Pac-12 notes: Washington to unveil Don James statue with UCLA, Jim Mora in town
Don James passed away four years ago, but Washington fans will now be able to find a symbol of the revered Huskies coach whenever they visit the shores of Montlake for a home game.
James delivered a national championship to UW in 1991 and won 153 games over 18 seasons. On Friday, the Huskies will commemorate his legacy with an 8-foot, 6-inch statue that weighs over 500 pounds.
The older generation of UW fans lived through James’ golden era in Seattle, but few are more qualified to talk about it than the man coaching against the Huskies during Saturday’s Homecoming game against UCLA.
“As a coach myself, I’ve been fortunate to be around some great ones that have all had influence on me in one way or another,” Bruins coach Jim Mora said, “and I would say there’s probably not a day that goes by in my coaching career that I don’t reflect on something Coach James said or did or demonstrated that had an impact on me.”
Mora played for James as a walk-on defensive back/linebacker from 1980-83. The school will hold a statue dedication ceremony at 5 p.m. on Friday. Mora turned down an invitation to attend because he’ll be with his UCLA team, but the former UW player said he’d be back at some point to get a glimpse of the statue.
“I think it’s just wonderful,” Mora said. “It’s really hard for people to imagine … how many people he truly influenced in a positive way. I know that I’m one of them and all my close friends I played with we are so affected by the way he conducted things.”
Cause for concern?
In the wake of an FBI investigation regarding college basketball’s black market, amateurism and bribery, a few college football coaches are left to wonder if a few of the issues are bleeding into their own sport.
The basic framework of AAU basketball is similar to that of summer 7-on-7 football camps. Both competitions are independent of high school or college athletics and are dually driven by big shoe and apparel companies, such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour.
The “middle men” that have made AAU basketball such a slippery slope may also exist in 7-on-7 camps, but Pac-12 football coaches don’t think the problem will ever grow to the level that it has in college hoops.
“There were concerns at one point, but I don’t think it’s ever really got to that or will really get to that. I think it’s just a different dynamic,” Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez said. “Even though they’re star players, you don’t have those guys that are going to be one and dones, you don’t have the guys that are so highly sought after like those potentially NBA guys were. … And frankly I think the basketball thing will get cleaned up as well.”
Added Stanford’s David Shaw: “It’s already happening in football, I don’t think it’s on the scale that it’s been in basketball. I don’t think the money is as big. But when there is personal interest, like trying to win or trying to get contract extensions or better jobs, etc., there’s cheating. There’s cheating in everything.”
Utah wide receiver Darren Carrington is returning to the school that cut him loose in July.
The Utes and their leading receiver will travel to Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday for an afternoon game against the Ducks. Carrington played for Oregon from 2014-16 and was the team’s leading receiver as a junior, hauling in 43 balls for a team-high 606 yards and five touchdowns.
Carrington, who was dismissed by Oregon after being arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge, is wearing different colors now but he’s still one of the Pac-12’s top pass-catchers. He leads the conference with 92.7 yards per game and has caught a Pac-12-best eight touchdown passes.
”I was thinking about (his return) yesterday,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said earlier this week. “I haven’t talked to Darren about that specifically, but that was something I was thinking about as I was watching film. I think he will be excited to go back and play.”