I’m off Thursday, but didn’t want to miss letting you know about a few key games happening this weekend. To set the mood, I’ve got Michael Jackson’s “I Wanna Be Where You Are.”
It’s off his first solo album in 1972 and shamefully I just discovered it Monday. Not that I was alive in ’72, still, running around telling people it’s my new favorite song draws a gigantic laugh. No worries. I was determined to share it and this is the perfect slot as Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves goes for career win No. 300 on Thursday and Washington State hits the road, the last stop being the Caribbean for the Paradise Jam.
Both are places I’ll bet people wanna be (RIP Michael Jackson).
Graves rebuffed an offer from Washington last spring to remain at GU, already turning the school into the modern-day power of the state. He doesn’t shy from competition and it’s admirable he’s reached the plateau given where the program was when he took over 12 years ago.
The Bulldogs (1-1) play at Idaho on Thursday. (Note: Washington plays at Idaho Nov. 30 while Seattle University travels there on Jan. 5)
Gonzaga signed Graves to a long-term deal after his visit at UW and it’ll be interesting to see how the Zags continue to grow. Especially since another big-time coach from the so-called mid-major ranks in Kevin McGuff is now at Washington after being the winningest coach at Xavier.
And former UW coach June Daugherty is taking a page out of Graves’ book. Check that, she’s been coaching longer, so possibly her own book, taking her Cougars (1-1) on many road trips to have them face stiff competition. Last week it was No. 12 Penn State. Now WSU is on an 11-day stint, where it’ll play at Wisconsin and South Dakota State before heading St. John’s, Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam.
Senior G April Cook said she doesn’t surf, but will make time to get in the water.
“This group enjoys getting out on the road and seeing all of these different and great places,” Daugherty said of her senior-laden team. “You’ve gotta take a parka and who knows what. We’re able to wear a lot of polo shirts down in the Virgin Islands — at least my staff will be happy, they don’t have to pack five suits. We’ll manage somehow.”