• When Idaho’s men’s basketball team came up to Coeur d’Alene to scrimmage at North Idaho College last November, senior center Kyle Barone was still being disciplined for his DUI arrest.
He participated in the scrimmage, but had yet to be cleared to play in games, and no one knew for sure which way this was headed.
So it was pretty nice to see Barone rebound with an outstanding senior season, capping a stellar Vandal career by earning honorable mention on The Associated Press All-America team.
He leaves the Vandals ranked No. 4 in career scoring (1,433), No. 2 in rebounds (869), No. 3 in field goal percentage (.585) and No. 1 in games played (126).
• A handful of players who competed against local high school basketball teams were named to the all-state teams in Washington.
Garfield senior Tucker Haymond, who made the 4A boys first team, scored 13 points as the Bulldogs of Seattle defeated Lake City 55-47 in the championship game of the inaugural Lake City Invitational.
University senior Brett Bailey, named to the 3A first team, hit 2 of 3 free throws after time expired to beat Lake City 66-65. He scored 24 two weeks later in a 66-51 loss at Coeur d’Alene.
Pullman senior Corey Langerveld, named the 2A player of the year, scored 25 vs. Lakeland in a 60-46 win over the Hawks. He scored 23 vs. St. Maries in a 65-56 victory at a holiday tournament at Freeman (Wash.).
Jalen Peake, a senior at West Valley (Yakima) was held to seven points in a 64-61 double-overtime loss to Lake City at the Fitz tourney in Spokane.
Senior Jade Redmon of Mead, who made the 4A girls first team, scored eight points in a 59-43 victory over Lake City, and scored 18 one week later in a 60-45 victory over Coeur d’Alene. Redmon has signed with Eastern Washington.
Brooke Pahukoa of Lake Stevens, a Boise State signee who also made the 4A first team, scored 18 in a 50-43 loss at Coeur d’Alene. Her uncle, Shane, played football at the University of Washington.
One of Post Falls’ toughest games this year came vs. Kamiakin of Kennewick, Wash., which produced first-team 3A pick Courtney Nelson, a senior, and second-team selection Sira Toure, a junior. Nelson scored 21 points, Toure 17, but Post Falls prevailed 68-62 in Kennewick.
Chiawana junior Delaney Hodgins, a 4A second-team pick, scored 16 points in a 49-35 loss to Coeur d’Alene. One night later, she had 12 in a 56-43 loss to Post Falls.
• We have no dog in the hunt — again — in this year’s Final Four, unless you are a Gonzaga fan that takes some solace in the fact the team that sent you home, Wichita State, is still playing.
Louisville is the overall favorite, and might be a lot of people’s sentimental favorite as well after that gruesome broken leg suffered by Kevin Ware in the regional final. Michigan played well in routing Florida in the regional final, though the Wolverines’ bright yellow uniforms might be a little hard on the eyes if you’re watching in hi-def.
I’ll probably end up pulling for Syracuse, since it has been 18 years since a team I have seen in person earlier in the NCAA tournament (UCLA, in Boise) has gone on to win the whole thing.
• I hope Steve Alford gets UCLA back in the national title hunt soon. The Bruins probably have few fans in these parts, but West Coast basketball is considered better when teams like UCLA and Arizona are good.
Alford did a nice job at New Mexico, but he took the Lobos about as far as he could at the Mountain West level. We’ll see what he can do with the better players UCLA can attract.
People couldn’t understand how the Bruins could fire Ben Howland, who led them to three straight Final Fours (2006, ’07, ’08). But UCLA has only won two NCAA tourney games since then, and missed the tourney twice. This year, with the No. 1 recruiting class, they lost in their first NCAA game. Thanks, Ben, but it was probably time for both sides to “go in a different direction,” as they like to say.
The more interesting hire might be Andy Enfield at USC. He took a school nobody heard of a month ago (Florida Gulf Coast University) to the Sweet 16, and probably left a better team than he is joining. Plus, hardly anybody cares about USC basketball. Most of their Pac-12 home games drew in the 4,000 range; even hosting UCLA, they only drew 7,984 to the 10,258-seat Galen Center.
However, Enfield might be the only college basketball coach whose wife appeared on the cover of the swimsuit issue for Maxim.
• The arms race between Seattle and San Francisco continues.
The Seahawks signed a star wide receiver/kick returner; the 49ers countered by acquiring a standout wideout from a team that just beat them in the Super Bowl. Seattle signed some defensive linemen to put the heat on the quarterback; San Francisco is trying to land a cornerback that can actually break up passes.
The 49ers are building a new football stadium. Seattle is trying to lure one of the NBA teams from the 49ers’ back yard. If S.F. takes a run at Starbucks, or even Tully’s, we’ll know this rivalry is really heating up.
Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at CdAPressSports.