THE COACH OF of the Australia Boomers national basketball team, Brett Brown, had kind words for former Cougar center Aron Baynes after the Boomers rallied to beat Uruguay 101-84 at the Super 4 tournament Tuesday in Rosario, Argentina. The national coach of the New Zealand team wasn't quite as glowing.
“Aron Baynes () is a great addition to Australian basketball,” Brown said on the Boomers website. “We were on the verge of possibly losing him to New Zealand and he is a fantastic teammate and plays with such a high level of competitiveness.”
Baynes recorded nine points, five rebounds and a blocked shot against Uruguay. Baynes was raised in Australia but born in New Zealand, and the latter country, generally thought of as inferior to Australia in basketball, also sought Baynes for its national team.
New Zealand coach Nenad Vucinic told a New Zealand reporter that Baynes “would have had much more opportunity to play for us” and that he believes Baynes made “the wrong decision” to play for Australia.
Baynes has signed to play in Lithuania’s top pro league this winter.
-- Harvey leads: Seth Harvey, a leading candidate to serve as WSU’s bullpen closer next year, leads the West Coast League with 10 saves and 20 games pitched (tied). He’s 1-5 with a 3.70 earned run average for Bellingham after a rough outing Tuesday against Bend.
Outfielder Kyle Johnson is fifth in the WCL in hitting (.336) and tied for first in stolen bases (15 in 18 attempts). He’s yet to make an error for Wenatchee.
Adam Conley led the New England Collegiate Baseball League with a perfect 0.00 ERA (in 34 1/3 innings) for Keene, N.H.,, but he gave up an earned run in the first inning of Keene’s playoff opener Monday and was pinned with a 5-4 loss. He was 2-0 in the regular season for the Western Division champions.
Chad Arnold (3-1, 2.68) finished fourth in the NECBL with 49 strikeouts (in 40 1/3 innings). Derek Jones, who helped Arnold lead Newport (R.I.) to the Eastern Division title, came in second in slugging percentage (.549) and tied for sixth in homers (five). He hit .297 with 19 RBIs in 28 games, but strikeouts continue to be a problem for the burly outfielder (29 in 91 at bats).
Rusty Shellhorn leads the Prospect League with 82 strikeouts (in 61 1/3 innings), and he’s tied for the lead with seven wins. The left-hander is 7-3 with a 1.47 earned run average (fourth) for the North Coast Knights of Lorain, Ohio.
-- Swartz sidelined: WSU track coach Rick Sloan said high jumper Shawn Swartz will redshirt next season while continuing to be treated for leukemia back home in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.
“He’s doing well,” Sloan said. “He’s a tough guy.
“The treatments, I think he said, last 10 months. It’s a new treatment they’re trying in Canada.”
Swartz, who cleared 7 feet as a freshman this year, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May. He had qualified for the NCAA West Regional.
“What he has is one of the more treatable forms of leukemia,” Sloan said.
Sloan, who survived prostate cancer in 1998, spoke with Swartz about his own cancer experience.
“Just trying to give him a positive attitude,” Sloan said. “That it’s a winnable battle.”
Supporters may write to Swartz at 3332 Oxford Street, Port Coquitlam, B.C. V3B4C8. Inscribed wristbands continue to be sold for $5 as a sign of support for Swartz. Orders can be placed with Cougar jumps coach Matt McGee at the WSU Athletic Department, Bohler Athletic Complex, Track and Field Office, Pullman, Wash. 99164-1602.
-- Abbott shines: Sloan was delighted when Joe Abbott, a sophomore-to-be from Reno, won the bronze medal in the 800-meter run at the Pan American Athletics Championship last weekend in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
“He’s a hell of a talent,” Sloan said. “He ran another 1:48-highs down there after a long season.”
Abbott, the national junior champion, clocked 1:48:99. His personal best is 1:48.97.
Othello’s Courtney Kirkwood, another sophomore-to-be, came in seventh in the javelin. Her top throw of 136 feet, 7 inches was well off her career best of 178-8 set during the college season.