It’s that time of year again, friends. The time when we send Romar and the boys off to the far reaches of our state and pray that they don’t come back with crabs and a Natty Ice dependency. This far-off land, this untamed southeastern corner of our fair state is everything we aren’t.
Robust culture, diverse communities, and running water are things those of us fortunate enough to reside outside of Pullman sometimes take for granted. And yet, every season, we punish our squad by sending them there.
Now, I believe this trip serves a purpose. Similar to the life lessons articulated in the 1978 film Scared Straight or in this more recent SNL sketch, the annual trip to Pullman serves as a reminder to all who dare question how good they have it. Tweets like, “damn, this phad thai from Thai Tom’s was TOO good…fml” or “way too many girls on this campus wear yoga pants..smh” pale in comparison to what we would see if they had the internet in Pullman: “Shit, just realized I live in Pullman #suicidehotline!”
Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I don’t necessarily think our squad undervalues being a part of the UW program. I just don’t think it hurts to put your blessings in context from time to time. And let me tell you, a couple nights in Pullman provide a fuck-ton of context.
If you look closely, you can just make out Martin Stadium.
This year’s pilgrimage to the Palouse should provide some fireworks. Though they’ve cooled of late, the Kewgs started the season in a truly anti-kewg style, going 10-1 with a win over then #15 Baylor and an utter destruction of an under-performing Gonzaga team. Their only loss came at the hands of then #5 Kansas State.
Granted Baylor and Kansas State are now out of the rankings and appear to have been overrated, a 10-1 record was nonetheless impressive. Since then, the Kewgs have returned to more familiar pastures, going 4-5 (4-4 in Pac-10 play). Records aside, games in Pullman are rarely easy and I have no reason to expect Sunday’s contest to be any different.
The Kewgs are led by some familiar faces in Klay Thompson, DeAngelo Casto, and Reggie Moore. Their undisputed leader, Thompson comes into the game averaging 22.2 points and 78 field goal attempts per game.
Klay really worked on his awkward faces in the offseason.
The last time the Dawgs went to Pullman, Casto had a big game; putting up 19 points, grabbing 6 boards, and swatting his way to one whole block. While that performance might be indicative of what he’s capable of, the Huskies have one key addition to this year’s squad.
That addition is none other than the 7' 260lbs destroyer of men and former resident of Cap-Vert Peninsula, Aziz N’Diaye. Aziz will undoubtedly get some help from the likes of MBA and Gant, but make no mistake, Casto vs N’Diaye is a key matchup in this game. It also sounds like a final bout from Mortal Kombat. Hopefully FSN can get a “N’Diaye Wins: FATALITY!” graphic put together before Sunday.
Since FSN reads at a 1st grade level, I decided to do it for them.
The third part of the Kewg triumvirate has really elevated the team to new highs…I mean levels. Rainier Beach alum and cousin of Whoregon Duck Aaron Brooks, Reginald Lianitus Moore, has only played in 14 games this season, but has started in all but two of those. Reggie has run into some legal issues this season, recently being cited for marijuana possession. Though his misdeeds pale in comparison to those of his football counterparts, Reggie has admirably attempted to carry on a proud Wazzu tradition.
The Kewgs are led by second-year head coach and former Romar assistant, Ken “Ghostface Killah” Bone. That nickname certainly doesn’t refer to Bone’s linguistic prowess, but rather to his pale, gaunt appearance. As it's only Bone’s second season, the jury’s still out as to whether he can replicate the success of his predecessor, Tony Guy Bennett. Bone certainly proved a capable assistant under Romar and to this day they remain friends. Romar has repeatedly praised Bone as a fiery competitor and a skilled coach. Strangely, Romar has never mentioned Bone’s love of the turtleneck…
"Wait, WSU is located where?"
While there’s not much to be said about the Kewg’s new head man, Wazzu’s student section is another story. The Zzu Cru has a longstanding tradition as an elite group of students that strike fear into the hearts of visiting teams. Actually, none of that’s true. Not even the student part. The Zzu Cru was created by the Wazzu Athletic Marketing Department in 2005 in order to boost attendance. For a $20 fee, members receive a variety of perks.
There are also season long attendance contests where members are bribed to attend games. It’s the membership criteria however, that really set the Cru apart from other fan bases. Unlike other student sections that impose arbitrary guidelines on their membership, such as being an actual student, the Zzu Cru has no such restrictions. Straight from the horse’s mouth (or Wikipedia page) “[m]embers can be anyone from students to alumni, to visitors who just would like a shirt.”
Now, I believe in giving props when props are due. One thing the Cru has mastered in their infancy is the art of the cleverly-worded sign. Designed to capture the interest of an FSN cameraman, these signs serve as a warning to fans of opposing teams, “don’t fuck with us, because we will double entendre the shit out of you.” I’ve actually heard that Sign Making is a course offered by WSU’s vaunted Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.
Now that’s clever! How did you think of that?!
The Friel mentioned in both of those witty and unique signs is former Wazzu coach and the namesake of Friel Court, Jack Friel. I’m sure Jack had no idea how useful his name would be for future generations. He probably also had no idea that the school would be forced to hide their fans from view in order to make their games "TV appropriate."
The Paper Bagger of fan bases.
Get ready Dawg fans. This should be a good one. I’m predicting a scrappy contest, with IT continuing his hot streak and leading the Dawgs to victory. The crowd should be more hostile than usual given how Steve Sarkisian just went all There Will Be Blood on Paul Wulff this past week and snagged commitments from two previous WSU commits, Stephan Nembot and Bishop Sankey. Not to sidetrack this post, but keep an eye out for a Signing Day post coming out next week that will detail the fantastic work of Coach Sark and his staff.
Back to basketball. The leadership of co-captains IT and J-Hol will be crucial in Sunday’s game. Big time performances from seniors MBA and Venoy will also be deciding factors. Make sure you stock up on the beverages on Saturday, because I expect all of you to not be legally able to drive by 10am on Sunday. That’s right, 10:00 in the morning. For a 7:00pm tip-off. Frkydawg knows what I'm talking about.
Let’s go Dawgs!
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