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Josh Hawkinson receives national 'honor'

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WSU may be having another bad season, but the college hoops pundits have taken notice of the team's best player.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Cougar fans, and welcome to football nuclear winter. Once more, those of us who enjoy watching football are faced with the cold, hard reality that it is out of our lives until the fall. Sure, spring football will be a small salve, but for the most part, we have to do things like clean out the garage and pay attention to our family. THE HORROR. Luckily we also have college basketball to follow for the next seven weeks, even though our favorite team hasn't exactly made for compelling viewing this season.

A couple weeks ago, I welcomed WSU standout Josh Hawkinson to the team known as the Ike Fontaine All-Stars. These guys are Cougs who excel on otherwise bad WSU teams. Unfortunately, there are far more members of this team than we care to recall. When it comes to Hawk's performance, national writers are also beginning to take notice. CBS Sports basketball writer Sam Vecenie recently recognized Hawkinson as an "L" American, a standout player on a team with a losing record.

The article covers a lot of ground that we've gone over in the past, but it does illustrate the fact that, among a largely subpar (to this point) Ernie Kent tenure, Kent has done an outstanding job of developing Hawkinson into an all-conference player.

Since Kent took over, all Hawkinson has done is become one of two players in power conference programs to average a double-double over each of the last two seasons (along with Rico Gathers at Baylor). He's also capable of knocking down 3s from the outside (46 percent this season) and free throws (over 80 percent each of the last two) as well as banging inside and cleaning the glass. That's some pretty staggering development for a guy that came out of high school with only one Pac-12 and some West Coast Conference offers.

Hawkinson and the Cougars face an uphill battle this afternoon as they take on Jacob Poeltl and the Utah Utes, who are all but certain to see their name up on the board come Selection Sunday. Game time is set for 2 p.m. on the ever-devolving Pac-12 Networks, and the Utes are 15.5-point favorites.

Basketball

Scouting the WSU opponent: Utah | The Spokesman-Review
Although the Cougars will be away from their sweethearts, it will be well worth it if they can pick up their first win since opening weekend of Pac-12 play. The Utes, who beat the Cougars 92-71 in Pullman, present a tough opponent.

Utah basketball game guide: Utes expect no Valentine's Day love from Washington State | The Salt Lake Tribune
This is a really good preview of an otherwise mundane matchup.

Football

Mike Leach – WSU football coach | 1170 KPUG-AM
Leach joined this radio show that broadcasts from somewhere in Washington to talk about the recruiting class.

2016 Washington State Football Recruiting Class Breakdown | College Football News
Mike Leach didn’t pull in the recruiting class he did last year, but he got his receivers, he got his quick defenders, and he got enough bodies – it’s one of the Pac-12’s biggest classes – to hope for a few surprises from out of the blue.

Pac-12 football: The Hotline's annual National Signing Day anti-anxiety, back-away-from-the-ledge report - College Hotline
If your team loses a 4-star left tackle to your rival … if your team’s class is ranked 19th instead of 9th nationally … of sixth instead of third in the conference … relax.

Klay Thompson is Awesome

Thompson dethrones Curry in 3-Point Contest - San Jose Mercury News
Klay Thompson beats fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry to win the 3-point contest during All-Star Saturday night in Toronto

Pac-12 Media

Caple: Fans have reason to be irked by Pac-12 Network’s emphasis on localized content | The News Tribune
Mr. Caple's well-done article makes my decision to stick with DirecTV (while viewing WSU games via the Pac-12 App) look better by the day. Meanwhile, The SEC and Big Ten Networks continue to lap Larry Scott's brainchild on a daily basis.

Non-WSU Sports

The real story behind NFL owners' battle to bring football back to Los Angeles
This is a long read, but it's a fascinating look into how the Rams ended up back in Los Angeles. To sum up, Jerry Jones is pretty much the commissioner.

Beer

Best beer(s) I had this week: My beer-drinking week was truncated by the fact that I was in Qatar (home of the 5-mile Mall. No, really) until Thursday, but I was able to squeeze in a few upon my return. 1) Sweetwater Smoked Bacon Porter - I've tried a few smoked beers in the past, and have been largely unimpressed. Still, I took a chance on this one and it didn't disappoint. The amount of bacon flavor and associated saltiness are just right. 2) Ballast Point Watermelon Dorado Double IPA - I've hated all things watermelon ever since I tried Watermelon Bubblicious as a kid, but this beer is so good that I may allow watermelon back into my life on a limited basis.

Big Beer vs. craft beer battle gets ugly - Business Insider
The rivalry between craft brewers and the biggest beer companies in the world has reached a boiling point.

Non-Sports

Modern Grief · thewalrus.ca
For the past few months I have been searching through tweets, emails, Facebook posts, and text messages for a missing person. He isn’t a stranger. He’s my husband and the father of my two children. And he’s not really missing. He’s dead.