Junior forward Chimezie Metu squares up to a Cal State Fullerton defender in a game at the Galen Center. Photo by Katie Chin | Daily TrojanBoth senior guard Jordan McLaughlin and junior forward Chimezie Metu took spots on a list of the 50 top candidates for the 2018 John Wooden Award. The list, which was released on Tuesday, was based on a preseason poll of the national NCAA basketball experts who will vote on the award at the end of the season.McLaughlin has been a captain for the Trojans for three years, and he is expected to strongly lead the No. 10 ranked squad this season. He is currently ranked second on the program’s all-time assists list with 457 and is well on track to set the record this year. Last season, McLaughlin averaged 12.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He ranks first in career assists and career steals, second in career points and third in career 3-pointers made among all players returning to the Pac-12 for this season.Metu is an equally vital player for the Trojans, starting all 36 games last season while averaging 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds. He came alive in the final 13 games of the season, spiking to an average of 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds and starring in the Trojans’ postseason run.The Wooden Award recognizes the top player in men’s college basketball every year. Last year’s recipient was Frank Mason III, an All-American guard for the Kansas Jayhawks who also picked up AP Player of the Year, the Naismith Award and the USA Today Player of the Year Award.Polling for this year’s award will continue throughout the season, and players not selected for the preseason list can still make their way into finalist contention. The organization will release a midseason list and late season list before releasing the top 15 players in the National Ballot during postseason play.
In Vancouver, local officials have said emergency responders aren’t currently prepared to deal with a major disaster that may result from the nation’s largest proposed oil-by-rail operation.Tesoro Corp. and Savage Companies want to build an oil transfer terminal at the Port of Vancouver capable of handling an average of 360,000 barrels of crude per day. The so-called Vancouver Energy terminal would move more oil by train than any single facility in the United States.The city this year sought an independent assessment of the region’s readiness for possible oil spills, explosions or other accidents. The state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, now reviewing the Vancouver Energy proposal, ultimately decided to wrap that into an overall environmental assessment of the project.The consultant completing the preparedness review will be Cardno Entrix, an Australia-based company that has done work for Tesoro on other matters.Separately, marine responders have said the $210 million Vancouver Energy facility would require an update of the region’s emergency spill plans on the lower Columbia and Willamette rivers. Responders now plan for a worst-case scenario of 300,000 barrels of oil released into the water; vessels leaving the proposed Vancouver terminal would carry as much as 350,000 barrels of crude at a time.After its review of the proposal, the site evaluation council will make a recommendation to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has final say. The decision could, however, be appealed and wind up in front of the state Supreme Court.