In November, the father of The Seattle Times' terrific sports columnist, Steve Kelley, died in his native Wilmington, Del.

The next day, Steve wrote a moving piece about Bill Kelley's lifelong love affair with sports, and in particular, University of Delaware football, always the connecting rod between father and son.

A month ago, Matt Wade, a former community director for the Seattle SuperSonics, ran into Kelley.

'Hey, that was a cool thing Brent Barry did,' Wade said.

'What are you talking about?' Kelley asked.

Unbeknown to Kelley, the Sonic guard had read the column and quietly made a $1,000 donation to University of Delaware athletics in the name of Bill Kelley.

Does that tell you just about all you need to know about Brent Barry?

'He is the absolute best,' Kelley says of the former Oregon State standout. 'Brent is not a phony, he is not a suck-up, he's just who he is Ñ a special young man who is interested in people and in being a good person.'

Whoa, can the NBA use a few more of those.

• Are you like me? Are you skeptical of the recent report that Oregon is shelving its drive to build a new basketball arena? Could it be that the Ducks are hoping to spark more fervent support for the project, and if nothing major develops, Uncle Phil will swoop in and cover the remainder of the cost?

• Former University of Portland standout Travis Parrott has climbed to 75th on the ATP Tour doubles list after teaming with Jan-Michael Gambill to reach the semifinals of the Association of Tennis Professionals event in Memphis,Tenn., last week.

Last month, Parrott teamed with Brandon Coupe to make the finals of a Challenger Series tournament in Waikoloa, Hawaii, and they reached the quarterfinals of a Challenger event in Dallas the following week.

'I am improving every week,' says Parrott, 23, the 12th-ranked American doubles player. 'My immediate goal is to get my ranking in the top 60 by June, which would get me into the main draw of any Grand Slam this year.'

• Jonathan Smith says he has enjoyed his first two months as quarterbacks coach at the University of Idaho.

'Dennis Erickson and his coaches who had spent time here had raved about the place, and I have not been disappointed,' says the former Oregon State quarterback and assistant coach, who will serve as Idaho's quarterback coach under new head coach Nick Holt.

Former Central Catholic standout Michael Harrington, who spent part of last season as a starter for the 3-9 Vandals, will open spring ball as the team's quarterback.

'I have only seem Michael on tape, but he has a chance to be pretty good,' says Smith of Harrington, who will be a junior next season. 'He's an impressive kid, bright and eager to learn, and he looks like he can make plays.'

Among Idaho's signees was Brandon Nystrom, a safety from Junction City who was the Class 3A player of the year.

Contact Kerry Eggers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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