The Toronto Raptors won the 2019 NBA title on Thursday night with a 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors, and major player in its success carries strong ties to Washington.
Jayda Evans of The Seattle Times dug up a gem of a photo of Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri in a Nathan Hale basketball team photo. Ujiri, whose acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard last summer and Marc Gasol at the trade deadline put the franchise in place for a title run, graduated from Nathan Hale in 1993.
Ujiri was born in Nigeria and has been well-traveled throughout his career in basketball. One of those stops was Seattle, where Ujiri moved from Nigeria to stay with a Nigerian family when he was 20 years old.
This chapter in Ujiri’s life was briefly mentioned in a 2015 Sports Illustrated profile of the accomplished NBA executive.
Ujiri’s Seattle ties headline this week’s News&Notes from around high school sports in the state of Washington.
Here are some others (feel free to drop in the comments any more stories):
- Fort Vancouver graduate Spencer Tibbits is competing in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach after qualifying as an amateur. Paul Danzer of the Portland Tribune chronicled the background of the Oregon State golfer in this feature.
- Matt Driscoll, a columnist with The News Tribune of Tacoma, tells the story of Jon DePerro, a Tacoma resident and army vet who is spearheading an Alternative Baseball league for autistic athletes.
- The Everett Aquasox short season single-A baseball team are entering their 35th year of existent, so Josh Horton of The Everett Herald took a look at the top 35 minor leaguers to ever come through Everett.
- Oregon State named Mitch Canham as its next head baseball coach. Canham, who was recently managing the double-A Arkansas Travelers, is a Lake Stevens native, who attended Lake Stevens High School before helping the Beavers to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007.
- A pitch count in softball? Josh Horton of The Everett Herald explores the topic and found mixed reactions.
- Caleb Lightbourn, a former Camas High School punter, announced his transfer from the University of Nebraska to Oregon State. A senior in eligibility, Lightbourn will likely sit out a year, per NCAA transfer rules.
- Bellingham High School grad Austin Shenton dreamed about playing for the Mariners as a kid. The ball club drafted him last week, and Eric Trent of the Lynden Tribune chronicled his road to becoming a pro baseball player.
Andy Buhler is a reporter for Scorebook Live Washington. To hear him every week on the Scorebook Live Today podcast, subscribe here. Follow him on Twitter @AndyBuhler and reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.