Dec. 13, 1999
PULLMAN, Wash. - Paul Mencke was already a slash -- quarterback/tight end/receiver. Now you can add two more words to that title -- guard/forward. Mencke, a two-time Greater Spokane League MVP, has joined the Washington State basketball team, head coach Paul Graham announced, and had his first practice with the team on Monday.
"We are happy to have Paul Mencke join our program," Graham said. "We would also like to thank Mike Price for giving his approval and letting a valuable member of his football program also be a part of our basketball program. Paul is a good athlete and is someone who we feel will be a positive addition to the team."
During his junior year, the Spokane native was named MVP of the GSL and led Lewis and Clark High School to its first state tournament appearance in 32 years. The 6-5, 229-lbs., Mencke averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game as a senior and repeated his GSL MVP honors. Playing for coach Glenn Williams, he led the GSL in scoring in back-to-back seasons.
"In high school, I always thought I would be playing basketball and not football," Mencke said. "That was before Washington State came along. I've always loved the game of basketball and I'm very thankful that coach Graham and coach Price have given me this opportunity.
"Coach Price has been most supportive of this. He thinks it will be a really great thing. In fact, when I approached him about playing basketball, coach Price walked me down the hall and introduced me to coach Graham."
Mencke, who will wear number 24 ("I wanted to wear number 12, but it was too small," he said.), will travel and dress for WSU's game versus Portland State on December 20. Mencke will also have a homecoming of sorts on January 5 when the Cougars open the Pac-10 season versus USC at the Spokane Arena. It will be the first time in four years that Mencke will play in the Lilac City.
"I think we could be a team that could surprise some people," he said. "The one thing I've noticed is that we play extremely tough defense and if you do that well, you have a chance to beat people. I don't know what my role on the team will be, I'm just happy to contribute. Right now I've got to concentrate on the fundamentals and get back in basketball shape. I'm a little rusty."
Like he was in football, Mencke is a redshirt junior and has this season and next season of eligibility remaining. Following basketball, Mecke will re-join the football team for spring drills and then stay with football through the fall. If all goes well this season, Mencke will play basketball again next winter following the conclusion of the 2000 football season.
Mencke will become the first football-basketball two-sport athlete at WSU since former NFL player Kitrick Taylor, who lettered in football in 1982-83 and 1985-86 and in basketball in 1985 and 1987.
Paul Mencke's updated football bio:
HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Earned varsity letters in basketball, baseball and football, the latter for coach John Hook...during JUNIOR season was the co-MVP of the Greater Spokane League in basketball while leading the league in scoring...basketball team captain...as a SENIOR, threw for nearly 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in only season as a starter...All-GSL third team quarterback...captain of both football and basketball teams...football team MVP.
FRESHMAN (1996-97): Redshirt season...earned offensive scout team award for week of Temple game.
RS-FRESHMAN (1997-98): Appeared in three games (Boise State, Southwestern Louisiana and the jayvee game)...completed one of two passes for five yards against Southwestern Louisiana...carried the ball twice for seven yards.
RS-SOPHOMORE (1998-99): V-letter...played in the last 10 games of the season after sitting out the opener against Illinois...started three late-season contests against USC, Arizona State and Arizona, but played in each of the other seven games...against Oregon completed 11 of 20 passes for 99 yards, no interceptions and no TD passes...in final season game against Washington hit on 12 of 20 passes for 156 yards, with one interception...threw three touchdown passes at home against ASU and had three at Stanford...tied a school record with six interceptions against USC, four in the fourth quarter...also had three interceptions at Stanford...longest pass a 75-yard scoring toss to Jason White...threw two TD passes to Nian Taylor when the latter tied a WSU record with three scoring receptions against ASU...also threw two scoring passes to Jason White at Stanford...his favorite receiver was Taylor, who hauled in five touchdown receptions...ranked 10th in the Pac-10 in total offense at 116.7 yards per game...earned the following game awards: Offensive Big Play - Oregon.
RS-JUNIOR (1999-00): Played in 10 of 12 games, with action as both a quarterback and wide receiver...picked to the GTE/CoSIDA Academic second team for District 8 as a wide receiver...a Pacific-10 Conference all-academic honorable mention choice...battled Steve Birnbaum and Jason Gesser for starting QB role, but came out third before opener...for the first four games saw action as a receiver, but none at quarterback...when Gesser was lost after the Arizona game, moved into the number two spot at QB, but still continued to see receiver duty...only QB action came against Louisiana, when he hit three of eight for 48 yards, and then substantial duty at Oregon, where he hit 12 of 20 passes for 157 yards, one score and one interception...caught three passes in the first three games, then finished strong with a pair of catches at Washington and four for 35 yards at Hawaii.
Paul Mencke...born 7-27-78 at Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany...parents Dan and Lue Mencke...member of National Honor Society with a 3.55 GPA in high school...won Rotary Club leadership award...Inland Empire Scholar-Athlete winner by the sponsoring National Football Foundation...older sisters, Kerri and Kammi, also attended WSU...working on a secondary education major.
- GO COUGS -