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Basketball

Winter 2003

Is there life after basketball?

Donaldson finds it in business and community

James Donaldson would like you to know that he’s fine not playing basketball. Sure, the former Washington State center spent 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association and on the European circuit. And yes, it brought him some nice paychecks and an opportunity to compete at the highest levels of professional basketball. But it’s never been a case of “basketball is life.”

Now don’t get the wrong picture. Donaldson still misses the competition. Still misses the practices–really–and the nightly face-off in games.

But here’s the ugly side of pro sports—it’s cutthroat. Younger players are always brought in to … » More …

Fall 2003

Dick Bennett's mantra: "Play hard, smart, and together"

In more than three decades of coaching, Dick Bennett has developed a simple philosophy about basketball. It’s a team game.

“Once players understand and embrace that concept, basketball becomes simple-at both ends of the floor,” he says.” Viewed strictly as an individual showcase, it becomes more difficult. There is room for individual play to shine within the team framework, but in Bennett’s scheme of things, “we” takes precedence over “me.”

Listening to Washington State University’s new basketball boss talk about the game, one learns about the sport and the man. He’s as much a student of the game as he is a teacher/coach. He … » More …

Summer 2007

Hoop dreams

Cougar fans are still shaking themselves awake from the dream that was the 2006-07 basketball season.

The sweet reverie set in early this winter during a game against Gonzaga at Friel Court. For the first time in years, a scrappy bunch of mostly juniors and sophomores showed us that channeled energy, resiliency, and strategic coaching could add up to victory. The Washington State University win shattered a seven-game losing streak against the Zags and started a season loaded with ending streaks and broken records.

Sports analysts who predicted we’d finish at the back of the Pac-10 were forced to take a second look at Tony … » More …

Winter 2001

Basketball—Pac-10 tourney on their minds

GETTING TO THE INAUGURAL post-season Pac-10 women’s basketball tournament is not a problem. All conference teams are invited to the March 1-4 tourney in Eugene, Oregon. The challenge is to succeed.

Last year, the Cougars were 11-17 overall and ninth in the league. With eight letter-winners gone, just about every position is wide open. “Questions will be answered by how hard the players compete,” coach Jenny Przekwas says as she embarks on her third campaign in Pullman. “We have some good experience returning and a really high desire to win.”

Guard Jessica Collins, back for a fifth season after a medical hardship year, leads the … » More …

Winter 2001

Basketball—Heading in the right direction

THE WASHINGTON State men’s basketball program isn’t where Paul Graham wants it to be. But the third-year coach has it headed in the right direction.

Last year the Cougars doubled their win total to 12. Can the Cougars build on that momentum? Can they improve their sixthplace finish in the Pac-10, WSU’s best showing in six years?

WSU defeated Oregon, swept Arizona State, and won back-to-back league games— against Oregon and Oregon State— for the first time in four years. WSU’s 10 victories on Friel Court were the most since 1995.

Experience will be the team’s strength. Six-foot-10 senior center J Locklier started all 28 … » More …

Summer 2004

WSU Hall of Fame adds 5 who excelled

Carol Gordon

On February 21, the day of her induction into Washington State University’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Carol Gordon offered a silent prayer. That evening she shared her petition with 180 guests at the induction banquet in the Compton Union Building.

“Please let me speak before George [Raveling],” the longtime WSU professor, coach, and administrator said. Her comment drew a rousing ovation from the audience, including Raveling himself. The charismatic Cougar basketball coach from 1972-83 would speak later. Olympic gold medallist Julius Korir; Linda Williams Sheridan, Spokane prep coaching legend; and football All-America Mike Utley were the other honorees.

Gordon championed women’s athletics at … » More …

Spring 2004

Seeing the floor, making the plays: Basketball's Marcus Moore

Very little ever got in Marcus Moore’s way.

Faced with an obstacle, Washington State University’s senior point guard could usually flash that Crest-friendly smile or whip around it with an ankle-buckling crossover dribble.

But last summer nothing, not the movie star smile, not the Mach 3 quickness, could get Moore where he wanted to be-into the first round of the National Basketball Association draft.

So after taking trips to predraft camps in Chicago and Portsmouth, Virginia, and not being assured a spot in the first round–guaranteeing a contract–Moore thought it over. He talked to his family in Inglewood, California, and decided to return for his … » More …

Fall 2005

Cougars abroad

With more and more Europeans on the roster of NBA teams, Americans like Jan-Michael Thomas ’01 have to look outside the United States if they want to continue their hoop careers.

As a Cougar basketball player, Jan-Michael Thomas (’01 Bus. Mgt.) was one of the top long-range shooters in the country. Now he’s a lot farther than a three-point shot from his American roots.

Thomas spent this past basketball season playing for a pro team in Szolnok, Hungary, about an hour southeast of the capital, Budapest.

“It is a great country, in terms of basketball, for someone who wants to get the opportunity to play,” … » More …