Jake the Snake and DDP launch 'Resurrection of Jake the Snake' in Portland

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Jake the Snake and DDP launch 'Resurrection of Jake the Snake' in Portland

Former professional wrestlers Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) and Jake the Snake are in Portland for the unveiling of 'Resurrection of Jake the Snake' which will have screenings September 6th-12th in Portland following yesterdays premiere at the Oregon Film Festival. The documentary follows the DDP as he helps rebuild Jake the Snake who finds himself fighting real world demons including drugs and alcohol. 

You find more info about the movie here:

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Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 4 - QB Braxton Burmeister

Ten Ducks that must rise in 2017: No. 4 - QB Braxton Burmeister

Oregon's quest to improve greatly over last season's 4-8 record will depend on the rapid development of several young and/or previously little-used players. Here is a look at ten most likely to rise to the occasion in 2017.

No. 4: Freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister.

Burmeister hadn't been scheduled to make this list before redshirt sophomore quarterback Travis Jonsen elected to transfer last week. In the blink of an eye, Brumeister went from a likely redshirt to No. 2 on the depth chart behind sophomore starter Justin Herbert. 

The backup quarterback typically receives zero attention during the season from fans and the media unless the starting quarterback goes down (or is benched). So, there is a strong chance that Burmeister will be largely out of sight and out of mind all season long. 

On the other hand, strange things happen within the sport of football making it a strong possibility that at some point Burmeister's services could be needed. 

Oregon had to rely on a backup quarterback because of injury in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2015. Marcus Mariota made every start from 2012 through 2014 but did experience a knee injury in 2013. 

Jonsen, according to coach Willie Taggart, had earned his confidence as a starting-caliber quarterback who at the very least could push Herbert for the starting job. With Jonsen competing with Herbert, the feeling at Oregon was that the top of the depth chart was loaded. Now, there will be some uncertainty about the backup spot entering fall camp.

Burmeister, a four-star recruit, looked like an inexperienced true freshman during the spring game, but he did display a strong arm to go along with excellent quickness and speed as a runner. How he develops over the summer and during fall camp will shape the level of confidence the coaching staff has in him as someone who could run the offense if needed. 

The Ducks certainly have many areas in need of new faces to deliver, and Burmeister could go the entire season without taking a meaningful snap. But because of the importance of the quarterback position, and that there is probably a 50/50 chance Herbert goes down for at least a series, a quarter, maybe a game, or two, Burmeister just became one of the most important young players on the team. 

The working list

No. 1: Cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. 

No. 2: Wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.

No. 3: Nose tackle Jordon Scott

No. 4: Freshman quarterback Braxton Burmeister. 

Multiple missteps lead to Hops loss

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CSN

Multiple missteps lead to Hops loss

The Hillsboro Hops couldn’t get out of their own way Friday night, committing five errors in route to a 5-1 loss to the Boise Hawks. 

After dropping two of three at home to Salem-Keizer, the Hops entered Friday’s game tied at the top of Northwest League South Division with a 4-4 record.

Tyler Keele (1-0, 2.70 ERA) took the mound for the Hops in the series opener across from Breiling Eusebio for the Hawks.

After Keele made quick work of the Hawks first five batters, defense failed the Hops. In the top half of the second inning, the Hops committed four errors and allowed two runs to come through. Keele pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam, but wore out his arm in the process, throwing 40 pitches through two innings. Errors continued to plague the Hops in the third inning. Making his pro debut, shortstop Camden Duzenack committed his second error of the game when he threw wide of first baseman Paxton De La Garza. The next batter, Danny Edgeworth sent a 1-0 fastball on the inside corner over the right field wall to give the Hawks a 4-0 lead after three innings. It was Edgeworth’s first home run of his professional career. 

While the scoreboard was lopsided, Keele allowed 0 earned runs on just two hits and struck out 9 in five innings of work. 

While it was hot outside, the Hops bats weren’t. They only had one base runner on through the first 7 innings. 

Hillsboro was able to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the 8th after leadoff hitter Billy Endris grounded in a run, set up by Camden Duzenack’s double that put runners on second and third.

Pavin Smith, the Diamondbacks first round pick, went 0 for 3 in his first game with the Hops.   

Friday’s game was the first of six Friday night telecasts from Ron Tonkin Field in 2017 on CSN.

The Hillsboro Hops have moved their weekend game times (June 24 & 25 games). First pitch on Saturday will be at 7:05pm and Sunday’s game time is 6:05pm. Water stations, additional tents on the concourse and misters will be set up for the comfort of fans in attendance at Ron Tonkin Field.   

BEAVERS’ WIN STREAK SNAPPED AT 23

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USATI

BEAVERS’ WIN STREAK SNAPPED AT 23

Oregon State's second 23-game win streak of the season was snapped Friday by the LSU Tigers 3-1 forcing a deciding game between the two teams Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park. Saturday's game time will be either Noon or 5 p.m. PDT and will be decided following Friday's nightcap between TCU and Florida.
 
The Beavers (56-5) managed just two hits off of LSU (51-18) starting pitcher Alex Lange in their first loss since April 29. OSU's lone run came in the bottom of the third inning as Trevor Lanach earned a bases loaded walk off of Lange for his 14th straight game with an RBI.  Tyler Malone and Michael Gretler had the Beavers' hits for the game.
 
Beaver hurler Jake Thompson suffered his first loss of the season falling to 14-1. Thompson allowed six hits, three earned runs, struck out five and walked one is 6 2/3 innings.
 
OSU enters Saturday's deciding game aiming for its third appearance in the championship series under the watch of 23-year head coach Pat Casey. The Beavers won the 2006 and '07 titles, and are looking to be the first program to win three championships in the span from 1998-2017.
 

Hooked on a feeling: Neil Olshey was sold on Zach Collins in January

Hooked on a feeling: Neil Olshey was sold on Zach Collins in January

It was in January this year when Neil Olshey had a feeling about Zach Collins.

Throughout his career as an NBA executive, Olshey had often experienced a defining  moment in his evaluation of college players that changed his view of a player from a prospect to a target.

On Thursday, Olshey used his latest feeling to trade up in the NBA draft to select Collins – a 7-footer from Gonzaga -- with the 10th overall pick.

“He is a franchise-level building block,’’ Olshey said.

It’s not the first time Olshey has felt this way about a player.

In 2013, Olshey drove through an east-coast snowstorm to watch a Lehigh guard named CJ McCollum. It wasn’t the 34 points McCollum scored that night against Bryant College that stuck with him. And it wasn’t the fact McCollum missed a floater at the buzzer to win it.

It was how the loss gutted McCollum to the point where he stayed motionless in the key after the buzzer sounded. To Olshey, it showed a player who cared more about winning than his individual stats.

That summer, Olshey took McCollum with the 10th pick, and McCollum today has emerged as one of the NBA’s most prolific and creative scorers.

The year before, in 2012, after an afternoon of workouts with draft prospects, Olshey picked up a point guard named Damian Lillard on the way to a dinner with owner Paul Allen. Olshey was fresh on the job with the Blazers and didn’t know the area beyond the Blazers’ practice facility, and soon found himself lost en route to Oswego Grill.

“I remember he didn’t know where he was going,’’ Lillard would say later. “We got off on the wrong exit. Then we had the right exit, but were going the wrong way … and he was all mad, saying ‘Where the hell we at!’’’

During it all, Olshey remembered looking over at Lillard. He was calm. Cool. Unfazed. And as Lillard recalled, he remembered telling Olshey, “I know you are going to find it.’’

To Olshey, that moment of chaos revealed something special about Lillard. The young point guard was cool under pressure. And he was supportive of a teammate, even if it was an executive stressing behind the wheel.

A few weeks later, Olshey took Lillard with the No. 6 overall pick, and Lillard has shown the same traits both on and off the court as he has become on of the NBA’s marquee players.

Which brings us to January, and Collins, and Olshey’s latest moment.

The scene was the University of Portland’s Chiles Center and the event was Gonzaga at Portland, where Olshey and assistant general manager Bill Branch went to scout Collins.

At the time, the Blazers were scuffling through a disappointing season, were out of the playoff picture, yet to inflicted with Nurkic Fever. They were targeting lottery picks and were unsure whether they would find a target at the West Coast Conference game.

But soon, they saw a 7-footer who had a nice shooting touch. He also defended. He was also tough and competitive. Then, there was one play that sealed it. It wasn’t as subtle as the McCollum or Lillard moments, but it was enough to turn him from prospect to target.

“He caught a ball on the left block, got doubled teamed, and threw a behind-the-back, no-look pass,’’ Olshey said.

He turned to Branch.

“I said, OK Billy, we can go home,’’ Olshey said. “We’re done. Top 10 pick. We knew right then.’’

**

Funny thing is, in one way, Collins beat Olshey to the punch when determining his fate.

In October of 2012, when Collins was 14, he was playing the NBA 2k video game, which enables you to create yourself as a player. Collins created his profile and entered the video game’s draft.

He was selected by the Trail Blazers with the 11th overall pick, which he captured with a photo and tweeted.

As he remembers, Collins that season with the Blazers on the video game won the Rookie of the Year.

“Possibly MVP,’’ Collins said.

Nearly five years later, Collins acknowledged that video games are easier than real basketball, but that didn’t stop him from aspiring to match his 2012 “award.”

“I don’t see why I cant be the Rookie of the Year,’’ Collins said.

While Olshey touted the Las Vegas-native as a franchise-level building block, he also cautioned that Collins might take some time to make an impact, especially on a deep  and experienced team like the Blazers.

Still, Olshey offered a glowing assessment.

“He’s the whole package,’’ Olshey said. “He’s a big-time rim protector, a great one-on-one defender, a big time post defender, he can really pass it … he can stretch the floor, score over both shoulders … he’s everything you look for in a big man in our league today.’’

**

By Thursday morning, Olshey and his staff knew they wanted Collins, but weren’t sure he was attainable. The Blazers owned the 15th, 20th and 26th picks and long knew Collins wouldn’t last until the 15th pick based in part by their inability to get him to Portland for a workout.

“We had no shot to get him in (to Portland for a workout),’’ Olshey said. “There was no way he was going to be there at 15. I think we got lucky he got to 10.’’

Olshey figured the key would be Sacramento at 5 and New York at 8. If the Kings didn’t get a point guard with the No. 5 pick, the conventional wisdom was they would use 10 to pick either Frank Ntilikina or Dennis Smith. But once Boston drafted Jayson Tatum at No. 3, it opened the way for the Kings to take point guard De’Aaron Fox at five, giving them flexibility to explore trades.

And when Ntilikina went to the Knicks at eight – not Malik Monk like some had projected – he knew it was time to pounce at the chance to get Collins.

So Olshey swapped 15 and 20 with the Kings for No. 10.

“He’s the only guy we would move both picks to get,’’ Olshey said.

In reality, Olshey’s anxiety about Collins started in March as Collins started taking on a bigger role in Gonzaga’s run through the conference and NCAA tournaments.

“He just kept playing better and better, and we kept getting more and more frustrated, knowing the more minutes he got, the more the rest of the country was going to catch up,’’ Olshey said.

In the end, Olshey followed his gut and that feeling from January, and got his man.

The plan is to play Collins as a backup to Jusuf Nurkic, and perhaps at times alongside Nurkic against bigger lineups.

Collins says he doesn’t want to pigeon-hole himself as a center or a power forward, he just wants to play, improve, and mostly, win. Other than that, he says he doesn’t know much about the team outside of the latest players who Olshey had a “feeling” about -- Lillard and McCollum.

“I just know they are a tough team and they don’t really back down from anybody – and those are traits I grew up with and those are part of my game as well,’’ Collins said. “I think … I can fit in perfectly there.’’

Trail Blazers may have addressed several needs with draft picks

Trail Blazers may have addressed several needs with draft picks

If you want to go down a checklist of things the Trail Blazers could have sought in the 2017 draft that would make their team better, it might go this way:

  • Outside shooting in the front court.
  • Rim protection.
  • Overall defensive improvement.
  • Toughness.
  • More players who can pass.

And after the draft, you might just be able to put a checkmark next to all those categories.

Portland traded two first-round picks for Gonzaga center/forward Zach Collins at No. 10 and then selected Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan at No. 26.

Collins, a seven-footer, doesn't lack for confidence, calmly telling the Portland media via conference call, "I don't see why I can't be rookie of the year."

Neil Olshey, Portland's director of basketball operations, called him "a franchise-level building block" and pushed Collins as a rim-protector, one-on-one defender, pick-and-roll defender and gritty competitor. "We got lucky he got to 10," Olshey said.

Swanigan, a 6-9 forward who can pass and make threes, is known for what is now his rags-to-riches story of attending 15 different schools and living in homeless shelters before getting his weight under control and his life together. "An incredible kid... a great story," Olshey said.

If social media is any indication (and it's not always) the Blazer fan base came away from draft night with a degree of disappointment. There was no blockbuster trade involving Jimmy Butler or Paul George and no drafting of any of the available Oregon Ducks.

But Olshey is sticking to the plan he's had since taking over this roster. "At the end of the day, we have to do what's right, long-term," he said.

The Blazers have built around Damian Lillard and his career arc. The idea is to accumulate players around Lillard's age or younger, then grow them together and be ready as a team for a championship run when Lillard reaches his peak.  Collins is still 19 and Swanigan turned 20 just a couple of months ago so both will need development time.

But front-court players who can make threes, pass and defend always have a shot at playing time. Collins, I would expect, has a real shot at earning rotation minutes as a rookie. Swanigan is one of those players who doesn't quite fit a position but is what Olshey called "a basketball player" -- and the league is shifting more and more to players who don't necessarily fit a stereotype.

How will it work out? Nobody really knows... but it's going to be fun to watch.

Jim Leavitt, Part 1: Enamored with state's beauty, Ducks' program

Jim Leavitt, Part 1: Enamored with state's beauty, Ducks' program

This is Part 1 of a three-part series on new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt based on an extensive interview conducted for Talkin' Ducks, which first aired on Wednesday and will re-air several times in the coming week. 

--

EUGENE - If you follow Jim Leavitt on social media, or have simply heard him speak, you already know how much he loves scenic views and tranquil areas where he can get in his daily runs.

So there should be no surprise that Leavitt has become enamored with the state of Oregon and its colorful trees, green landscapes and just the right balance of snow capped mountains and lush hillsides.

Leavitt, 60, first discovered the beauty of this state when he made his first professional trip to the Oregon as Colorado's defensive coordinator in the fall of 2015. The Buffaloes were set to play at Oregon State on Oct. 24 and the team stayed in Eugene. 

The day before the game, which Colorado won 17-13, Leavitt said he went for a run along the Willamette River and up to Autzen Stadium. The surrounding beauty mesmerized him. 

“I remember calling my wife, Jodie, and I said, ‘if I ever get the opportunity to coach at Oregon, Iʼm going to do it."

Fast forward to 2016 when a Colorado interception in an Autzen Stadium end zone preserved a 41-38 win at Oregon that in many ways got the ball rolling toward Leavitt ending up with the Ducks.

Ironically, the Buffaloes' defense surrendered 508 yards of offense in that game to an Oregon team that was minus star running back Royce Freeman. But that win for Colorado, coming off of a strong showing at Michigan, made it clear that the program had turned the corner. The loss for Oregon made the Ducks 2-2 and raised red flags about a program in turmoil.

The Buffaloes finished the season with one of the top defenses in the country and the team reached the Pac-12 title game with a defense that ended the season having allowed just 21.7 points per game. Oregon, which went on to allow 41.4 points per game, finished 4-8. That led to the firing of Mark Helfrich and the hiring of coach Willie Taggart last December.

Soon after, Oregon hired Leavitt and paid him $1.125 million to turnaround a Ducks defense that ranked 128th in the nation. 

"Iʼve known coach Taggart for awhile, but when he had called and allowed me to be here and with [athletic director] Rob [Mullens] and everybody, I was overjoyed, because Iʼve always been intrigued by Oregon," Leavitt said. 

After accepting the job, Leavitt chose to drive from Colorado to Oregon. He drove through Burns and Sisters, taking in the sights.

“That was really kind of important for me so I can kind of get to know the state a little bit,” he said.

Oregon's state-of-the-art facilities created awe, as well. But not as much as those working within the Hatfield-Dowlin complex

“You can say all you want about the facilities here, but what has been the most impressive thing to me is the people,” he said. "Everything about Oregon is about championships and I like being in that kind of environment. So thatʼs been really impressive to me."

Part of Leavitt's appeal as a coach to his players is his boundless energy. 

"He's very enthusiastic and very upfront about what he wants from us on defense," senior linebacker Jimmie Swain said. "It's great having him around and having that enthusiasm out there on defense."

Sophomore linebacker Troy Dye said keeping up with Leavitt is difficult, even for the players.

"I didn't know he was in his 60s until he told us," Dye said. "I thought he was mid-40s, early-50s, something like that. He's always out there running with us...You've got to respect that type of energy."

So, where does that energy come from?

Leavitt joked that it might be the Pepsi he drinks religiously. Or, maybe it's his "love for the Lord." 

"I just feel so grateful for the opportunities that I have, certainly here at Oregon, every day I get here on the field," Leavitt said. "I just have learned to appreciate the opportunities that Iʼve had and appreciate being able to coach these guys, that these players allow me to coach them."

Also keeping him hopping are his two youngest daughters, Sofia, 7, and Isabella, 5.  

"I got Sophia, who just ran a 10k with me," he said. "And she went all the way. You know whatʼs funny is we ran the first two miles and she goes, 'dad, Iʼm a little tired, I might want to just walk a little bit.' Little did she know, I was praying, I was hoping so bad that she would say that so I could start walking. I was tired. So we walked a little bit, and then she looked at me and said, “letʼs go!” and I go 'oh my gosh here we go.'"

Then there's Isabella.

"That's my little tiger," Leavitt said. [They are] 18 months apart and they are something else, they really are."

They, too, have embraced Oregon. 

"They love the Ducks and theyʼve already got the Ducks cheerleading outfit on and they really have fun," he said. 

It's a new adventure for the Leavitt family. His career to date has been successful, even though controversy sullied is tenure as head coach at South Florida. He hopes to one day return to being a head coach and recognizes that turning around Oregon's defense would be a step in the right direction.

That quest begins in the fall. For now, he will take as much time as possible in between recruiting trips to soak in all that the state of Oregon has to offer someone who appreciates the outdoors. 

“I went out golfing and it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been,” he said. “Just the hills, the trees, everything is so green and of course I know about all the rain and it ends up making everything so much more beautiful this time of year.”

It will remain so in the fall. But at that time, Leavitt will be knee-deep in trying to fix something that has been anything but aesthetically pleasing to watch the past two seasons. 

Next up: Part 2 - With big money comes big expectations. 

Payton Pritchard named to 2017 USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team

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Payton Pritchard named to 2017 USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team

USA Basketball Press Release:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Col. -  Six athletes with international experience, including three who helped the USA qualify for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup, were among 12 of the nation's top 19-and-under male basketball players named today to the 2017 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Cup Team.

As the 2013 and 2015 FIBA U19 World Champion, the United States will look for a third-consecutive gold medal at the July 1-9 FIBA U19 World Cup for Men in Cairo, Egypt.

Named to the 2017 USA U19 World Cup Team were: Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky/Queens, NY); Carsen Edwards (Purdue/Atascocita, Texas); Kevin Huerter (Maryland/Clifton Park, N.Y.); Louis King (Hudson Catholic H.S./Columbus, N.J.); Romeo Langford (New Albany H.S./New Albany, Ind.); Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.); Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech/Snellville, Ga.); Payton Pritchard (Oregon/West Linn, Ore.); Immanuel Quickly (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.); Cameron Reddish (Westtown School/Norristown, Pa.); P.J. Washington (Findlay Prep/Las Vegas, Nev.); and Austin Wiley (Auburn/Hoover, Ala.).

University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari is coaching the USA U19 World Cup Team with the assistance of Tad Boyle from the University of Colorado and Danny Manning from Wake Forest University.

"Every player on this team can play different positions and has different abilities," said Calipari. "Whether they're a point guard and a scorer or whether they're wing and a point guard, or a wing and a power player. We only took two true bigs, which is kind of dangerous. But, we decided that if we had to, we could go small and go zone. We could do it offensively and if they didn't have a real big guy, we'd just go, 'P.J., you just guard the guy. We're going to go pick-and-rolls, inside pick-and-rolls and slips and you're going to go play like a three anyway.'

"This is a really hard process. But it wasn't just me selecting these guys, USA Basketball is involved. This was done by committee, and it went back and forth. Everybody was giving opinions. We went to midnight and we still couldn't make the final decision, we had to sleep on it.

"Having to select the first group (finalists) was really hard and we ended up keeping three or four more guys, because we weren't ready to make a decision on those three or four. And then, we had couple of injuries, which ended up moving that number down. But, at the end of the day, there were three players for one spot and we had to choose one. We looked and said, 'okay. Who, if they had to, could help us?' And that's who we went with."

The USA Men's U19 training camp began June 18 with 27 athletes, 18 finalists were named June 20 and the team was selected following seven training sessions, held at the United States Olympic Trai ning Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The team will remain in Colorado Springs and will train through June 25 before departing for Egypt.

Selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee. Athletes eligible for this team must be 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998) and U.S. citizens.

2017 Draft Profile: Oregon forward Jordan Bell

2017 Draft Profile: Oregon forward Jordan Bell

Jordan Bell

Oregon Junior

Age: 22

Height: 6'9"

Weight: 227

Wingspan: 6'11 ¾"

Season Averages: 11.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists  

Fun Fact: Bell is the all-time leading shot-blocker in Oregon basketball history with 221 career blocks.
 

***For even more information on Jordan Bell check out the Draft Profile video above.

Former Oregon Duck Aaron Wise earns PGA Tour card with win at Air Capital Classic

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Former Oregon Duck Aaron Wise earns PGA Tour card with win at Air Capital Classic

It has been a whirlwind of a year for professional golfer Aaron Wise, whose rise to through the pro ranks has been meteoric.

It was just June of last year that Wise won the NCAA Men’s Individual title and helped the University of Oregon win its first ever team championship. Wise became the first player since UCLA’s Kevin Chappell in 2008 to win both the individual and team championships in the same year.

Now he has his sights set on the PGA TOUR.

Wise played some of the best golf of his career for a wire-to-wire win at the 28th annual Air Capital Classic on June 18th.  Wise earned $112,500 for his victory and secured his PGA Tour card for the 2017-18 season.

At 20 years, 11 months, 28 days, Wise is the fourth-youngest winner in tour history. PGA Tour mainstay Jason Day, currently ranked No.4 in the world, set the record in 2007 winning the Legend Financial Group Classic at 19 years, 7 months, and 26 days. Not bad company for Wise.

“It’s a lot of history to go down with and it’s just a really cool feeling,” said Wise, who moved from No. 35 to No. 6 on the money list. “I played great all week so none of that surprises me but it’s great to be in that position.”

From start to finish, Wise had a historic weekend at the Air Capital Classic. He started 62-62, the lowest back-to-back rounds in the history of the Air Capital Classic, tied the second lowest 36-hole score (124) in Tour history, and his final score 21-under 259 was also a tournament record. His wire-to-wire win was also the first since Stephan Jaeger’s win at the Ellie Mae Classic in 2016.

Wise will officially receive his PGA Tour card at this year’s WinCo Foods Portland Open, Aug 21-27 at Pumpkin Ridge.  Tournament director Pat McCabe hopes Duck fans show up to support their former star.

“Congratulations to Aaron on his first win on the Web.com TOUR. It will be fun to have him at the WinCo Foods Portland Open in August. He has been on a tear through the golf world since he won the NCAA Championship as a Duck last year in Eugene. He has a very promising future on the PGA Tour” said McCabe. “Hope to see the U of O community come out and support Aaron as he competes for the top spot on the Web.com Tour and receives his PGA Tour card at Pumpkin Ridge. This is likely the last chance to see him play in the Pacific Northwest.”

For more information on the WinCo Food Portland Open, and to purchase your tickets to see Wise in action, visit wincofoodsportlandopen.com