Monthly Archives: March 2011

UW Dawgs bounced from the Dance

Washington’s 86-83 loss to North Carolina in a fast-paced NCAA Tournament game, which ended a few minutes ago, was a bit puzzling.

“Washington absolutely gave it away with turnovers,” said TV analyst Charles Barkley.

They did have some untimely turnovers late, and Washington’s offensive execution in the final seconds was horrible. Why did Venoy Overton throw up a halfcourt shot with about 3.5 seconds left?You’ve got to get the ball past halfcourt and get up a decent shot at a game-tying three. On its previous possession, Washington had an inbounds pass deflected.

I thougth Washington lost this one at the defensive end. Where was the intense, ball-pressure defense they’re capable of playing? North Carolina’s a really good offensive team, but the Tar Heels scored far too easily. Washington’s guards were passive. I guess coach Lorenzo Romar had to pick his poison — go with offensive-minded Terrance Ross, who shot the Huskies back into it and was superb throughout, or throw Overton and Justin Holiday out there and hope they could create some offense with their defense.

Washington, despite a so-so performance from Isaiah Thomas, led most of the way before fading in what was a very winnable game. So this team that teased everyone all year is done. It’ll be remembered as a team with Final Four talent, one that was disrupted by the disrupter (Venoy Overton) and lost its way at times, but one that played up to its potential with a late run that culminated with another Pac-10 Tournament title and another NCAA berth.

The future seems promising. Seniors Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Holiday and Overton will be missed. But if Thomas returns — most people think he will — the Huskies figure to contend for another Pac-10 title and NCAA berth.

Here’s a link to a story about the timing controversy at the end of the game.

Update: UW Dawgs at the Dance; Gonzaga’s gone from the Dance

It’s halftime of the Gonzaga-BYU game and Jimmer Fredette’s got 14 points and is putting on a show for the Cougars, who lead 45-38. The winner earns a Sweet 16 date with Florida. A Gonzaga-Florida game will rekindle some old memories. It was an NCAA tournament win over Florida in 1998 in Phoenix that catapulted then-Cinderella and misprounced GUN-ZAH-GA to the national forefront. The Zags lost two days later to a UConn team that would go on to win the national championship.

Update: Gonzaga’s down 12 early in the second half.

Update: So much for the Florida rematch. Gonzaga’s no longer dancing. Fredette went for 34 and BYU pulled away from the Bulldogs, 89-67, and was impressive doing it.

“For 40 minutes, it might have been as good as we’ve been all year,” BYU coach Dave Rose said.

Now it’s Washington’s turn. Set your alarm. It’s a 9:15 tipoff on Sunday morning (on CBS). Here’s some links:

UNC coach Roy Williams brings up Bremerton’s Marvin Williams during press conference. Marvin’s always said that he would have gone to Washington if he had not decided to go to North Carolina.

The coaches — UNC’s Roy Williams and UW’s Lorenzo Romar — also debated an old ice cream incident at the press conference.

Andy Katz of says the UW has found its identity in the postseason.

The Seattle Times breaks down the UW-North Carolina game.

Center Aziz N’Diaye could have a big role for Washington in today’s game against Carolina.

Just for kicks, here’s my dream Final Four: Washington, George Mason, Richmond and Butler.

Dawgs (UW) and Dogs (Gonzaga) at the Dance

Some links on the Washington Huskies and Gonzaga Bulldogs  — both one win away from reaching the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.

Both are coming off pretty impressive wins, especially Gonzaga, which played as well as it has all season while taking down St. John’s 86-71 on Thursday. The Bulldogs (21-12) face Jimmer Fredette and BYU (31-4) in one of the most intriguing matchups of the tournament thus far on Saturday (CBS, around 4:45 p.m.)

It got a little scarier than it should have at the end, but for the most part the Washington Huskies played with composure and smarts while holding on against Georgia, 65-62. They had just five turnovers for the game. Credit Isaiah Thomas for another outstanding floor game. Seems like every decision he makes right now is the right one. The Huskies (24-10) now get a chance to beat North Carolina (27-7) at Charlotte, N.C., facing the Tar Heels on Sunday morning (9:15 a.m., CBS ).

OK, time for some linkage, starting with the Zags:

The Spokesman Review writes about BYU joining the WCC in 2012 and has other tidbits in this notebook, including an item on Bainbridge High grad Steven Gary and BYU’s Noah Hartstock. The two were roomies at an Adidas camp when both were still in high school. Gonzaga assistant Ray Giocoletti is also supposedly being considered for the head job at Northern Illinois.

Here’s one guy who thinks BYU will beat Gonzaga.

Jimmer Fredette-Adam Morrison comparisons are being made.

BYU should fear the Gonzaga Bulldogs writes Salt Lake City columnist Kurt Kragthorpe.

BYU, Fredette wearing down?

Since guard Marquise Carter started playing 32 minutes a game, the Zags haven’t lost.

How will Gonzaga slow Jimmer Fredette? They might use three different players on him.

Here’s some links on the Huskies and Tar Heels:

Here’s a game report on North Carolina’s 102-87 win over Long Island. NC coach Roy Williams summed up his feelings on the effort: “I’m not pleased with the way we played,” he said. “But I’m pleased we’re still playing.”

Washington’s bench outscored Georgia’s reserves 28-0,  a major factor in its win over the SEC Bulldogs.

Andy Katz of thinks the Huskies will want to run with the Tar Heels.

That’s all for now.

Court ruling: School district to take back operation of Legion Field

In this corner, we had the Bremerton School District, which wanted to take over total operation, which includes maintenance and scheduling, of Legion Field, the baseball facility in east Bremerton that was built in 1966 on school district property.

In the other corner, we had American Legion Post 68, which has been leasing the property from the school district for $1 since 1966. The legion has been responsible for maintenance and scheduling and wanted to continue in that role. The legion maintained that the district might own the dirt, but not the field.

The district gave the Post 68 a 90-day notice. A legal battle ensued. Both sides lawyered up. When the legion refused to vacate the property, the school district went to court.

Here’s a couple previous stories that will get you up to speed if you want more info: This one published Feb. 9, and this one about the court battle was published on March 2.

The eviction hearing was held on Friday in Kitsap County Superior Court and the ruling came out in favor of the school district.

School district spokesperson Patty Glasser confirmed that the district will take over operation of Legion Field on Friday, March 25.

I’m not sure if we’re heard the last from Post 68 on this matter. Post commander John Correia declined to talk to me when I called him for a reaction.

Bremerton native Terrel Hansen coaches the Northwest Blaze U18 baseball club, which has athletes from Gig Harbor to Chimacum. Hansen said the Blaze, which donated around 400 man hours of labor to get the field ready to play, wrote a check for $1,000 to Post 68 for “20ish dates,” this summer. He received an e-mail from Wayne Lindgren, the director of finance and operations for the school district, on Friday. It said “hopefully we can get you on the scheduling,” said Hansen.

The word “hopefully,” wasn’t very comforting to Hansen, who said he had originally been told the Blaze’s dates would be honored, regardless of how the legal matter turned out.

So it appears we’ve entered a new era for Legion Field.

Keeping the facility safe and in top condition should be the top priority. That’s no small task, considering nobody has a lot of extra cash to throw at the place — unless there’s a Sugar Daddy out there we haven’t been told about.

Scheduling the facility for Bremerton School District and community user-groups — like the Blaze and American Legion teams — should be the next priority. I’ve been told the district is using a new automated system to schedule facilities. That’s got trouble written all over it. It can’t be a totally-automated system. The district needs to be sensitive to the needs of the baseball community.

Legion Field can’t be run by a committee. It needs somebody in charge to make sure things are getting done, somebody who can work with all of those user groups, not just school district teams. Dick Ostrander has been that guy in the past. He’s worn a lot of hats and done a lot of work to make sure kids had a field to play baseball on in the past.

Ostrander’s an unsung hero who’s gonna be missed. He’s served as Post 68’s baseball commissioner for years, doing all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that has to be taken care of.

It’s going to be interesting to see how that field operates without him; to see who the behind-the-scenes guy is going to be because — I’m going to repeat myself — that field won’t run itself and it won’t run be committee — at least not effectively.

I’m not suggesting the district won’t do a good job operating Legion Field, but it’ll be interesting to see how they’re going to do it during this time when employees are getting laid off and there’s not a lot of extra cash to throw at it. That field, any field worth a damn, needs to be treated like a baby. You can’t give it enough love.

Stay tuned.

Steven Gray tribute worth a view

If you’re a fan of Bainbridge High grad Steven Gray and the Gonzaga Bulldogs, you’ll want to check out this video. It’s a really cool tribute to Gonzaga’s senior. It’s 13 minutes long, but if you have the time, I heartily recommend it. You get a pretty good idea of how much Gray means to his teammates.

The interviews with his teammates are priceless, especially the ones with Rob Sacre, who is like a brother to Gray. They’re the “ying and yang,” of Gonzaga basketball.

If Gray doesn’t wind up in the NBA or playing professionally somewhere, his teammate say that the laid-back Gray will probably be on an island someplace, wearing no shoes. Or living cheaply in Africa or acting at some club in the Seattle area.

On another note, this is what ESPN’s Dick Vitale had to say about the Zags, who open the NCAA Tournament on Thursday against St. John’s (CBS, around 6:45 p.m.):

“After a slow start, Gonzaga has come back to life, winning the West Coast Tournament. Steven Gray will be tough to stop, and I believe the Zags will score a first-round upset over coach Steve Lavin and St. John’s in Denver … I see Gonzaga being a real surprise, getting all the way to the Elite Eight.”

NCAA madness is upon us: Georgia Dogs vs. UW Dawgs and more

Quick thoughts and observations after scanning the bracket:

Washington’s Dawgs vs. Georgia’s Dogs: Considering the how Washington played in the Pac-10 Tournament, there’s no reason not to like their chances against an SEC squad that lost five of its last 10 games.

Did you know that Mark Fox, the Georgia coach, was a former Husky assistant? He worked at the UW from 1991-93 when Lynn Nance was running the show. His wife, Cindy, is a UW grad from Yakima who worked in the  Huskies’ marketing and promotions department.

Washington’s in a loaded East regional bracket. The top four seeds: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 North Carolina (a possible third-round foe), No. 3 Syracuse and No. 4 Kentucky.  If Washington beats Georgia, they’ll likely have to get past North Carolina in Carolina. That’s a pretty daunting task, but it can be done. This Carolina bunch can be had.

Gonzaga’s a No. 11 seed but at least the Zags’ fans won’t have to travel 1,800 miles like Husky fans. Gonzaga opens against No. 6 seed St. John’s on Thursday in Denver. The Johnnies are really, really good. They’ve got nine seniors and coming out of the Big East, St. John’s is as battle tested as any club in the country.

St. John’s features senior guard Dwight Hardy, who is one of those New York City playground legends who attended a high school that has a 33 percent graduation rate.  Gonzaga’s gonna have to limit Hardy if they want to move on to the next round.

If the Zags beat the Johnnies, Jimmer Fredette and BYU could be the next obstacle. Fredette brings back memories of Pistol Pete Maravich, the former gunslinger from LSU. Maravich had magical ball-handling skills and far more range than Fredette. The BYU guard is stockier and isn’t the showman Maravich was, but you can’t take your eyes off him.

Jimmer Fredette or not, BYU doesn’t seem like it was deservng of a No. 3 seed to me. They’ve lost two games since losing Brandon Davies to an honor code violation.

Intriguing matchup: Michigan State vs. UCLA in the Southeast. These two proud programs come in under the radar, but don’t count ’em out. Coaches Tom Izzo (MSU) and Ben Howland (UCLA) are two of the best in the business and they’re capable of going a long way despite their regular-season inconsistency.

Matchup to keep your eye on: No. 9 seed Old Dominion vs. No. 8 Butler in the Southwest. Old Dominion has beat six teams in the field; Butler, which got to the Final Four a year ago, has come alive, and is riding an eight-game winning streak.

High seed with the best chance of moving on: Richmond, a No. 12 seed in Southwest. Don’t mess around with the Spiders.

Vegas likes Ohio State: Sports books have made the Buckeyes 7-2 favorites to win the tournament. Kansas and Duke are 5-1 favorites and Pittsburgh, the other No. 1 seed, is a 12-1 pick.

Upset picks: I’m not saying I’d bet the house on it, but don’t be surprised if No. 12 Richmond beats No. 5 Vanderbilt in the Southwest, and No. 13 Belmont knocks off No. 4 Wisconsin in the Southeast.

Best nickname: Peacocks, as in St. Peter’s Peacocks. They’ve been known to ruffle a few feathers while slowing high-powered offenses with some tough defense. St. Peter’s is a No. 14 seed and opens against No. 3 Purdue in teh Southwest.

Best players in the tournament: That Jimmer kid, of course, and Kemba Walker, UConn, a re the best guards. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State, is the best inside player. Walker, a junior guard, willed UConn to the Big East Tournament title. Five wins in five days. Will he have anything left after averaging 26 points and making clutch plays in every game? Sullinger’s a freshman forward/center who earned Big 10 Player of theYear honors after averaging 17.4 points and 9.8 rebounds for No. 1 Buckeyes.

Sentimental pick: San Diego State. The Aztecs ended up with a No. 2 seed after a 32-2 season. Forward Kawhi Leonard’s the real deal and it would be cool to see Steve Fisher back in the Final Four? Fisher was the interim head coach in 1989 when Michigan won the NCAA title and he recruited the Fab Five that took the Wolverines to title games in 1992 and ’93. Scandal followed as players were given money by boosters and the school had to forfeit a bunch of wins from that era. Fisher was fired and now he’s back with a team that has never won an NCAA tournament game but has a chance to win it all.

Who do you like? How far will Washington and Gonzaga go?

Must-see TV? We’ll see

On a night when BYU’s Jimmer Ferdette has already gone for 33 points — in the first half! — and everyone’s waiting to see if the Washington Huskies can hold off those mighty mini-Ducks from Oregon (8:30 p.m., FSN), I’m more excited about watching three minutes of vintage baseball.

I came across this info in Tom Verducci’s blog at The MLB Network’s going to air three minutes of rare (and reportedly high quality)  9.5 mm film that was shot at Yankee Stadium in 1924. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson are among the players caught on film.  It will air on MLB Tonight at 7 p.m.

Here’s what Verducci wrote:

“The rare film is captivating because it brings these baseball ghosts closer to life than almost anything else you might have seen: the uncoiling of Ruth’s rotational power, which was innovative back then; a clear look at how Cobb awkwardly began his swing with his hands apart and brought them together as his bat came forward; and the unique slingshot style of Johnson, who, with his velocity and arm angle, must have been particularly frightening to righthanded hitters. Watching these greats, you understand how far (and how much better) the mechanics of the game have evolved.

“The stars were not far from the top of their game when the film was made in 1924. Johnson, then 36, won the pitching Triple Crown; Ruth, 29, and still five years from wearing his famous number 3, nearly won the hitting Triple Crown; and Cobb, 37, hit .338 with 211 hits, the last of his nine 200-hit seasons.”

I hope the film’s as good as I think it’s going to be.

By the way, at last check, Jimmer’s up to 39 points with nine minutes to play against New Mexico. Wonder what they’ll be saying about Jimmer Fredette’s style of play 90 years from now?

Romar’s toughest year; “Glory Road” revisited; more links

Here’s some recommended reading for another rainy day:

GREGG BELL, the former Associated Press writer who’s now the Director of Writing for the University of Washington’s online site, heaps praise on Lorenzo Romar while explaining why it’s been such a tough year for the men’s basketball coach.

ART THIEL of sportspress northwest said Romar had already handed out some measure of discipline to Venoy Overton before announcing that the senior guard would be suspended for the Pac-10 tournament. Thiel writes:

“There is a law against double jeopardy, but the legal issue is down to a misdemeanor. This is a team-rules and image issue. The fact that the allegations of forced sex failed to rise to a prosecutable case doesn’t mean a bad thing didn’t happen, and Romar’s program has taken a hit that keeps on hurting into a third month. As soon as Washington is done with the season, Romar would do the program a favor by explaining, in a situation that no longer has many secrets, what has gone down.

“On the other hand, throwing away Overton now just to prove Romar is a disciplinarian isn’t likely to repair a team image, nor help Overton. The damage has been done; a salvage operation has to be undertaken.

“Overton messed up big time, causing problems for many and grief for some. Basketball is secondary to what needs to be done to repair some lives and reputations.”

JOHN WALLINGFORD, a former Kitsap Sun writer, wrote an interesting piece that published earlier this week in the Tacoma News Tribune. It’s been 45 years since Seattle University beat Texas Western in a men’s basketball game at the Seattle Center Coliseum. It was the only loss for the Miners, who would go on to win the NCAA title with an all-black starting lineup. The movie — “Glory Road” — that came out in 2006 didn’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of the Miners or the Chieftains for that matter. Wallingford tells how “Glory Road” detoured from reality.

WILLIE BLOOMQUIST isn’t having much difficulty fitting in the Arizona Diamondbacks, who already appreciate what the former South Kitsap star brings to his new club.

MIKE SILVER of Yahoo! Sports writes that the ball is in the billionaires’ court when it comes to the NFL’s labor contract.

The either or game: Kolb or Hasselbeck? KJR or ESPN 710?

Let’s look at either or propositions:

Who would you prefer as quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks — Matt Hasselbeck or Kevin Kolb? The Seahawks and Hasselbeck are reportedly not close to agreeing on a new contract, and Kolb, Philadelphia’s backup to Michael Vick, has been linked to three NFC West teams, including Seattle. That’s easy: Kolb’s 26, Hasselbeck’s 36. If the Seahawks can make a deal, they should do it.

UW basketball coach Lorenzo Romar suspended Venoy Overton for the Pac-10 tournament, which starts Thursday in Los Angeles. Was the suspension enough, or should Overton have been booted for the rest of the season, which would include any possible games in the NCAA Tournament? It’s a tough call. You want to be forgiving, but the crime — he was charged with furnishing alcohol to 16-year-old girls, but escaped charges for sexual assault — is more serious than being caught with possession of pot. I think Romar should have bid adios to Overton. At the very least, he should not have allowed Overton to travel with and practice with the team.

KJR or ESPN 710 sports radio? Which station do you prefer? I tend to bounce around the talk-radio airwaves, so I’m not really going to take a side here. I want to be educated, not entertained. Give me a solid interview with a coach, athlete or someone in the sports biz. When the hosts start letting callers dominate the air waves, I’m tuning out. And lose the contests. Yes, even The Bigger Dance bores me.

Gonzaga or Washington? Providing the Huskies make it into the NCAA Tournament, which team makes a deeper run? And how long will that run last? Both teams have the pieces to win a couple of games, but I can’t see either making it past the second round. I think Steven Gray’s the key for Gonzaga. Gray needs to raise his game, and he usually does this time of the year. It won’t surprise me if Washington loses to Washington State, and doesn’t make the tournament. And it won’t surprise me if they blow the Cougs out. If Matthew Bryan-Amaning can tone his game down and become more workman-like (or Jon Brockman-like), the Huskies have a chance to win a game or two..

Will the M’s hit or won’t they? That’s about as basic as it gets when it comes to winning baseball games. The M”s were the baseball’s 2010 version of the Hitless Wonders, and until Wednesday’s exhibition game when they broke out for three home runs, 11 hits and 9 runs, they had struggled mightily in Arizona. Of course, those numbers in spring training have never counted for much. When it’s all said and done, I think the M’s will be a decent offensive team this year. Look for Chone Figgins to turn things around. Jack Cust (DH) And Miguel Olivo (catcher) give the M’s more punch at those spots. Look for Justin Smoak (1B) to figure it out and if Jack Wilson (SS) stays healthy, he’ll hit .300. You read it here first.

Has Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel been punished enough or does he deserve a bigger suspension? It turns out that Tressel knew all along that QB Terrelle Pryor and four others were being investigated by the feds for selling memorabilia. Tressel never told his boss. He let the players play, violating NCAA rules. Now The Ohio State has hit the coach with a two-game suspension and $250,000 fine. Chump change. The players were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. I hope the NCAA steps in to make sure that Tressel gets a more severe punishment. Everybody says he’s a quality guy. Maybe, but he lied and cheated. I hope the NCAA steps in and ups his suspension to five games, too.