Monthly Archives: April 2013

Ex-UW/WSU/PLU coach Marv Harshman passes at age 95

One of our state’s treasures, Marv Harshman, died today at age 95.

He was one of the classiest gentlemen I ever interviewed, and one of the greatest athletes and coaches in state history. He played and coached at Pacific Lutheran, before becoming the head basketball coach at Washington State and Washington. He twice turned down offers to coach the Seattle SuperSonics. He was considered a master when it came to teaching basketball. He was known for his ability to work with big men, and for coaching a matchup zone defense that gave opponents fits.

Former Sun colleague Terry Mosher wrote “Harsh” — a book about the Lake Stevens legend. It published in 1994 and offers a lot of insight into the Hall of Fame basketball coach who never got the national acclaim he deserved, mostly because of a coach (John Wooden) and team (UCLA) that dominated college basketball during Harshman’s era.

Here’s a column I wrote after interviewing Harshman at a book signing in 1994.


State has no shortage of NBA guards

Here’s a trivia question for any NBA fans out there. And, no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the possible move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. That seemed like a slam-dunk six weeks ago. Now, not so much. One gets the feeling David Stern is working some creepy behind-the-scenes magic to keep the team in Sac-town. And I’m OK with that, as long as the league delivers Seattle an expansion team that will being play no later than the 2015-16 season, which is when Chris Hansen’s new arena in SoDo is expected to be completed and ready to open.

Anyway, back to the trivia question? How many guards on NBA rosters played their high school or college basketball in the state of Washington? Hint, it’s probably more than you think. (Answer below).

Before I get to the answer, there are four e four NBA forwards from the state: Martell Webster (Seattle Prep), Washington Wizards; Marvin Williams (Bremerton), Utah Jazz; Aron Baynes (Washington State), San Antonio Spurs; Quincy Pondexter (Washington), Memphis Grizzlies.  Of that foursome, Webster’s the top player, averaging 11.9 points and 3.9 rebounds. Williams’ play has really tailed off this season. The former B-town star is averaging a career low 7.4 ppg and 3.6 rpg for the Jazz, but has been nagged by a series of ailments. The latest is a tendinitis in his right heel.

And there’s three centers: Spencer Hawes (Seattle Prep/Washington), Philadelphia 76ers; Robert Sacre (Gonzaga), LA Lakers; Ronny Turiaf (Gonzaga), LA Clippers. Hawes averages 11 ppg, 7.3 rpg. He averaged 14 points in March while playing the best basketball of his career.

That brings us back to the trivia question. How many guards?

Did you say 14? By my count, that’s how many were in the league last week. But Dallas didn’t sign Justin Dentmon (Washington) to a second 10-day contract, so there’s only 13. That’s still a pretty high number, don’t ya think? (Update: There are 14; Justin Holiday is now in the league after signing with Philadelphia in early April).

They are, in no special order:

Nate Robinson (Rainier Beach/Washington), Chicago Bulls. Nate the Great came off the bench to score 35 points in 33 minutes on Thursday in an overtime win over the Knicks. The season-long injury to Derrick Rose gave Robinson an opportunity in Chicago and he’s averaging 14.4 ppg in his seventh NBA season.

Jason Terry (Franklin/Arizona), Boston Celtics. The veteran averages 10.2 points, coming off the bench for the Celtics.

Avery Bradley  (Bellarmine Prep/Texas), Boston Celtics. Former backcourt partner with UW’s Abdul Gaddy, who was the higher-rated player out of high school, averages 9.1 points. Injuries have limited this quick, defensive-oriented player to 47 games, but he had stretches early where he really played well.

Terrance Williams (Rainier Beach/Louisville), Boston Celtics. Yep, three state players on the C’s roster. Williams was in Spain earlier this season and is getting limited minutes. Technically I suppose, you’d list T-Williams as a G-F.

Rodney Stuckey (Kentwood/Eastern Washington), Detroit Pistons. I still remember him coming off a screen and hitting a deep jumper in front of press row in the 2004 Class 4A state finals victory against South Kitsap. “That was an NBA jump shot,” I remember saying to the guy next to me. Stuckey’s coming off the bench now, but he’s still an above-average NBA guard, averaging 11.7 points.

Terrance Ross (Washington), Toronto Raptors. Averages 6.2 points per game in rookie season.

Luke Ridnour (Blaine/Oregon), Minnesota Timberwolves. Ridnour’s probably a better player now than he was in Seattle years ago. Averages 11.6 points. 3.8 assists in his 9th season. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Sonics.

Brandon Roy (Garfield/Washington), Minnesota Timberwolves. Perhaps the greatest guard to come out of our state, Roy came back for one more season, but appeared in just five games before his knee gave out on him again.

Tony Wroten (Garfield/Washington), Memphis Grizzlies. A classic case of a player who needed more time in college to refine his game, but you can’t blame him for turning pro, not with the money they’re throwing at guys these days. He’s getting 8.5 minutes a game, all of it garbage time, with the Griz.

Aaron Brooks (Franklin/Oregon)m, Houston Rockets. Fourth-year player’s once-promising career seems to be headed in another direction. He was let go by Sacramento and picked up by the Rockets, but isn’t getting much court time.

Isaiah Thomas (Curtis/Washington), Sacramento Kings. The second-year guard has matured into a really good player in just his second season. Thomas averages 14 points, 3.9 assists and would become an huge fan favorite if the Kings move to Seattle.

Klay Thompson (Washington State), Golden State Warriors. Second-year pro seems destined for stardom. Averages 16.4 points while shooting at a 40 percent clip. His genes are pretty good. His dad Mychal Thompson was the top overall pick in the 1978 NBA draft. He won two rings with the Lakers. His mom played volleyball at the University of San Francisco. Older brother Mychel Thompson played basketball at Pepperdine. Younger brother Trayce Thompson is an outfielder and the top prospect in the White Sox’s minor league organization.

Jamal Crawford (Rainier Beach/Michigan), LA Clippers. Crawford could always score, and he’s not slowing down at age 33. The 8th overall pick out of Michigan in 2000, the 12-year pro is averaging 16.9 points off the bench and could be this year’s Sixth Man of the Year award winner.

Justin Holiday (Washington), Philadelphia 76ers. Holiday was signed to a 10-day contract at the start of the month. He’s a strong defender who was playing in the NBA D League. He joins his brother, Jrue Holiday, in Philadelphia. Jrue is Philly’s leading scorer.


Some NFL stuff: The Shermanator, “Kickalicious” & More

Richard Sherman threw out the ceremonial first pitch Thursday night at Safeco Field and it was a strike. The Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback was back in the news earlier in the week when he said that half of the NFL’s players were using Adderall. The Vancouver Sun in British Columbia reported that story. The NFL called Sherman’s comments “irresponsible” and “ill-informed.” Sherman later said he was misquoted, but The Sun is sticking to its story, and released video of the interview. Sherman made even bigger headline earlier in the offseason when he ripped Skip Bayless on ESPN’s “First Take.” Bayless had criticized Sherman, the Stanford grad took Bayless apart:  “I’m better at life than you.” He called Bayless “a pompous, egotistical, arrogant cretin.” He said: “I’m gonna crush you in front of everybody.”

Has Sherman gone too far? Have you lost any respect for the guy, who is clearly one of the elite pass defenders in the NFL? Should Pete Carroll rope him in? Or is it all of his trash-talking simply fun and games and harmless? I’m kind of on the fence. I don’t mind a little rebellion once in a while, but it seems the more he puts himself out there, the less funny he becomes.

Havard Rugland, a Norwegian kicker, has been signed by the Detroit Lions to compete with David Akers for the job previously held by Jason Hanson. He’s been dubbed “Kikalicious.” Check out this video and you’ll understand why.

Jeff Garcia, the former NFL quarterback who now works as a quarterback instructor, says the Jets should release Tim Tebow sooner than later.

Why Brady Quinn? “He’s a pro,” said Carl Smith, the Seahawks’ veteran quarterback coach. Smith coached Quinn, who was signed to compete for a backup job earlier in the week, at Cleveland. “His best years are ahead of him,” Smith said.

No. 56. That’s when the Seahawks will pick in the NFL Draft. Claire Farnsworth of writes that the team once drafted Michael Jackson, a linebacker from Washington who led the Seahawks in tackles from 1980-82, with the 57th pick. They got cornerback Josh Wilson with the 57th 55th pick in 2007. They’ve never had a 56th pick. Who will it be?

A billion dollars for Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers? Teammate A.J. Hawk said whatever Rodgers gets, he’s worth every penny.

Jay-Z could help Victor Cruz land a big deal with the New York Giants. The rapper’s Creative Arts Agency recently announced that it had formed an athlete management firm called Roc Nation Sports. Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano was his first client.

Links: Villopoto, The Glove, The Chinese Golf Prodigy & More

The Seattle Supercross race takes place Saturday, April 20, at CenturyLink Field. Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto might have another series title clinched by then. He’s won five straight races and six of the last seven.

Seahawks broadcaster Warren Moon, during an interview in Minnesota, says wide receiver Percy Harvin could be the piece that elevates Seattle to the Super Bowl. 

Some Hall of Fame love for The Glove, Gary Payton.

Story is a little old, but just came across this piece on Todd Linden, the Central Kitsap grad who is still pursuing his dream with the Fresno Giants. Linden was interviewed last month during spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz.

He’s 14 and he’s playing in the Masters? Chinese prodigy is golf’s latest Asian sensation.

More on Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old golfer from China.

Looking forward to seeing the movie “42” which opens Friday. The film is about Jackie Robinson, and how he changed society for the better.

Remember Tadd Fujikawa, the Hawaiian teen who played in the U.S. Open and the U.S. Public Links at Gold Mountain as a 15-year-old in 2006? Fujikawa later had a top finish at the SONY Open in Hawaii. He’s now 22 and trying to qualify for the PGA TOUR Canada.


A Q&A with Tiger Woods from the Masters.


I talked to Brady Steiger earlier in the week and the former South Kitsap baseball star, now playing at Lewis-Clark State, will be the subject of my Thursday column.


Vettleson to start season with Class A Charlotte Biscuits

Drew Vettleson, coming off an MVP season at Low A Bowling Green (Ky.) will start the season with the High A Charlotte Biscuits (N.C.). The Central Kitsap grad, a right fielder, made a start for the major league Tampa Rays this spring.

Vettleson, 21, is rated the 10th-best prospect in the Rays’ organization by

Also, former South Kitsap standout Aaron Cunningham will open the season with the Round Rock Express, the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A club. Round Rock’s part of the Austin metropolitan area. Cunningham’s goal, of course, is to get back to the majors, where he’s played parts of the last five seasons. The outfielder, who turns 27 on April 27, spent most of last season with the Cleveland Indians and signed a minor-league contract with Texas in the offseason.

Marvin loses starting job to neighbor in Utah; Kelly struggling on PGA Tour

Bremerton’s Marvin Williams is averaging career low numbers in his first year with the Utah Jazz, and was recently benched.

Williams, the consummate teammate, seemed to take it all in stride, said his coach Tyrone Corbin. Williams has never complained about playing time or getting a lack of shots during his career. Winning, he has said over and over, is what matters most and the Jazz are on a four-game winning streak and tied with the Lakers for eighth in the NBA Western Conference. Here’s a look at Marvin’s numbers.

Troy Kelly will try to jump-start his season at the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open in San Antonio this week. The Central Kitsap grad and former University of Washington golfer has made just three cuts in nine tournaments, and is No. 180 on the money list ($32,350). He tied for 62nd (Pebble Beach), 63rd  (Puerto Rico) and 67th (Tampa Bay). He’s played 24 rounds and broke 70 just three times, only once in his last 16 rounds. His scoring average (72.726) ranks No. 170. But the beauty of pro golf, as Kelly found out a year ago, is all it takes is one tournament to secure his card for another season. Last year, Kelly’s second-place finish at the Greenbrier paid $658,800. There’s still a lot of golf to play.