Pasco’s monster O-lineman spurns Cougs; Sonics Petro? WOW! Plus Nate Mac-10 update

First some not-so-great news – Ryan Tolar, regarded as a top-10 in-state prospect and one that the Cougs had been high on, stunned many by verballing to UW yesterday. It was very unexpected given that Tolar said WSU was at the top of his list and he even went to the spring game, striking up a friendship with Arkelon Hall. But, he was mysteriously not at the WSU camp, instead attending UW’s camp, and then gave the commitment to Willingham yesterday.

That said, there are many that have been mixed on this kid from day one. He’s VERY big (6-5, 342 lbs as a high school senior) and he’s, well, to be kind, SOFT. Soft in appearance that is. He also went to a Nike camp down at Cal this spring, and was REALLY dominated by some bigger, quicker d-lineman and OLB’s. He was reportedly very down after seeing the true size and speed of athletes he will see at the next level, and admitted as much after the camp, saying he’s far too slow to compete with them right now. Then, it got worse for him, as he ran three 40-yard times at Cal. They took all 3 times and came up with an average…..of 5.8! A 5.8 40??? That must be one of the slowest lineman around.

You look at WSU’s line, and while we have traditionally have had some tall dudes, we don’t go after the 350-LB guards that are too slow to work in a one-back offense. Who knows, maybe it wasn’t a good match after all at WSU, and Willingham has been rumored to really want to run the hell out of the ball in the coming years, so he probably fits better for them. To me, though, Tolar better work on the belly, because to be that heavy and that slow, you’ll get eaten alive in the Pac-10.

Here’s some photos of Tolar, you tell me if he passes the “eye test” as to being too soft:

I see that mug shot, I think of the fat kid from The Goonies. Anyway, I’m not sad that he chose UW based on the type of player he is, but I’m disappointed because he’s an eastern/central WA kid who looks good on paper, and that they took him from our back yard more or less sucks.
Next, Johan Petro – lots of scouting reports compared him favorably to a young Shawn Kemp. On draft night, I didn’t see it. But, then, this video popped up as Petro as an 18-year old, last year in France. If you remember, Petro was a dark horse for the draft last year, and at the last moment he pulled out, much to the dismay of many NBA GM’s. So how he slipped to #25 was a huge delight to the Sonics (per KJR’s David Locke anyway, Petro was their “secret” desire, much like Robert Swift last year). Check out the video:
Yes, he picked up his dribble from outside the arc, and still threw it down! I haven’t seen a dunk like that by a kid that young since, well, Shawn Kemp in the 1987 McDonald’s All-American game. That’s serious athletic ability! Actually, it looks a lot like what Amare does on a nightly basis down in Phoenix?? You never know. You have to trust the Sonics brass, however, as the draft proof is in the puddin’. There was a big story in the NY Times on Sunday that said the Sonics, since 1998, are the best drafting team in the NBA, given their 1) average draft position and 2) number of NBA regulars that have come from their drafts.
Finally, update on Nate from KJR today – they had the Oregonian’s beat writer, Jason Quick, on this am to talk about Nate. He said from what he’s been told, we might expect something by tomorrow! He said that the Blazers have been sending strong feelers to Nate for some time, and Allen is so enamored with him leading his young team down there with a firm hand, that some speculate he has ordered John Nash to not let Nate “leave the building” so to speak without a press conference first announcing him as the next head coach! Quick has said in the list of top-5 candidates, Nate is #’s 1-4, with Terry Porter WAY down at #5 (but it might as well be #105).
So, Michael, I know you said the key date might be 7/8, but in reality it might be over a heck of a lot quicker than that! Hold your breath this weekend and pray on the ESPN crawl you don’t see anything under the NBA tab regarding a new head coach in Portland!

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