State Legends To Talk Basketball At State Capitol Museum

first_imgFor several decades now, the Western Washington area has been producing top flight, professional level talent in the sport of basketball.However, the sport’s past in the area began long before in-state players headed off to play collegiately and in the NBA.The past, present and future of basketball in Washington State will be the topic of a special program and panel discussion presented by the State Capital Museum, HistoryLink.org, the Washington State Historical Society and Watt’s Basketball at the State Capitol Museum in Olympia on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m.Titled Basketball in the Northwest: Past, Present and Future!, the discussion will be moderated by Cassandra Tate of HistoryLink.org, with special guests including: retired Seattle Supersonics Legend Donald “Slick” Watts; former University of Washington basketball great Donald Watts (Slick’s son); and Keith Cooper, the head coach of the Saint Martin’s University men’s basketball team.Tate will present the history and inception of the sport in the region, while the three guests will add their expertise and detailed perspective regarding the development and future of basketball in Washington.A member of the Sonics from the 1973-74 season until the 1977-78 campaign, Slick Watts compiled 2678 assists and an astounding 961 steals throughout his six year NBA career, where he played in 437 total games.  His defensive prowess earned him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive 1st Team in the 1975-76 season, which went along with his 8.1 assists and 3.2 steals per contest, both of which led the team that season.  Watt’s played under legendary player/coach Bill Russell in his first four years in the NBA.Slick’s son Donald is considered to be one of the greatest players in the illustrious history of University of Washington basketball.  In the 1997-98 season, Watts, who graduated from Lake Washington High School, was second on the Huskies in scoring at 16.9 per game, while his 107 assists and 48 steals would lead the team.  The Huskies finished the season 20-10 and earned their first NCAA tournament bid since 1986.  In the tournament, Watts would help lead the Huskies to the Sweet Sixteen following wins over Xavier and Richmond before falling to UCONN 75-74, who won on a game winning shot by future NCAA and NBA champion Richard “Rip” Hamilton. Watts would go on to average 13.1 points his senior year for the Huskies.The head coach at Saint Martin’s since 2003, Cooper had been an assistant at Central Washington University and Pacific Lutheran University before taking over for the Saints.  Cooper is also well known for his high school coaching career, particularly at Decatur High School in Federal Way, where he helped lead DHS to a second place finish in 1996.  While at Decatur, Cooper coached standout high school player Quincy Wilder, who would go on to play collegiately at several locations, including the Evergreen State College in the early 2000s. The High School All Area coach of the year in 1999, Cooper played collegiately at the College of the Siskiyous and Tacoma Community College and is a graduate of Morton High School.Cassandra Tate will begin the evening with a brief outline of the history of basketball in the state beginning with its introduction to Seattle as a club sport in the 1890s and including the arrival of the Sonics in the 1960s.Panelists will then be asked about their experiences as players and coaches and how the game has changed. How is basketball in the northwest different from other regions of the country? How come so many great players have come from the Northwest? Where is basketball on all levels headed, and what is the future for professional, men’s basketball in Seattle?ThurstonTalk.com sports writer Tom Rohrer will also be asking questions to the panel members.Admission is free for all youth sports players and a there is a $2 suggested donation for all others in attendance.    Post program refreshments will be provided and guests will have an opportunity to meet and greet all the panel members.The State Capital Museum is located at 211 21st Ave SW in Olympia.  For more information on the program, please call 360-586-0166, or visit their website. Facebook21Tweet0Pin0last_img

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