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Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
California at Washington State
Courtesy: Washington State Athletics
Release: 02/25/2000
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Feb. 25, 2000

PULLMAN, Wash. - It's Senior Night as the Cougars host California Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will be shown live on Fox Sports Net Northwest.

COUGARS BID FAREWELL TO THOMAS AND CROSBY: Seniors Jan-Michael Thomas and Chris Crosby take the floor at Friel Court for the last time Saturday...Thomas, a 6-0 guard from Inglewood, Calif., had his career come to an abrupt end earlier this week when he suffered a knee injury in practice (see page 4 for more details)...a transfer from San Joaquin Delta Junior College, Thomas finishes his WSU career as the Cougars' all-time leader in free throw percentage (.829) a junior, Thomas set a school record with 89 three-pointers...he played in 50 career games and ranks fifth in WSU career three-pointers with 140...Thomas is scheduled to graduate this summer with a degree in social science. Crosby, a 6-8 forward, is a four-year letter winner who will finish his career in WSU's all-time top 10 in scoring...he is currently 12th with 1,241 points, just 21 points away from the top 10...the Littleton, Colo., native's name is scattered throughout the Cougar record addition to his impressive point total, Crosby ranks fourth in three-point field goals (186) and eighth in free throw percentage (.792)...he is also on the verge of becoming the only Cougar to have two seasons rank among the top ten in free throw percentage in WSU history, this season he's hitting .837 at the line (sixth), while he connected at an .844 clip (fourth) in 1999...Saturday will be Crosby's 111th career game...Crosby is scheduled to graduate this summer with a degree in business management. WSU will also bid farewell to senior manager Jake Hamblin...a native of Preston, Idaho, Hamblin is a two-year manager for the Cougars who will graduate in May with a degree in sport management.

THIS WEEK Friel Court at Beasley Coliseum (12,058)

Radio: The Crimson & Gray Sports Network will broadcast all WSU regular season games on its 13-station network with Bud Nameck (7th season) calling the play-by-play. Broadcasts are also available via the Internet,

California vs. WSU Saturday, February 26, 2000 7:30 p.m. PST

Television: The Washington State-California game will be shown live regionally on Fox Sports Net Northwest. Dennis Patchin and Bill Krueger are the announcers.

Records: WSU is looking to snap a 15-game losing streak in its final home game. The Cougars are 5-18 overall, 0-14 in the Pac-10. Cal has thoughts of postseason play with a 15-10 overall record (6-7 Pac-10). The defending NIT champs may be hoping for a return to New York.

Butch Unveiled -- A Halftime You Won't Want To Miss: At halftime Saturday, Washington State will unmask its two senior Butches in what is guaranteed to be one shagadelic show. Though the names of the WSU mascots will remain a secret until halftime, we can tell you that one Butch is from Spokane and the other is from Gig Harbor. The two Butches have scripted an Austin Powers skit, complete with "Mojo," "Mini-Butch" and "Fat Butch," and with an ending that you've just got to see to believe -- a Friel Court first for sure.

On Deck: The first of four road games to finish the season finds WSU traveling to Edinburg, Texas, for a non-conference date with Texas-Pan American Monday night at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time.

WSU COACH PAUL GRAHAM: Paul Graham is in his first season as a head coach...he has a 5-18 record overall and at Washington State...Graham was an assistant coach for seven seasons under Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State prior to accepting the head position at WSU...he is the 13th former Sutton assistant to land a Division I head coaching job...Graham is the 14th head coach in the 99-year history of Cougar basketball...against Grambling State, Graham became the 11th WSU head coach to win his home debut. Though Graham lost his first game (Nevada) as WSU's head coach, it's not a bad sign...the last Cougar head coach to lose his first game on the Cougar sideline was George Raveling in 1972, who would later become the only man in WSU history to lead the Cougars to two NCAA Tournament appearances (1980, 1983).

OH WHAT A FRIELING: Washington State's 74-71 victory December 2, 1998, against Portland State was the Cougars' 200th all-time win at Beasley Coliseum's Friel Court...beginning with an 80-78 WSU victory against Louisiana State on December 1, 1973, the Cougars have won nearly two-thirds of the games they have played there (.636)...WSU has a 208-119 all-time record in Beasley...milestone wins at Friel:

No. 1 WSU 80, LSU 78, 12/1/73
No. 3 WSU 71, USC 56, 1/5/74 (first league win)
No. 25 WSU 77, Cal 63, 1/8/77
No. 50 WSU 77, USC 57, 1/24/80
No. 100 WSU 75, Oregon 71, 2/14/86
No. 150 WSU 95, Oregon 79, 1/21/93
No. 200 WSU 74, Portland State 71, 12/2/98

HOME NON-LEAGUE STREAK ENDS AT 45: The second-longest non-conference home winning streak in the nation ended at 45 games after No. 25 Utah stopped WSU 78-66 Dec. 11 at Friel was nearly a decade since WSU's last non-conference home loss...WSU was 45-1 versus non-conference teams at Friel during the 1990s!...the Cougars had not lost at home to a non-conference foe since December 14, 1989, when Idaho escaped Friel Court with a 56-52 win. The streak began with a 112-81 win over BYU-Hawaii in the first game of the 1990-91 season...WSU's 45 wins include 40 at Friel and five at Bohler Gym (all during the 1990-91 season)...the streak also included NIT victories in 1992 (Minnesota), 1995 (Texas Tech) and 1996 (Gonzaga).

PACK YOUR BAGS: Of WSU's 17 losses, 15 have come to teams making postseason plans...near-locks for the NCAA Tournament include Stanford (23-1), Arizona (23-4), Oregon (18-7), Utah (20-5) and Gonzaga (20-7)...bubble/NIT teams include Arizona State (16-9), California (15-10), UCLA (14-11), USC (14-11), Oregon State (12-13) and Colorado State (16-9)...that's a combined record of 191-87 and a winning percentage of .687!

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: Despite last weekend's record-setting loss to Stanford (101-50), the young Golden Bears are still having a fine season and have a good shot at the NIT...JR F Sean Lampley averages double figures (16.3 ppg)...Cal has been starting three freshmen in forward Brian Wethers (6.8 ppg), center Nick Vander Laan (9.8 ppg) and guard Shantay Legans (9.1 ppg)...but picking Cal's starters is a lot like picking the lottery -- 11 different players have been used in a myriad of combinations...nearly all of Cal's scoring will return next season as SR G Raymond King (1.6 ppg) is the only regular scheduled to graduate in 2000.

WSU-CALIFORNIA SERIES: Golden Bears lead 56-40. Since 1990: 11-10 Cougars. Eight of the last 10 games in this series have been decided by nine points or less...the Jan. 27 game at Cal (80-46) was one of the exceptions...last year, each team won on its home floor -- Cal 75-68 in Oakland and WSU 79-73 in Pullman...that was WSU's last Pac-10 win...Cal won 18 of the first 21 games in this series...since then, it's been a near dead heat at 38-37 Cal (beginning in 1961-62)...the series dates back to a 28-20 Cal win in 1917.

CALIFORNIA RECAP: Joe Shipp scored 22 points off the bench, including 16 straight during a decisive second-half California rally, leading the Bears to an 80-46 win over Washington State Jan. 27...Cal broke a four-game losing streak, while the Cougars lost their eighth straight. The Bears scored 13 of the game's first 15 points and were never in trouble...they led 36-20 at the half, holding the Cougars to 34.8 percent shooting (8-for-23) and forcing 10 turnovers...freshman center Nick Vander Laan nearly had a double-double by halftime, with nine points and nine rebounds, and finished with 12 points and a season-high 12 rebounds...not one player in Washington State reached doubled figures...senior forward Chris Crosby led the Cougars with nine points. The game was delayed 22 minutes when steam from a hot dog stand set off a fire alarm 20 minutes before tipoff, forcing an evacuation and creating a logjam between fans exiting and those not yet in the was the third game this season that a game was delayed by a fire alarm at Cal's new Haas Pavilion. Freshman forward Bryan Whitehead saw his first action since injuring his knee in practice prior to the Jan. 6 USC game...he played three minutes and scored two points versus Cal...Whitehead missed six games.

STANFORD RECAP: - Casey Jacobsen made seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points as No. 1 Stanford trounced Washington State 89-52 Thursday night in a game matching teams at opposite ends of the Pac-10 standings...Mark Madsen added 20 points for the Cardinal, which shot 82 percent from the field in the second half (18-of-22) to win its 11th in a row. Stanford, which held the No. 1 ranking for three weeks earlier in the season, regained it this week after Temple ended Cincinnati's six-week run at the top with a 77-69 victory...Washington State dropped its 15th straight under new coach Paul Graham...the Cougars' 0-14 Pac-10 mark is the school's worst conference record ever...the Cougars, beaten 63-38 at Stanford on Jan. 29, have lost eight in a row to the Cardinal. Stanford, which entered the game shooting 39 percent from 3-point range, was 13-of-24 (54 percent) from beyond the arc Thursday night, with Jacobsen hitting 7-of-9...the Cardinal tied the Friel Court team record with 13 threes...the Cardinal, which led 39-22 at the break after shooting 46 percent in the first half, put the game away with an 18-2 run to start the second half. Mike Bush was the only Washington State player to score in the first 12 minutes of the period...Washington State went on a 9-0 run in the closing minutes but got no closer than 31...Bush had 18 points and Chris Crosby 12 for Washington State, which hit 39 percent (20-of-51), 5 percent better than Stanford's average yield. Washington State kept even with Stanford in the opening minutes, forcing three turnovers before David Moseley's 3-pointer with 12:32 left in the half put the Cardinal ahead 11-8. Junior Cedric Clark made his first career start for Washington State...the walk-on guard from Birmingham, Ala., scored four points and had one assist, one steal and three turnovers in 34 minutes...Clark has had his top two scoring games against the Cardinal. Bush, just a sophomore, moved into a tie for eighth in career 42 career games, Bush has 95 steals, tied with Neil Derrick (1991-92).

COUGS IN PAC-10 RANKINGS: A glance at this week's Pac-10 stats (2/21) finds several Cougars ranked in the conference in assorted categories...Chris Crosby ranks fourth in the conference in free throw shooting (83.7 pct.) and ninth in scoring (15.2 ppg)...Mike Bush is 19th in scoring (13.1 ppg), fifth in steals (2.09 spg) and 10th in rebounding (6.4 rpg)...Jan-Michael Thomas is 20th in scoring (12.6 ppg) and eighth in free throw shooting (81.5 pct)...David Adams is seventh in three-point field goal percentage (42.1)...Tyrone Evans is eighth in blocked shots (1.10 bpg) As a team, WSU is second in three-point field goal percentage (.369), fourth in rebounding defense (rebounds allowed) at 34.0 rpg, fifth in free throw percentage (.696) and third in three-pointers made per game (6.26).

KNEE INJURY ENDS THOMAS' CAREER: Team doctors confirmed Wednesday night that WSU senior guard Jan-Michael Thomas sustained a season-ending knee injury during practice Tuesday...Thomas, WSU's third-leading scorer at 12.6 points per game this season, suffered extensive damage to the medial collateral (MCL) and anterior cruciate (ACL) ligaments in his right knee...he will undergo reconstructive surgery next month...RS-JR G Cedric Clark, a walk-on from Birmingham, Ala., started in Thomas' place. Thomas was WSU's third-leading scorer, averaging 12.6 points per game this season, and led the Cougars with 51 three-point baskets...last year, Thomas set a WSU single-season record with 89 three-point field goals...he finishes his career as WSU's all-time leading free throw shooter, having made 82.9 percent of his total attempts (121-146), just edging Byron Vadset's mark of 82.5 percent...Thomas also ranks fifth in career three-point field goals (140) and ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.385).

CLARK TOPS CAREER TOTAL AT STANFORD: Redshirt junior forward Cedric Clark scored a career-high seven points Jan. 29 at Stanford...the walk-on from Birmingham, Ala., also notched a career high in steals with two...Clark came into the Stanford game with six career points...he had his second-best scoring game Thursday night in Pullman versus the Cardinal -- four points. Clark, the only true point guard on the WSU roster with the injury to Nick Graham and the departure of Blake Pengelly, has seen action in each of WSU's last 16 games and got his first career start Thursday night against Stanford...when Clark made one of two free throws Jan. 15 at ASU, it was his first point since netting a free throw against Puerto Rico-Mayaguez on Nov. 30, 1997 -- more than two years ago...overall, Clark has played in 270 minutes this year, more than 11 times the total of his last two years combined -- 23 minutes.

COUGS MAY PLAY PART IN NCAA RECORD: Isn't this ironic...though much has been made of WSU's losses this season, it may actually be a Cougar win that finds its way into the NCAA record book...remember back to Nov. 22 -- WSU's second game of the year -- when the Cougars defeated Grambling State 83-55? the time it didn't seem significant, but the Tigers are now 1-27 with two games to play...if Grambling loses its final two games -- Saturday at 10-14 Alabama State and Monday at 15-10 Alabama A&M, it will break Prairie View A&M's NCAA record of 28 losses in a season, set in 1992...and wouldn't you know it, the last game Grambling scheduled last summer was none other than that Nov. 22 date at Washington State (a pay out game en route to the Tigers' appearance in the Great Alaska Shootout). CROSBY EYES TOP 10: Senior forward Chris Crosby comes into the Cal game with 1,241 career points...the Littleton, Colo., native recently passed Ron Bennink (1,222/1953-55) to take over 12th place...he is just one point behind No. 11 Eddie Hill (1,242/1991-94) and 21 points back of No. 10 Larry Beck (1,162/1955-57)...Crosby is the 22nd member of WSU's 1,000-career point club...he ranks 10th in the Pac-10 in scoring and fourth in FT Pct.

THOMAS SHOOTING FOR WSU CAREER FT MARK: SR G Jan-Michael Thomas will establish the WSU career record for free throw percentage...his career average through two seasons is 82.9 percent (121-146)...the previous school record was 82.5 percent (255-309) by Byron Vadset (1962-64)...teammate Chris Crosby is currently in eighth (78.9 percent).

In the single season chase, Crosby's and Thomas' roles are reversed...Crosby is hitting 83.7 percent at the charity stripe this season, while Thomas is at 81.5 percent...Crosby is just off David Sanders' 1988 record of 88.5 percent (54-61)...he tied a 35-year-old school record by hitting 11-of-11 attempts Dec. 4 versus Southern...Crosby had a streak of 25 consecutive free throws made snapped with a miss late in the Portland game.

MORE ON CROSBY: Pop quiz -- how do you transform a 6-8 shooting guard into a pretty well-rounded inside player? Answer -- Paul Graham...for the first three years of his career, Chris Crosby was a shooting guard inside a forward's body...nearly half of his career field goal attempts (365 of 739) came from beyond the arc...but this season, Crosby has attempted 253 field goals with only 46 percent (116) coming from downtown. And to those who thought he was just a gunner, check out the box from the Grambling State game, his 29 points were the second-highest of his career, but only one of his 12 FGs was a three...he also had six boards and a pair of steals...Crosby is shooting a career-best 44 percent from the field through 23 games (111-253)...and make no mistake, his three-point shooting is just as good as ever, if not better, he's 45-116 (39 percent) from three-point land this season and the inside-out dual threat makes his threes all the more devastating. Crosby is also grabbing 4.0 rebounds per game and setting screens in the offensive set that eventually lead to a lot of open looks at the basket...he has even cut his turnovers down to less than two per game, a number that needs to continue to decline...but if Crosby makes it to the next level, he can thank one man with a reputation for developing big men -- Paul Graham.

THREE-POINT PLAYERS: Seniors Chris Crosby and Jan-Michael Thomas both rank in WSU's top five in career three-point baskets. Crosby leads the pair with 186 threes (fourth) and looks to close in on the 200 barrier by season's end...Thomas, in just two seasons wearing the Crimson and Gray, finished his career in fifth with 140.

BUSH LEADS COUGS IN PAC-10 PLAY: SO G Mike Bush has been impressive in Pac-10 play...he leads the team in scoring (15.4 ppg) and set a career high with 26 points versus Oregon State last Saturday...he also had 20 points and 10 rebounds Feb. 12 versus Arizona State, giving Bush back-to-back double-doubles (19 pts, 12 reb. Feb. 5 vs. UW)...for his well-rounded play, Bush could receive consideration for all-Pac-10 honors...he leads the team in rebounding, steals and assists...he also ranks among the league leaders in scoring, rebounding and steals.

EXTRA FACTS ON OVERTIME: WSU has played three overtime games so far this's the first time the Cougars have played three overtime games in one season since is also the first time in school history that WSU played three consecutive home overtime games...the season record for overtime games is four in 1982-83 and 1985-86.

MILLER SEEING DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Since returning to WSU's lineup 15 games ago, junior forward Eddie Miller has been solid...he's averaging 7.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and has notched career-highs in rebounds twice (14 vs. USC and Arizona) and points once (23 vs. Washington)...during that stretch, Miller had a pair of doubles (13 pts, 14 reb vs. USC, 16 pts, 14 reb vs. Arizona) and just missed another at Arizona State (11 pts, 9 reb) and versus Oregon (12 pts, 9 reb)...the Reseda, Calif., native has been the Cougs' leading rebounder in seven of the last 15 games...Miller, who was sidelined during the fall semester due to academic problems, would be among the Pac-10 leaders in rebounding if he had played in enough games -- he will not qualify for the Pac-10 stats until Feb. 28 -- following the Cal game on Feb. 26...Miller, a 1999 Pac-10 all-newcomer honorable mention, averaged 10.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season.

FROSH ADAMS HITS FOR 20: When guard David Adams scored a career-high 20 points Jan. 20 versus Oregon State, he became the first WSU freshman to notch 20 points in a game since Isaac Fontaine went for 21 against Arizona State, Feb. 5, 1994...Fontaine also had a 33-point game earlier that season against Michigan State...Adams leads WSU in three-point field goal percentage (.421) and ranks seventh in the Pac-10...the Tacoma, Wash., native is averaging 7.6 points per game and has six double-figure scoring games this season: Grambling State (12), Portland (12), Colorado State (17), Arizona (10), Oregon (10) and Oregon State. Adams recently had back-to-back double figure games with 10 points versus Arizona and 11 at Oregon.

BUSH ENTERS STEALS CAREER TOP 10: The best defender on the Cougar team and one of the most underrated players in the Pac-10 players, SO G Mike Bush entered the WSU career top 10 in steals -- AS JUST A SOPHOMORE! He tied Neil Derrick (95/1991-92) during the Stanford game.

Bush is also close to cracking the single-season top ten, with five games yet to play...he has 48 on the season, two back of No. 10 Terrence Lewis (50/1992).

BUSH, COUGARS TIE STEALS MARKS: Mike Bush reasserted himself as one of the best defenders in the Pac-10 Dec. 20 versus Portland State by tying Don Collins' 20-year-old single-game steals record of eight...led by his efforts, the Cougs also tied the team single-game steals record with 17...Bush is averaging 2.1 steals per game to rank fifth in the Pac-10. Bush continues to show much improvement during his sophomore season...he is WSU's leading rebounder (6.4 rpg)...Bush had 10 boards in WSU's win over Idaho and has been WSU's leading rebounder 10 times this season...he also had 15 points versus the Vandals which gave the 6-6 Bush his first career double-double...against Washington, Bush notched his second career double-double with 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds...versus Arizona State Feb. 12, Bush scored a career-high 20 points to go with 10 rebounds -- his second straight double-double...most recently, Bush set a career-high in scoring with 26 last Saturday at OSU. The Riverside, Calif., native has also shown more scoring punch with 12 double-figure scoring games this year...for the season, Bush is averaging 13.1 points per game, up from his 6.6 ppg mark of his rookie campaign.

INJURY UPDATE: WSU's athletic trainers have been earning their keep this semester...Jan-Michael Thomas (see p. 4 note) is only the latest casualty...RS-FR F Milton Riley fractured the little finger on his right hand Feb. 15 during practice...Riley has been playing with the little finger padded and taped to his ring finger...another of WSU's more serious injuries is FR G Nick Graham, who suffered a severe right ankle sprain during practice on Jan. 17...Graham is likely out for the remainder of the season...WSU's back up point guard had played in all 13 games prior to his injury, averaging 1.7 points per game...JR F Tyrone Evans has suffered a myriad of injuries this season...he has sprained his left knee twice (the first time, Dec. 30 at Colorado State, caused him to miss three games)... Evans also cut his right hand on the backboard Jan. 17 during practice, and required 10 stitches...FR F Bryan Whitehead sustained a right knee injury during practice before the Jan. 6 USC game and missed six games...he returned to play three minutes and scored two points Jan. 27 against far, five Cougars have missed games due to injury this season: Graham (10 games), Whitehead (6 games), Evans (3 games), Thomas (1 game) and Milton Riley (1 game).

YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS: WSU opened the season with five freshmen on its roster (David Adams, Nick Graham, Mike Malloy, Milton Riley and Bryan Whitehead) for the first time in 14 years...the last time WSU had at least five rookies on its opening day roster was the 1985-86 season...that year, the Cougs actually had six -- Neil Evans, David Hairston, John Hodges, Anthony Kidd, David Sanders and Brian Wright...five of those six names should be very familiar to the Cougar faithful, Evans (who redshirted the 1985-86 season), Hodges, Kidd, Sanders and Wright all went on to become four-year letter winners for WSU...the 1985-86 Cougars went 15-16 overall and 8-10 in the conference for Coach Len Stevens.

SLASH MENCKE BECOMES TRUE TWO-SPORTER: To the delight of his hometown Spokane Arena crowd, Paul Mencke became the first two-sport football-basketball player at WSU since Kitrick Taylor in the mid 1980s when he played in his first basketball game Jan. 6 versus USC...Mencke played four minutes and grabbed two rebounds against the was the first time in four years that Mencke played in the Lilac City...Mencke scored his first point as a basketball player on a free throw Jan. 13 at Arizona and grabbed a career-high five rebounds Jan. 22 versus Oregon...he scored a career-high four points Thursday versus Stanford. Taylor is a former NFL player who lettered in football in 1982-83 and 1985-86 and in basketball in 1985 and 1987.

ANOTHER SERVICE RANKS WSU RECRUITS NO. 2 IN THE PAC-10: First Bob Gibbons did Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop has ranked WSU's 2000 recruiting class as the second-best in the the January edition of Basketball Times, Francis ranked WSU's four fall signees as the 37th-best in the nation and second in the Pac-10 to Oregon (26th overall)...other Pac-10 schools among the top 100 included No. 65 Arizona State, No. 85 California and No. 90 Washington.

GIBBONS RANKS WSU NO. 2 IN PAC-10: College basketball recruiting expert Bob Gibbons has ranked Washington State's 2000 recruiting class as the 28th-best in the nation in his December newsletter...the four WSU signees are also listed as the No. 2 class in the Pac-10, trailing only Oregon...the Cougars signed four guards during the early signing period in November...slated to take the hardwood for WSU next season are high schoolers Tommy Johnson from Los Angeles' Crenshaw High School and Marcus Moore from Dominguez Hills High School in Compton, Calif., and junior college transfers Jerry McNair (Fullerton College) and Kendall Minor (Southern Idaho)...Moore enrolled at WSU in January and has been practicing with the team...both McNair and Minor will come in with three years of eligibility remaining...Oregon was ranked 25th, just three spots higher than WSU...other Pac-10 schools in the top 75 include No. 57 Stanford, No. 61 Washington and No. 72 Arizona State...WSU has one more newcomer who will join the four fall signees next year -- 6-10 center J Locklier who transferred from Miami, Ohio...Locklier must redshirt this season under NCAA transfer rules and will be a junior in 2000-01.

RECENT ADDITIONS: WSU has added three players to its roster since the beginning of the season...the latest two additions are freshman guard Marcus Moore and junior forward Claude "CD" Doucet. Moore is a 6-5 guard who signed with WSU in the fall and passed his SAT in December to become eligible...Moore finished his brilliant career at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., last spring, leading the school to the 1999 state championship...he was the 1999 John Wooden Award winner for the state of California for coach Russell Otis and was ranked as the state's top point guard after averaging 13 points, eight assists and six boards a game. Doucet comes to WSU via Lamar...the Anchorage, Alaska, native signed with Lamar after playing two seasons at South Plains Junior College in Levelland, Texas, where he averaged seven points and four rebounds per game...Doucet, who transferred to WSU to be closer to home, will practice with the Cougars this semester, but will not be eligible until next year. Football player Paul Mencke was already a slash -- quarterback/tight end/ you can add two more words to that title -- guard/forward...Mencke, a two-time Greater Spokane League MVP, joined the Washington State basketball team on Dec. 13. 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. Mencke wears number 24 (he wanted to wear his football number 12, but the jersey was too small) 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.

NEW OPPONENTS: WSU faces two opponents for the first time ever this season -- Southern and Texas-Pan American...Utah visited Pullman for the first time since 1939, it was also the first game between the two schools overall since 1972...the Cougars also renewed dormant rivalries with Nevada (last meeting 1972), Colorado State (1978) and Portland (1990).

OLD OPPONENTS: WSU's oldest rivalry, Oregon State, reached game No. 260 this season...Washington State and Idaho met for the 255th time this season...the second Oregon was No. 254 in the series...WSU and Washington inch toward the 250 mark with games 247 and 248 this was just the second meeting with Grambling State.

I WANT MY COUGTV: Washington State will be on the Fox network nine times this season...three games will be shown nationally (Fox Sports Northwest locally) -- Dec. 11 Utah, Jan. 22 Oregon and Feb. 5 Washington...Fox Sports Northwest will broadcast an additional four games -- Nov. 29 Gonzaga, Jan. 13 Arizona, Feb. 12 Arizona and Feb. 26 California -- to a regional audience...two other road games will be shown in their local market -- Jan. 29 Stanford (Fox Sports Bay Area) and March 11 USC (Fox West 2).

WOW - WHAT A SCHEDULE: For the first time since 1994-95, odds are that WSU will play home games against five different ranked teams...the first three came Nov. 29 versus No. 25 Gonzaga (Spokane), Dec. 11 versus No. 25 Utah, Jan. 8 vs. No. 20 UCLA and Feb. 12 vs. No. 7 more opponent is currently ranked in the national polls: No. 1 1994-95, all five teams were from the Pac-10: No. 17 California, No. 23 Stanford, No. 17 Oregon, No. 12 Arizona and No. 15 Arizona State (WSU was 4-1 versus those schools at home).

PENGELLY LEAVES TEAM: Senior guard Blake Pengelly left the Washington State men's basketball team for personal reasons, announced prior to WSU's Dec. 7 game versus Portland. Pengelly, a native of Eugene, Ore., was averaging 4.0 points and 6.8 assists per game through five contests this season...he played in 93 career games with 56 starts...he ranks fifth in WSU career assists with 324 and is eighth in career three-point field goals with 119.

Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball