s Ben Howland, Kansas’ Bill Self, Gonzaga’s Mark Few and North Carolina’s Roy Williams. It’s being reported that Smith has narrowed his choices to UCLA and Washington.

* Seattle U coach Cameron Dollar was at two of Total Package’s games on Saturday. His father, Donald Dollar, an SU assistant, was at the late game. Cameron told me he was blogging at 2:30 a.m. one day, so I checked out his blog. Here’s the link.

* Bainbridge’s smooth Will Diiorio and Auburn Riverside’s rugged Ryan Rogers are among the TP players getting the most attention from college coaches. In addition to the Dollars, Total Package coach Craig Murray said he noticed coaches from Carroll College (Mont.), St. Martin’s, Portland State, San Diego and Portland at their games. College coaches can’t talk to the club coaches or players. At UNLV,  they even posted signs that asked parents and fans not to talk to the coaches.

* North Mason guard Brett Skogstad would have been with Total Package but recently underwent knee surgery. He and his father, NM coach Larry Skogstad, were in Vegas this week.

* I’ve put a lot of miles on my rental car and there’s still games being played today. Not sure if I’ll make it to any. I think I’ve finally got a handle on this summer circuit, and how it works. I’ve talked to coaches, players, parents, tournament organizers. I’ve seen the elite players with Michael Jordan-like hang time, and some not-so-elite. I’ve watched classy, organized coaches in action, and I’ve seen loud, obnoxious coaches with booming voices who want to be the show. I’ve been in cookie-cutter gyms — they’re all designed the same, with an auxiliary gym connected — all over Las Vegas. I watched kids bouncing basketball balls on the Vegas Strip and seen kids gawking at the crazy things you see in this city.

Now, I guess,  it’s time to start writing.

But not just yet. I’m shutting this laptop down for a couple days. It’s time for me to see some more of the crazy things you see in this city. It’s back to reality — and real work — on Tuesday.

Summer Basketball, Las Vegas Style: Day 3

For those of you just tuning in, I’m in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps.

And neither do most of the people who visit here. If you’re a hoops junkie there’s no time to sleep. There’s too many games to watch.

There’s more than 10,000 players and 900 college coaches in town this week, attending four summer youth tournaments — the Reebok Summer Championships (once called the Big Time Tournament),  the adidas Super 64 Tourrnament, the VisionSports Main Event (it used to be called the Nike Main Event), and something called the StarVision Sports Center Stage.

They’re playing in 46 gyms throughout Vegas and nearby Henderson, Nev.

I’ve spent most of my time at the Reebok tournament because Bremerton-based Total Package is involved in that tournament. Total Package Blue won two games Friday, finishing pool play with a 2-1 record. They’ll play Saturday in the “A” Division at 1:15 p.m. I’m not sure of the opponent as I write this as pool play continued through Friday night. TP Blue beat Colorado Chaos 16s Red 68-43 in the late game after beating Branch West Orange (Calif.) 77-70.

Total Package Red lost it only game on Friday to finish 0-3. They lost 88-35 (ouch!) to Branch West Prep (Calif.), which features guard Ben Vozzola, a guy Gonzaga is recruiting. I wish I could tell you more about him but I missed the game. However, here’s a link to a feature on Vozzola that ran in the Las Vegas Journal-Review. The younger Total Package team plays Saturday at 10:45 a.m. in the High School Division.

Both brackets are single-elimination. If they keep winning, they could play three games on Saturday and a title game on Sunday.

ALSO

* I missed Total Package’s early games, opting to check out some action at the Main Event on the UNLV campus. UCLA coach Ben Howland was leaving the facility when I walked in. I was hoping to catch a Seattle Rotary game (Josh Smith of Kentwood and Tony Wroten Jr. of Garfield are among the stars on a star-studded squad), but the schedule wasn’t on my side. I missed their early game and didn’t have time to get back for their final pool game.

I did see the finish of a heated game between Mac Irvine Fire (Chicago) and Team Takeover (Canada). Good stuff. Lots of coaches were around for this one.

Rotary, by the way, was 2-0 before its late game on Friday and appears to be set on making amends for an 0-5 showing at the Peach Basket tourney in Georgia.

* Had a nice chat with Jeremy Landis — the father of Central Kitsap grad and Eastern Oregon-bound guard Cody Thurmond. Landis and his wife run Driven Athletics, which works in conjunction with Reebok in putting on this tournament and other Reebok-related events. Landis, a former Marine who works at Keyport, has a pretty good handle on all of this summer basketball stuff. I’ll get into more detail about his role in a story I plan to write about this summer traveling circuit. By the way, Landis plans to bring Westside Hoops back next year. It took a year off, but said he plans to organize and coach a couple younger-aged teams.

* Also had a chance to talk briefly with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. His face lit up when I told him I was from the area where his mentor, Jud Heathcote, hails from.

* North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Louisville’s Rick Pitino were among 100 or so coaches in the stands at Foothill High School when I stopped by to check out some of the action in the Create-N-Finish Cup, which includes eight invited teams based on reputation and how they’ve played this summer. I watched D-One Sports beat the Dakota Schoolers 95-90 in a consolation game.

* The Dakota Schoolers are an interesting story. Talked at length with coach Kent Mueller, who talked about how crazy South Dakotans are about basketball. Who knew? Mueller also offered some pretty good insights into summer basketball, acknowledging that it’s a booming business for some, but it’s important for kids who have a desire to play college basketball.

“All it takes,” he said, “is for one coach to see you and like you.”

* Troy Castle and Austin Jenkins made it to the court with about seven minutes left in Total Package’s late game on Friday. Both flew in a day late after completing a football camp at Gig Harbor. The 6-foot-6 Jenkins is a highly-recruited offensive lineman. He likes basketball, the TP could have used his wide body in the loss againt Petersburg (Va.) Elite on Thursday, but he’s a football player.

* One last note. I watched the Total Package Blue game while sitting with Nars Martinez, who at 15, is the youngest player to make the trip to Vegas. It’s his first trip to this tournament, although he’s yet to make it to the famed Vegas strip to do any sightseeing. The younger brother of former South Kitsap star Jake Beitinger has grown up with basketball. He tagged along with his brother, who played for Emerald City Hoops, as a youngster and spent time training with Emerald City, Seattle Rotary and Friends of Hoops before joining Total Package. He’s an interesting young player, one with hopes and dreams of playing Division I basketball someday. He’s currently 6-3 and seems destined to grow. Brother Jake was 6-8. You can read more about Nars, a real hoops addict, in my story.

* OK, one more note. As if there’s not enough basketball down here, Team USA is holding its three-day minicamp. There’s 20 young players working out, trying to make the 2010 World Championship and 2012 Olympics team. There’s a public scrimmage on Saturday and I might take it in. Like I said, you don’t sleep when you’re in Las Vegas.

Check back tomorrow for another update.