Good morning. I didn’t think I’d be writing about basketball again for a good bit, but seeing as how we’re in the midst of the greatest tournament humans have ever created (non-Roman chariot racing category), maybe taking one more lap won’t be so bad. Besides, this is a kinda sorta celebratory topic, even though it means that WSU Basketball put its fans through yet another terrible season.
A couple years ago, I wrote about an idea that had been bouncing around my head for a while. And with that, the Ike Fontaine All-Stars were born. In case you don’t feel like reading that article (who could blame you?), here is the least unimportant part:
The origin of this phenomenon began when I was a student at WSU, and Ike Fontaine clung to greatness as Kevin Eastman gradually destroyed everything Kelvin Sampson had built. Ok, I’m sure Ike wasn’t the first great player on a terrible WSU team, but he’s the first guy I vividly remember, so the time period starts there.
We should probably start by listing the criteria. There aren’t any. This is an entirely subjective exercise. There were a couple guys on this list who had more than one really good year, so in those cases, I went with the year when the team stunk the most. You’ll never see Chris Crosby on this list because Chris Crosby wasn’t very good, despite scoring a decent amount of points.
We’ll also recognize a Cameron Johnson All Star from each of these seasons. If you ever saw Cameron Johnson play, you know why they’re called the Cameron Johnson All Stars.
So let’s welcome our newest member.
Robert Franks, 2018-19: 21.6/7.2/2.6 (1st team All Pac-12) - Despite the fact that WSU could only muster an 11th-place finish in a historically-awful conference (thanks for those units, ASU, Oregon and Washington!) Robert Franks was one of the Pac-12’s best players. Franks’ improvement over the past two years has been nothing short of amazing. As a sophomore, he was little more than an overweight afterthought who averaged 6.3 points in 16 minutes per game.
I have no idea what he did between his sophomore and junior seasons, but it was definitely a caterpillar-to-butterfly situation. Franks nearly tripled his output, averaging 17.4 points in 33 minutes per game. Somehow he was left off 2nd-team All Pac-12 in favor of conference legends like George King, Dusan Ristic and David Collette.
After testing the NBA draft waters - finding the temperature to be tepid at best - Franks returned to WSU for his senior campaign, and thank heavens he did. Had WSU been missing him, try and imagine how much worse it would have been this season. Despite being the obvious focal point of opposing defenses, Franks poured in more than 21 points every time out, and was rightfully named the the Pac-12’s first team.
So here’s to you, Robert. Thank you for giving WSU Basketball fans something worth watching, and best of luck in your pro career.
Cameron Johnson All-Star: Holy cow are there a lot of worthy candidates. Let’s go with Carter Skaggs, who got worse in nearly every statistical category. And it isn’t like he set the world on fire in 2018.
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John Bledsoe has made a quieter entrance, walking on at WSU in 2017. But as a redshirt sophomore, he got reps with the starters Saturday.
This Week in Parenting
During the week, we like to sit down and watch Jeopardy! before the kids go to bed. It’s always on DVR which, like most things, is the best way to watch the show. One Final Jeopardy category this week was “20th Century History.” Given that the 10 year-old is a World War II zealot, he instantly thought the question would be about the war. “There’s a lot of history from the 20th Century, kiddo,” I said. He was unmoved.
So we finish fast-forwarding and up comes the clue. Sure as shit, here it was:
Constructed in the 1930s, it extended from La Ferte to the Rhine River, though it also had sections along the Italian frontier.
It took him less than five seconds to blurt out the correct response and begin dancing. The best part was that only one of the contestants got it correct. (dad knew it as well but that’s neither here nor there)
The correct response, in case you were wondering, is the Maginot Line. We plan to explore said French defensive positions while we’re here, as there are some really cool museums where the French dug the line. They’re practically pristine, seeing as how they were never used since the Wehrmacht decided to just drive through the undefended Ardennes Forest and proceed to Paris unimpeded.
Best beer I had this week: I’m used to working 11-12+ hour days while deployed, but doing so at home has been a rare bird. So the last 10 days (it was supposed to be 14 but someone with stars on their shoulders took mercy on us) of 8am-8pm shifts were a jolt to the system. I decided to crack one of my Cigar City El Catador Club selections to celebrate, and Criminal Commission did not disappoint.
When we visit Spokane this summer, there will be five more barrel-aged stouts like that one waiting for me. If you’re driving around with nothing to do, stop by and try some. Nothing says “refreshing beer on a hot summer day” like a 14% ABV stout.
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