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... plus, kudos to Schonley, Clopton, and other columnist notes



Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Kevin Love (right) is introduced as a Cleveland Cavaliers starter at Tuesday night's NBA game at the Trail Blazers.Notes, quotes and anecdotes about what's happening on the Portland sports scene …

• Moda Center denizens got the opportunity to watch a pair of All-Stars this week who spent plenty of time together as kids -- Golden State guard Klay Thompson and Cleveland forward Kevin Love.

The sons of ex-NBA players Mychal Thompson and Stan Love were playmates growing up in Lake Oswego in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Kevin Love, 26, was two years older than Klay Thompson, the middle son of Mychal's three boys. Older son Mychel, 26, played five games for the Cavaliers in 2011-12 and is a member of the D-League Santa Cruz Warriors. Younger son Trayce, 23, is a center fielder in the Chicago White Sox system.

"The boys played Little League baseball together," recalls Mychal, whose family lived in Lake Oswego from 1992-2004. "Kevin would come over to the house almost every weekend. We were very close to the Loves."

The Loves stayed in Lake Oswego, Kevin leading the Lakers to the state prep championship as a senior in 2006. The Thompsons moved to Los Angeles, where Mychal has a morning radio talk show and serves as radio analyst for the Lakers.

Kevin Love has become one of the premier players in the game, a three-time NBA All-Star and a member of the U.S. team that won gold at the 2010 world championships and 2012 Olympic Games.

"By the time Kevin got to high school and the AAU ranks, you could see he had those old-school basketball skills to take him to the Hall of Fame," Mychal Thompson says. "That's a no-brainer -- first ballot, as long as he stays healthy."

Klay Thompson, a member of the U.S. team that won gold at the 2014 World Cup, joins Stephen Curry to form the premier backcourt in the NBA.

"That's really wild, isn't it?" Stan Love marvels. "Two kids who played together in Lake Oswego wound up doing pretty well for themselves."

"It's something our family is proud of," Mychal Thompson says. "The Lake Oswego area is our favorite. We still miss it. The boys did not want to move. I felt really guilty about that. Lake Oswego will be always be considered home."

• Thompson, on the Warriors: "They're deep at every position, very well-coached. If this team doesn't win the championship, they should consider this season a bust. This team is loaded and ready to win a title."

On the Trail Blazers: "They're really good. They could be in the top four in the West. They have everything they need -- a couple of All-Stars in LaMarcus (Aldridge) and Damian (Lillard), and the addition of (Steve) Blake and (Chris) Kaman takes their collective basketball IQ to an even higher level. They're ready to take another step."

• Bill Schonely is a state-of-Oregon icon and a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and now the legendary broadcaster has the ultimate honor: A beer in his name.

Pyramid Breweries has introduced the "Schonz' Red Session Ale" that will be marketed throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington. I had a couple of glasses of it and it's good -- flavorful and full-bodied.

"It's nice," observes Schonely, 85 years young. "I guess I've made it now, eh?"

• Veteran agent Aaron Goodwin, who reps Damian Lillard, had a curious choice of shoes with his suit at the Blazers-Cavaliers game Tuesday night -- a pair of black LeBron James Lifestyle Nikes.

Lillard, of course, is an Adidas guy. But Goodwin was the first agent for James, Nike's biggest star these days. And Goodwin chose to pay tribute to his good friend and former client.

"Just for one night," Goodwin says with a laugh. "I'll put these shoes in the closet after tonight."

• On Thursday, the NBA will release its new "Gear Up" television ad highlighting NBA gear for NBAstore.com. It features Lillard, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Mike Conley and Andrew Wiggins and a series of young fans. It's cute. Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGBsHqEZIBM

• New Cavaliers general manager David Griffin went outside the box to hire David Blatt as head coach. Blatt, a Boston native, played and coached in Europe for more than 30 years -- he coached Russia to the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics -- but had never coached in the NBA.

Blatt did not step into the easiest of situations. Expectations are through the roof for a team featuring James, Love and Kyrie Irving. At least Blatt has a sense of humor about it when asked how the transition has been.

"I feel comfortable," Blatt says. "One thing I'm doing real well with is the language. I've been on top of that."

But the jury will be out for a while on the David Blatt Experiment. He'll have to gain the respect of his stars, and that won't be easy.

• Sacramento has optioned Eric Moreland to its D-League affiliate in Reno. The former Oregon State forward, who hadn't played in the regular season, had four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes in three games off the bench in the preseason.

• Mike Clopton and his wife, Gayle, are in the midst of a road trip that will carry them to NHL games in Denver, St. Louis, Detroit, Buffalo and Columbus as well as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. It's a well-deserved respite for one of the best baseball coaches in Oregon prep history.

Clopton, who turns 68 next month, coached 38 years in the PIL -- six at Jackson, 32 at Wilson -- and guided the Trojans to the state championship game three times, winning in 2006 and '12.

"It was time," Clopton says. "I have some things to do. I want to play a little more golf, read more books, spend more time with our four grandkids. And (long-time assistant coach) Jeremy Shetler is the right guy to take my place."

Clopton started coaching as a 17-year-old high school junior when he and boyhood pal Dwight Jaynes, the Comcast SportsNet Northwest columnist/commentator, served as Babe Ruth co-coaches for the Cleveland Indians.

"I really enjoyed coaching more than I enjoyed playing," Clopton says.

Clopton did a marvelous job of it, amassing a high school record of 613-438 to rank third on the Oregon big-school win list behind only Dave Gasser and Tom Campbell. Clopton also coached 40 years of American Legion summer ball.

"Never took a summer off," he says. "Missed a couple of games for weddings. I coached more than 2,000 Legion games, more than 1,000 high school games and more than 200 Babe Ruth games.

"The highlight for me was the opportunity to work with the kids and coaches. There were so many great friendships that developed over the years. That's what I'll miss the most."

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Twitter: @kerryeggers

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