Featured Stories

Calling all wannabe pro basketball stars

Do you dream of becoming a pro basketball player? Emile Shephard is providing an opportunity.

The former Tigard High standout, who played at Southern Idaho, Utah State and Seattle Pacific before embarking on a pro career that has had stops in Turkey, Brazil, China and Japan, is coaching the Monterrey, Mexico, expansion team in the American Basketball Association.

On Saturday (9 a.m. to noon and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at Lake Oswego High, he will conduct an open tryout - and might choose as many as 10 players.

'I'd love to have a whole team of Northwest players,' says Shephard, 33. 'There's some good talent in this area, though some of it is hidden or untapped.'

The 6-8 Shephard knows what he is talking about. Early last season, he took over as player-coach of an ABA team located in Hermosillo, Mexico. That team - featuring guards Jimmie Rainwater (University of Portland) and Jermaine Slider (Gresham High) and front-liners Randy Kelly and Eme Delancy of Cascade College - disbanded after 13 games. Shephard must have impressed somebody, though, because he was hired to coach Monterrey.

The level of talent in the ABA is decent - behind the NBA, CBA and NBDL but ahead of the other domestic minor leagues. The ABA season spans 37 games plus playoffs from November to March. Salaries range from $1,500 to $2,800 per month. The only drawback to this weekend's tryouts at Lake Oswego: a $100 entry fee.

'I wish we didn't have that,' Shephard says, 'but it's standard around the league.'

• The Ian Furness era has ended at 1080 AM the Fan, as the Seattle native returns home next week to begin a 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. stint at KJR radio in the Emerald City. Furness, who teamed with Jason Scukanec, was a pro who kept his finger on the pulse of the city's sports beat over the past four years. He'll be missed.

'I'm excited,' Furness says. 'It's one of the best sports-talk stations in the country. They haven't hired a host in almost eight years. It's a true major league sports market. Opportunities like this come few and far between.'

The Fan is expected to name a new partner for Scukanec on Sept. 25. The guess here is a bump up for Isaac Ropp, a station regular the past couple of years who is ready for the challenge.

• Besides the outcome, the worst thing about Oregon State's visit to Boise State was quarterback Matt Moore's shushing (index finger to lips) of the Bronco crowd after hitting Joe Newton for the game's first touchdown. Bush league under any circumstances - and particularly regrettable in a contest that becomes a 28-point blowout the other way.

• Oregon State lost an arm it was hoping would offset the departure of Dallas Buck, Jonah Nickerson and Kevin Gunderson when D.J. Lidyard recently signed a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The right-hander from Lower Columbia (Wash.) Community College, who was taken in the 43rd round by the Brewers in the June draft, had indicated to OSU coach Pat Casey he intended to play for the Beavers next season. The Brewers must have upped their offer.

'It takes away the one thing we really need - experience on the mound,' Casey says. 'You don't like to see that happen.'

The defending national champions have begun fall workouts with new infield hopefuls in LSU transfer Jason Ogata, Sprague High graduate Joey Wong and ex-Crescent Valley star Brett Casey, the coach's son.