So it got weird with Kevin Love and Darren Collison. First the LA Times says they are gone, then Ben Howland later in the day says mmmm, not so fast. They aren't gone...yet. What will today bring? Who knows. But when you think about it, why, EXACTLY, would you bolt UCLA early if given the choice? You could probably come up with a few reasons to stick it out??
Moving on, in one of the worst-kept secrets around, Stephen Sauls got his release from the hoops program. It's been speculated for months since he suffered his concussion and returned home to Texas. It's too bad, because he's reportedly a good kid and did some things that warranted playing time early on in Tony's system. When you think about losing Low and Weaver from next year's team, you could see how Sauls would fit in. Hopefully he gets healthy and finds something closer to home.
Which brings us to DeAngelo Casto. Rumored since the 4-A state tourney that he was a hard lean to WSU, Casto has been claiming to all who will listen that he wants to be a Coug. Well, not so fast. First of all, he hasn't qualified yet academically with test scores below the eligibility line. Then there's another player out there that we are interested in, and that is Paul McCoy, the highly-touted point guard from Oregon. McCoy was headed for Pepperdine, but was let out of his LOI after their coach left the program. McCoy is now back out there and the recruiting is really heating up for him. He just had a visit to Kentucky, and WSU is one of about eight schools on his list. So it might be a long shot to get him anyway, but one could argue that if we did get him, he might better fit a need for next year vs. a low-post presence in Casto?
Another fly in the Casto ointment? Georgetown. The Hoyas have started calling him, and it sounds according to Cougfan that he's starting to get a little starry-eyed. His quote to Cougfan was "if he could do it real BIG" he could head to Georgetown. BIG? Hmm, maybe he's not the fit we thought? That isn't exactly music to Tony's ears, wouldn't you say? Casto did talk to the Spokesman yesterday, and sounded much more certain to be a Coug. We'll see how it plays out. We will probably find out quick, with the spring signing period kicking off on April 16th.
Big day in the Pac-10 hoops scene yesterday. OJ Mayo is gone, and he's hiring an agent so forget about him coming back. And why should he? NBADraft.net has him as the #3 pick right now. If you are projected as a lottery pick, you probably should go (as Love is #13 right now). But a top-3 pick? BUH-BYE! Chase Budinger also declared his NBA intentions. However he hasn't yet decided on hiring an agent or not, so the door could stay open for his return. Personally? Good riddance. He can't leave fast enough for me.
Trent Johnson jumped to Baton Rouge. He was part of the article earlier in the week, one of many coaches that LSU spoke with at the Final Four. But he wasn't exactly rumored to be THE guy. I heard a writer from LSU on the radio late yesterday, and the general feeling was one of shock. He thought Pernell of Clemson was the top choice. He also said that he heard Tony was in the top-3, for sure, but he basically told them in a one-sided conversation that he was very happy in Pullman so you should move on to someone else. SO why would Johnson leave? It sounds as though there was a lot going on down there, from not seeing eye-to-eye with the AD, not being happy with his contract that still wasn't officially renewed, etc. The incident vs. Marquette probably didn't help things with the Stanford brass either?? There is already a list of candidates for the Stanford job, and NO, Tony isn't on the list. One name that is interesting though? Mark Few. The Seattle Times posted a story from a few years back that said Few could be a really good fit down there and that "sources close to Few speculate he could be interested in Stanford." Interesting.
Back to WSU football (that is what we do around here?). The TNT had a strong write-up of QB Kevin Lopina and his progress this spring. We wrote about him after the last scrimmage, and even though we have heard good information about Marshall Lobbestael, the buzz has been the strongest about Lopina locking up the #2 spot in the QB rotation. If he stays healthy and things continue, he will really push Rogers for PT this fall.
You probably already know what you need to about Lopina and his back-story, but one thing that jumped out was his rushing ability at De La Salle. Did you know he logged 750 rushing yards and 10 TD's as a senior? You can understand why he would be a fit in Wulff's offense, which while not completely necessary, hey, an athletic QB in this shotgun, spread offense? What an asset! Lopina could be that "hold your breath" kind of guy, who you just never know if he could tuck it and run or pull it back and wing it. We haven't seen a legit dual-threat like that in many years. Gesser could scramble, but he wasn't a guy who scared defenses with his legs. Brink? No. Kegel was a decent athlete, but again, not like this. I guess you could go all the way back to Rosey and his running ability? I would bet that no matter how well Rogers does, we ARE going to see Lopina get a few series, especially early on, to get a better handle on where he is.
Anyone notice Jeshua Anderson's accomplishments away from the football program right now? Yeah, he's just been named Pac-10 track athlete of the week! You already know this, but Anderson really is big-time in the hurdles. How big? Well, his latest time of 49.68 seconds in the 400m hurdles not only leads the NCAA's this year, it's the second-fastest time in THE COUNTRY. It's the 10th-best time in the world right now. Have we seen the last of Anderson in a football uniform? There's big money in track and field, bigger than we probably realize. When you are one of the best on the face of the earth in an event, can you blame him if he does go the pro route? Too bad for the football team if he is done, but great for the young man!
Finally, the spring game has been called off. As Wulff said in the TNT article, they are just too low on healthy bodies and the alarming lack of depth is too much to overcome this spring. Now they will have an open scrimmage at 11, followed by an autograph session at 12:30. Our own Hooty McBoob will be in Pullman to take it all in, so look for a recap later on Saturday.
GO COUGS! ENJOY YOUR THURSDAY!