Wulff Lands Cal RB Montgomery; Bennett Talks to LSU After All?

Nice job coach Wulff. Heralded stud RB James Montgomery was in Pullman over the weekend on a transfer/recruiting visit, and early word was that things went really well. Guess what? It went so well he’s now headed to the Palouse! Montgomery’s high school coach gave the word to the Sac Bee last night, and now the P-I, Cougfan and Vince at SR.com have it as well.

No mention of the Pac-10 rule that used to penalize an extra year if a player went Pac-10 to Pac-10, but, Cougfan’s story stated that he will probably sit out this year, then have two years to play two, ready for action in the 2009 season.

Maybe the most impressive thing is that Montgomery chose WSU over Florida and South Carolina. You mean to tell me an all-everything RB took a look at SEC power Florida and also Steve Superior in South Carolina and decided to cast his lot with Wulff?? WOW. You never want to over-react to something like this, but it’s hard not to be excited. This is a top-shelf talent, a Parade All-American. And despite what it might look like on the surface, he doesn’t have a lot of baggage. Sometimes with transfers you just sort of roll your eyes and say “we’ll see” and then when the transfer is a 4-or-5 star talent showing up in Pullman, you wonder what gives. But Montgomery is legit and the fit just wasn’t there in Berkeley. He admits now that he originally went to Cal to be close to his ailing mother, but now she’s healthy and they believed a change was the best for everyone. By the way, hat tip to our own Brinkhater who had this story a few weeks ago from his “Cal insider” who said from day 1 that he was a huge lean to WSU.

There is no way around it, getting him is just a huge statement. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – I can’t wait to see what Wulff can do with some time to build this program in his own image. There are going to be growing pains, but given the depths that we were headed, Wulff deserves all the time he needs to turn this thing into something that gets you bouncing off the walls every Saturday!

Speaking of coach Wulff, he sat down with Jim Moore of the P-I and basically stoked the UW rivalry flames a bit. Yes, he doesn’t like UW. No, he’s not backing off those remarks he made the day he took the job. And, YES, he has passion about it. As Rooster and I commented the night of the football dinner, these guys, from Wulff on down, “get it” as far as the rivalry goes. This staff is going to have that team tearing the locker room apart before the Apple Cup. Yes, it will be handled with class, but YES, the rivalry is going to turn up a few notches. You also have to like what Wulff has to say about how in-state recruiting is going. Of course he can’t get overly specific at this point, and it’s still just April. But there is no doubt, this is a new era!

Wulff was also on KJR with Mitch yesterday. A good interview and you can check it out here. Not one of Mitch’s best interviews, but I liked what I heard from Wulff. If you’ve listened to him speak much since he’s been hired, he really sounds more and more comfortable every time I hear him. I think deep down he might have been a little overwhelmed with the situation itself, I mean here he is as the head coach of his alma mater, but lately he just sounds a lot more ready to handle the extra media that comes with this job.

This seemed to be way under the radar, but the Times today says Tony DID talk to LSU. The article speculates that LSU’s primary target is Clemson coach Oliver Purnell. Interesting part of that story is that they also talked to Trent Johnson of Stanford. And before you get too worried, also realize the story states that they talked “to several coaches” over the weekend. So it’s not like they flew him in, wined and dined him and whispered sweet nothings into his ear like he is their #1 guy. Hey, Tony, how about doing your season wrap-up press conference? How about proclaiming to Cougar Nation that you are happy in Pullman and looking forward to the future? We’ve heard you are happy and staying in Pullman from everyone, to your AD to your President to several media outlets…..except you.

Quite a game last night, eh? Memphis is going to lament that game for the rest of their lives. 9-point lead with 2:12 to go, and then they brick free throws, get a little sloppy with the ball, and Chalmers hits a miracle 3. Here’s the question of the day – do YOU foul Chalmers before he gets that shot off to tie the game? There were 4 seconds left in the game when he was starting to take that shot. If you foul him with 5 seconds left, he’s forced to go to the line without a chance to tie the game. Even if he makes both, you have just a few ticks of the clock left and you are still getting the ball back up 1. It reminded me a lot of UW’s loss to U-Conn in ’06, when they were up 3 but chose not to foul Denham Brown, who cooly drained a 3 at the buzzer to force OT. Not that I wept for them that night (I didn’t), but once again we see the same scenario play out. The team chooses not to foul, and the player nails the shot. Memphis was dead after that, losing Dorsey to fouls late in regulation, but the momentum was officially gone at that point. Great job by Kansas, but make no mistake, Memphis kicked this one.

I was a little concerned hearing about Bill Self’s Okie State ready to throw the moon at him. Why would that worry WSU nation? Because that means if he bolts, Kansas opens up. It’s major connect-the-dots stuff, but would Kansas call Tony Bennett? Brinkhater thinks absolutely not, and Kansas would look to the major rock-star coaching tree, guys who have been to Final Four’s, guys who have won their conferences, guys who have been winning for several years. I wasn’t so sure, but after thinking about it a little more, I have to agree with him. Tony wouldn’t be to Kansas what he was to Indiana. IU is living off Bobby Knight at this point, and they are in a major mess right now with NCAA sanctions. While it’s still a great job, it isn’t Kansas.

That said, I heard Dickie V say today that it’s highly unlikely Self will leave. He has the most leverage you could possibly dream of right now, and he’ll get everything he wants at Kansas. So it’s probably much ado about nothing.


17 Responses to “Wulff Lands Cal RB Montgomery; Bennett Talks to LSU After All?”

  1. ZZU_CRU Says:

    Stop with Tony Bennett to Kansas. No way. Bennett would NOT be considered for the Kansas job. KU has spent 20+ years playing an uptempo game. No way would Jayhawk fans accept a change in philosophy this drastic. The entire program has been developed on the philosophy of playing fast and free with NBA thoroughbreds. It is not a fit.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Excuse me while I blow out my trapezius shrugging my shoulders over TB. You just said 2 days ago that we should be used to him and rumors. I do not like him talking to LSU and he should grab a mike and pimp the program. All his clamming up does is make the fans and donors worry about the future.

  3. wsuhoops Says:

    What surprised me most were Wulff’s strong words — not for the Huskies, but for the previous staff. The fact that a guy could come from I-AA and be surprised by the lack of fundamentals and be shocked by the problems on defense speaks volumes.

    Time will ultimately prove this, but I become more and more convinced that Sterk made the right move at the right time with this program. We absolutely were headed for the bottom of the Pac-10, and he might have rescued this thing just in time.

  4. Hooty McBoob Says:

    Wow. If you don’t get a few goosebumps reading Moore’s column, you need to make sure you still have a pulse. GREAT stuff.

    The more you think about it, this has the potential to be one of the best marriages of a coach to a program in the country. Wulff is not a self-promoting type of guy, who is just as concerned (if not moreso) with whether or not the boosters love him and his name is in the paper; as he is with coaching football.

    The situation at WSU is perfect for him regardless of the fact that he’s a Coug. There are far fewer demands for his time away from the field, so he can concentrate on just being a football coach. He doesn’t need to be a slick public speaker because our alums and boosters don’t need that kind of stroking. When he speaks, there’s not the slightest hint of insincerity. He says what he means and you know that he’ll back up his word with action. His honest, hard-working, no-nonsense approach will win over alums as well as the high-character student athletes you want to root for.

    Add in the fact that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool Washington State Cougar and you have the makings of a long and prosperous relationship.

  5. Hooty McBoob Says:

    By the way…

    I WILL be in Pullman for the Crimson and Gray game on Saturday.

    If anyone else is planning on it, I’d love to meet you for a couple pitchers before-hand.

    Look for a write-up on Saturday night.

  6. SaveOurSonics Says:

    Dear Fellow Sonics Fan
    Today Seattle’s Mayor announced that the City can not fill the gap in funding left by the States inaction for the Key Arena Upgrade proposal.

    Via our Public Disclosure requests we found that the calls to the Governor and House leadership were running 97% in favor of this proposal.

    This overwhelming support for this plan was ignored by house leadership who in some cases lied about the volume and support of these calls.

    Call for a special session.
    Without the State authorizing King County to divert $75 million of the $423 million surplus Safeco Field funds to the project our chances of keeping the current team, and the ownership group led by Ballmer, are slim.
    Now we must turn our attention to the Governor and asking her to call a special session to save the team. Please call her office at (360) 902-4111 and ask her to call a special session now so that funding can be in place before the Board of Governors vote at their meeting April 17th.

    Our loud message is getting through to people and there is still significant chance for success. Please continue your support and call the Governor to POLITELY, but firmly, request her help to Save Our Sonics.

    Governor Christine Gregoire Comment Line: (360) 902-4111

    It is not over!

    Brian and Steve
    Save Our Sonics

  7. Sedihawk Says:

    Hooty, couldn’t agree more. We’ve been on board about coach Wulff since day 1, and the more time goes by, the better I feel about it. Nuss, same with your feeling, that this thing was coming apart. It’s ALARMING to Wulff’s comments, and you know he’s probably holding back a little bit. I think what he’s probably feeling is “what the H-E-C-K were these guys doing??” It’s a good thing they pulled the trigger when they did (and they did pull the trigger, I don’t care what anyone says about how Doba “retired” *wink*wink).

    It is going to take some time. But I think in 4 years, we’re going to be walking around renovated Martin Stadium thinking “I’m so glad we got Wulff when we did!” I mean can you imagine a player like Montgomery coming to Pullman for Doba? Look at Wulff’s quotes about recruiting, especially EARLY IN THE GAME! We needed this energy and we got it with these guys.

    Saveoursonics, thanks for the info, I guess. But it sure feels like it’s too little, too late. Really is a shame. Ballmer was the “white knight” in all this. Now I guess they go to court in June and try to bleed Bennett? I bet the city takes the money and runs with it at the 11th hour as Bennett and the NBA throw a huge chunk at them to avoid court and almost any cost.

  8. Sedihawk Says:

    And Hooty, OUTSTANDING about this Saturday’s spring game! Try and get some good pics too, of whatever you can. Looking forward to your first-hand recap.

  9. Sedihawk Says:

    Another Tony announcement per Vince (see the Sportslink to the right that says “Bennett will be back next season”):

    Bennett will be back next season
    Tony Bennett, Washington State University men’s basketball coach, told The Spokesman-Review Tuesday that he will remain at WSU next season.

    Bennett has been the subject of much speculation as a possible candidate for coaching jobs at other schools. Read on for information from the school.


    The school released a statement that quoted Bennett as saying, “I will remain as the head coach at Washington State and I look forward to building for the future. I am thankful for the opportunity this University gave me to become head coach and for the continued support of President Floyd, Jim Sterk and the entire Cougar Nation. Washington State University is a special place.”

    Nothing was stated concerning a possible contract extension and a school spokesman said no other statement would be forthcoming.

  10. longball Says:

    Hooty – I would definately like to knock a few back with ya and talk Coug football. Name a time and place (The Coug?) and i’ll be there. Will you be wearing a shirt that says “Hooty”, or perhaps “Mr. McBoob”?

  11. Hooty McBoob Says:

    Longball – I’ll leave my place by 9at the latest and plan on being at The Coug between 10-10:30. Enough time to slug down a pitcher and wander over to Martin by 11. I’ll either be the only bald guy walking in by myself – or might possibly be with a couple young frat-dicks. (I’d be the old, fat one in the group.)

    May have to stick around after the scrimmage to check out some drunk Moms…

  12. Matt Says:

    Hey I read at CougZone.com yesterday that DeAngelo Casto verbally committed to WSU. This seems like a pretty big deal. He’s was WA state player of the year and dominated the state tournament this year, setting the tournament record for blocks. How come I haven’t heard of this anywhere else? Will he even be able to get a scholarship next year? I think he will be a very nice addition to the team with some size and great blocking and dunking ability. He reminds me a lot of Ivory Clark. Anyways, just wondering if anyone else heard of this.

  13. longball Says:

    Ok Hooty, see you there, i’ll be easy to spot, just look for the short bearded guy with a cane and a world class limp to go with it.

  14. Hooty McBoob Says:

    You shouldn’t have too bad of a limp from on top of a bar stool, buddy.

  15. kaddy Says:


    Casto wants to be a Coug, but he still has to qualify. If he does, he could end up taking Sauls’ scholarship, if he doesn’t come back, or he may qualify for federal assistance since he is considered “homeless”.

  16. Sedihawk Says:

    Kaddy is right. We have heard from someone who knows what’s up, and that’s the deal. We also heard that it won’t exactly be Sauls’ scholie, and that he might just get that federal assistance after all. Stay tuned! I bet we hear something concrete once the early signing period begins in what, a little over a week (4/16?).

    The comp to Ivory Clark is good, but Casto might even be better all-around, especially on the offensive end. I also heard Bud Nameck is telling people that the real “next Ivory Clark” is going to be James Watson. Apparently he’s already got the weakside shot-blocking thing down pat.

    These are days to remember!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I am really anxious to see what Tony can do both on and off the court next year. I would be happy if you told me NIT next year and I am thinking best case 11-7 in the pac, more than likely 8-10 and worst case 5-13. Am I crazy? Also, it would be great if Tony can get 2-3 studs in the 09 class. It will be interesting to see if he can leverage our recent success and turn it into recruiting gold. All of the recent press he’s been getting can’t be hurting and I swear Mychel Thompson mentions him every other day on LA radio.


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