Maybe it's unfair to serve up a history quiz shortly after a practice, but one had to wonder: Just how much do the current Cougars know...
PULLMAN — Maybe it’s unfair to serve up a history quiz shortly after a practice, but one had to wonder: Just how much do the current Cougars know about the 1982-83 Washington State team, which until this week had the distinction of being the last WSU team to be ranked?
“Nothing,” junior forward Robbie Cowgill admitted.
Couldn’t even name a player?
“Was it around Ehlo’s time?”
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“OK. Who was the coach … was Raveling the coach then?”
WSU men @ Stanford, 4 p.m.
“That was the last team to be ranked. So, yeah, I guess that’s what I know,” Cowgill said with a shrug.
Surely the coach of the current team — ranked 22nd in The Associated Press poll with a 15-2 record and tied with Arizona for the Pac-10 lead at 4-1 — would know more about that squad.
“I was a pimple-popping teenager,” said Tony Bennett, who was, in fact, 13 years old when Washington State was No. 18 in the nation — albeit for just one week in February of that season.
Bennett also managed to rattle off only the names of Craig Ehlo, the team’s second-leading scorer that year, and coach George Raveling.
Ditto for junior Derrick Low, who was shown a team photo but still recognized those two faces and no others.
“I didn’t think it would be this long,” Ehlo admitted Wednesday from his home in Spokane. “I’ve got to tap my memory banks here.”
Following those defeats, the Cougars dropped out of the polls, not to return, although they did make the NCAA tournament, beating Weber State before losing to Virginia and Ralph Sampson.
And although the current version of the hardwood Cougars is hard-pressed to recall much about that squad, it did give WSU fans plenty to remember.
Much like the current team, those Cougars got off to a hot start, opening the season 15-2 thanks to a 12-game winning streak.
“We were just like everybody else, just like they’re doing it now. We were overachievers,” Ehlo said. “Our first 10 games we were playing in the Coliseum in front of 2,000 people. And then we started winning.
“After that it just slowly started picking up and gaining momentum. Pretty soon, the students were filling their side and the reserved were filling their side.”
Ehlo laughed when told that his was the only name players recognized from the team that had its brief moment in the sun. But one player from this year’s team offered the best defense of all.
“That’s way before we were born,” Low said.