Tinkle on Reid suspension; Ex-Panther Senn follows his old team; Lillard or Aldridge?; state tennis needs your help ... and more notes
KERRY EGGERS ON SPORTS
Notes, quotes and observations about our sporting world
Wayne Tinkle got it just right with his four-game suspension of senior forward Jarmal Reid for the tripping incident that brought Oregon State basketball unwanted national attention.
OSU's second-year coach acted promptly and decisively in delivering punishment for Reid's ill-fated trip of referee Tommy Nunez Jr. Sunday in the closing moments of the Beavers' 59-53 loss at Utah.
I was thinking the Pac-12 would bring disciplinary action, but Tinkle beat the conference to the punch -- no pun intended. I was also thinking two games, but Tinkle wanted to send a message that such loss of composure won't be tolerated.
"It's an isolated deal for Jarmal," Tinkle says. "He's not a kid who has gotten in trouble. He hasn't done anything (wrong) since I've been here. This is his first incident.
"But there are no excuses for the action. That's what we're trying to teach. We need to help him grow and learn and mature from this."
Reid, 22, has been through a lot during his time at Oregon State. He has had two heart procedures, the last one in August. He lost his father, Wendell Curney, in September after a series of strokes. Reid missed several games in the early season after suffering a stress fracture to a foot. On Sunday, there were frustrations he shared with OSU coaches and teammates over the way the game had been officiated.
"Jarmal has been through so much," Tinkle says. "He is dealing with some tough emotions at a young age. But he is a big teddy bear off the court. His teammates like him. Everybody loves his personality."
Reid will have counseling available to him on campus to address any personal issues. He has already showed contrition.
"He knows he has to be disciplined," Tinkle says. "He admitted fault. We're not going to turn our back on him. Hopefully, he'll respond in a positive way."
The Carolina Panthers feature three former Oregon State Beavers -- offensive tackle Mike Remmers, quarterback Derek Anderson and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards -- along with a pair of ex-Ducks, running back Jonathan Stewart and tight end Ed Dickson.
Watching intently when the Panthers play Arizona Sunday for the NFC championship will be a former Panther also with state-of-Oregon ties -- former Portland Stater Jordan Senn.
Senn played the final 4 1/2 seasons (2009-13) of a six-year NFL career with the Panthers after making the Indianapolis Colts' roster as an undrafted free agent in 2007. The 5-11, 225-pound Beaverton High grad was a special-teams stalwart during his time with Carolina, serving as special-teams captain during the 2012 campaign.
The Panthers' ascension to the top of the NFL ranks hasn't surprised Senn, who was with them during their build-up years.
"They've been a solid team for a while," Senn says. "They have a great coaching staff and a lot of proven leaders. Ron Rivera is a great coach. He treats players well, but expects hard work out of him. It was only a matter of time until they put it all together on a consistent basis.
"A lot of people gave (quarterback) Cam Newton a hard time when he first came in. He had a hard hand to deal with as the No. 1 overall pick overall, coming into a franchise where they expect you to be the leader right away. It takes time too develop those skills. He's done that. I knew he was going to get better. He's a hard worker and has a good support staff."
Senn, now 31 and living in Portland, attended several home Portland State games this season.
"I was happy to see (the Vikings) do so well," he says. "I had a chance to meet and talk with Coach (Bruce) Barnum. I really like him. You can tell he's a good leader. He is teaching those guys good habits."
Senn, who got his bachelor's degree in exercise science, has returned to PSU to take pre-med classes in preparation for a new career as a emergency-room doctor. His mother, Robin, has worked as a nurse for more than 30 years.
He will be rooting for his old team on Sunday.
"I have a lot of friends still playing there, and all the coaches are still there," Senn says. "I'd like to see them win it all."
When the Western Conference coaches vote for the seven reserves for the team that will represent the West in the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 14 at Toronto, the final berth could come down to a decision between LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard.
Fans vote for the five starters -- three frontcourt players and two guards -- to the West and East teams. The coaches' vote determines the seven reserves -- two guards, three front-court players and two wild cards.
When the starters are announced Thursday's, the West frontcourt will include the Lakers' Kobe Bryant (which is a joke) and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant. The other starter up front will be either Golden State's Draymond Green or San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard. The starting backcourt will be the Warriors' Stephen Curry and the Thunder's Russell Westbrook.
All but assured to be added by coaches are either Green or Leonard for one spot, plus New Orleans' Anthony Davis, Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State's Klay Thompson, the Clippers' Chris Paul and Houston's James Harden.
That leaves one spot open. Lillard, who ranks sixth in the league in scoring and eighth in assists, is the next-most deserving player. But Aldridge, who has sacrificed personal stats this season, is the second-best player on the second-best team in the NBA.
The other strong possibility is Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, No. 2 in the league in rebounds and third in blocked shots.
It's going to be a very difficult decision for the coaches.
When Charlotte's Kemba Walker went for 52 points Monday against Utah, he joined a still somewhat exclusive club that includes four Portland players (Damon Stoudamire, Brandon Roy, Clyde Drexler and Geoff Petrie), ex-Blazers Jamal Crawford (while he was with Golden State), Kiki Vandeweghe (Denver), Cliff Robinson (Phoenix) and Tracy Murray (Washington), and former Portland State great Freeman Williams (San Diego).
What was more surprising was that the 6-1 Walker also had nine rebounds and eight assists, making him only the sixth player since 1985 to accomplish those numbers.
Walker is the third player this season to go for at least 50 points and eight assists.
Curry had 53/9 vs. New Orleans on Oct. 31 and Harden put up 50/8 against Philadelphia on Nov. 27.
One of the best community-service offerings by the Blazers over the years is when players sponsor sections at the Rose Garden/Moda Center. The club announced Tuesday that six players -- Lillard, CJ McCollum, Meyers Leonard, Gerald Henderson, Moe Harkless and Tim Frazier -- will participate in a program to distribute free tickets for the team's remaining 22 home games.
Lillard will have "Lillard Timers" for local Special Olympics, Ronald McDonald House charities and Portland public schools.
McCollum will have "CJ's Crew," with tickets going to Friends of the Children and Girls, Inc.
Leonard -- whose older brother, Bailey, is a Marine -- will have "Leonard's Troops" for servicemen and women.
Henderson has "GH Juniors" for Boys & Girls Club and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Harkless has "Mini Moes" for Boys & Girls Club.
And Frazier offers "Frazier's Point" to the Alzheimer's Association.
I love all of that.
A celebration of life for Wayne Thompson, the former Oregonian sports editor who was the newspaper's first Blazer beat reporter, is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Georgia-Pacific Room in Memorial Coliseum. Thompson, who wrote a terrific book, "BlazerMania: This is Our Story," in 2010, died Sunday at age 79.
Thompson was a special guy, a person I often sought out to spend a few minutes with in the media dining room before Blazer games through the years. He was supportive of my career and quick with the compliment if he liked a story I wrote. I always valued his opinion, not just on basketball, but on a variety of topics. He was a Renaissance man with many interests, and a great sounding board for ideas.
I join the long list of people who will miss his presence.
The Oregon State Tennis Championships, a fixture on the local sports scene every summer since 1898, remains in jeopardy because of lack of sponsorship.
The tournament, held at Tualatin Hills in recent years, received a waiver for court fees from the club last summer.
"Part of the deal was that we would work hard to raise money and get our funding so we could pay off fees in 2016," says Lisa Lynch, president of the Greater Portland Tennis Council, a nonprofit organization that operates tournaments and promotes the sport in the area. "We're still hunting for a partner/sponsor. (Council members) are continuing to meet to see where we can cut, but we hate to cut the tournament. We don't want to see the end to this historical piece. We feel bad it has come to this."
I do, too. The GPTC does a great job working with a limited budget, and it needs financial support in keeping the Oregon State Championship alive.
For information on how to help, contact Lynch at gptenniscouncil.org.
Los Angeles lands an NFL team, or perhaps two. This weekend, Portland plays host to the U.S. Synchronized Figure Skating Championships. Borrowing from old friend Charlie Brown: Sigh.