Some quick things to get your week going:
Jeshua Anderson is an NCAA champion. I know this isn't breaking news, as it happened on Saturday, but still worth a big mention. That kid, man, he is really, really special. From the article:
Before the Men’s 400 Hurdles, most observers felt that Washington State freshman Jeshua Anderson had a brilliant future. Third coming into the last hurdle, Anderson seized the future by the throat, running a sensational final 40 meters to win with the fifth-fastest time in history by an athlete under 20 years of age. Auburn’s Rueben McCoy ran a personal record to finish a close second; another freshman, Robert Griffin (Baylor), finished third.
Fifth-fastest in history under 20 years of age? WOW. We went over this before a few weeks ago, about his long climb to the Olympic Games for '08. He still has a lot of work ahead, but winning an NCAA title is a nice way of announcing his presence in pursuit of summer glory!
As a football fan, I can't help but feel conflicted here. I want the kid to do as best as he possibly can, for his glory and for WSU. But at the same time, out of pure fear of not seeing him on the football field again, I don't want him to do TOO WELL! Not that I would ever root against him, but, well, I have to admit it - I want to see him running under Gary Rogers home-run balls thrown deep down the sideline this year, don't you? If he makes the Olympic team, his football future has to be at least somewhat in doubt, doesn't it?
Cougfan has fired up the player diaries. This year we get Gary Rogers and Mike Graise providing regular updates. You know the drill. They'll rave about how great it is that everyone is sticking around Pullman to work out, everyone seems together, everyone looks great......we've been here before. But seriously, I enjoy the first-person takes on what is going on with the team during these times. And this passage from Graise caught my eye:
Last year, in retrospect, there were some guys who didn't shine as brightly in that first week due to poor training in May…and I was one of them. But looking around now, I can really see the fire in our eyes. You can see us competing with one another and making everyone better.
And to answer one of your questions that I know will come up: Yes, it is all due to coach Paul Wulff and his staff.
From the moment they stepped foot on the practice field, we as players have found ourselves in uncharted territory -- the winter workouts we had with these coaches were the most intense workouts I have ever done in my life.
I think we all like to hear that! As coach Wulff has said from the beginning, things need to change on a variety of levels, things that we'll see on Saturdays of course, but mainly things that go on behind the scenes. And the early returns sound positive.
Meanwhile, coach Wulff continues to make the golf/banquet rounds. This time in Yakima, and Wulff gave a quick interview to the Yakima Herald. Pretty good/quick read, including some material provided by our own Todd Thrasher.
The Seattle game tickets are moving fast. We're already up over 25,000 sold, including student tickets, after only a few weeks of sales. To put that number in perspective, we had that many sold in mid-August last year. We're 65% ahead of last year's pace. The reasons for this are plenty when you think about it - new coach making his WSU debut, decent opponent, no competing game that day (UW is at Oregon), etc. Plus, with gas prices out of control and $5.00/gallon coming soon to a pump near you, this might be the only shot for some west-side fans on a tight budget to see a game in person this year. With the way things are going now, I think it might be an upset if Qwest isn't sold out by kickoff.
Finally, non-Coug related but that Sonics trial is starting up today. I won't waste much time on this as I know many of you simply do not care, but it is a big deal in Seattle. I have to admit I'm surprised that this thing is seeing the inside of a courtroom. I thought we would have a settlement by now. But I guess when you take each position, you realize that both sides have too much to lose by settling at this point. The city loses the team if they take the payoff now, no matter how many zero's are in the amount payable line of the check. And what would Bennett gain by settling? The only thing the city sees as an acceptable settlement now is if they get to keep the team here, or at least gets an iron-clad guarantee of a replacement team as soon as possible. Bennett is dug in and lawyered up, so he's not going to give it up without a fight. And he obviously needs the NBA's help to give Seattle another team. So thus far, nobody has blinked in this stare-down. Save Our Sonics is holding a rally this afternoon at 4:30 at the courthouse, where between 500 - 1000 people are expected.
We'll see what happens, but it should be an interesting ride over the next week or so. If you are interested, check out SonicsCentral.com for regular updates and excellent commentary and coverage by people who's blood runs Sonics green-n-gold. They have done a fantastic job keeping everyone updated on what's going on.
HAVE A GREAT MONDAY! And stay tuned for more Spring Fish Wraps, as we are down to the final four opponents for 2008.