Seen & Heard on Planet Coug

BASEBALL AMERICA, the bible of the sport, is projecting that Washington State's first-team All-Pac-12 duo of Taylor Ard and Derek Jones will be taken within four picks of each other during this week's Major League draft, which begins late today with the first round and then continues Tuesday and Wednesday with the other 39 rounds.

Baseball America's latest mock draft has Ard going No. 270 overall and Jones at No. 274. That would put them considerably higher than they were taken a year ago. Jones, a senior outfielder who this season became WSU's all-time home run leader, was drafted in the 13th round last year by the Orioles (No. 395 overall), and Ard, a junior first baseman who led the Pac-12 in total bases this season, went in the 25th round to the Red Sox (No. 772 overall). While Ard has the option of returning to WSU next season, head coach Donnie Marbut told CF.C last week that the big hitter is definitely moving to the next level this summer.

Mitchell Gueller, an outfielder/pitcher who is part of WSU's incoming recruiting class, is forecast by Baseball America to be drafted in the second round. He hails from W.F. West High in Chehalis, Wash.

AT THE ANNUAL TRI-CITIES COUGAR tailgater event in Pasco on Friday, Marbut announced that his team's three-game home series against Washington next season is going to be played at Gesa Stadium in Pasco. "We want to take the team where we're appreciated, and there's nowhere we're more appreciated than Tri-Cities," he was quoted as saying in the Tri-City Herald.

His point is well taken. And not just because the community has turned out well for one-game stints the Cougs have brought to Gesa. Marbut's roster next year will feature five players from the Tri-Cities. They are returning pitchers (and twin brothers) Bryce and Ty Jackson, and outfielder Brett Jacobs, plus newcomers Matt Mendenhall of Southridge High and Trek Stemp of Kennewick High.

Marbut, by the way, plans to move Jacobs from the outfield to first base next year to replace Ard. Jacobs, from a Richland, hit .340 and collected 22 RBIs as a freshman two years ago before a thumb injury slowed his sophomore year and then forced him to reshirt the just-concluded season.

THE SAD NEWS LAST WEEK THAT Cougar shooting guard Royce Woolridge's father Orlando passed away from a heart condition was a stark reminder that every day is to be savored. Royce's dad was only 52. For the younger readers on these pages, the name Orlando Woolridge may not mean much. For those a little longer in the tooth, Orlando Woolridge was a high flying dunk king who lit up the TV screen during a star-studded career at Notre Dame and then for 13 seasons in the NBA. He was teammates with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas. He was 6-9, athletic, energetic and, by all accounts from those who knew him best, a great guy off the court. Rest in peace, Orlando.

A HOOPS PROSPECT THAT KEN BONE would like to see feeding the ball to Royce Woolridge the season after next is point guard London Perrantes, a senior-to-be at Crespi Carmelmite High in Encino, Calif. In a recent interview with Josh Gershon of Scout.com, Perrantes said WSU is one of three schools -- the others are USC and USF -- recruiting him the hardest. Now here's the good part: When asked about WSU he said "... I've talked to coach (Curtis) Allen and coach (Ken) Bone. I can call them whenever and are pretty good dudes."

Being called a "pretty good dude" by a high school kid has got to put a skip the step of any coach. Alas, Perrantes says he likes the idea of going east for college. Besides WSU, USC and USF, he has offers right now from Arizona State, Pepperdine, St. Mary's and ... Boston College. Damn, for a moment there it looked like Pullman was going to the be eastern-most school on the list.

COUGAR GREAT STEVE GLEASON spoke in New York last Thursday at the United Nations' social innovation summit. Steve, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's (or ALS) disease 18 months ago, was there to advocate for technology investments to help those suffering from ALS.

"To cure ALS medically is not economical," he said. "The realities are that it's difficult to find funding for research for a medical cure. I believe in developing technology as opposed to medical research. Technology can be economical."

His Team Gleason Foundation was one of 10 non-profit organizations to receive a $25,000 grant at the three-day event. To learn more about Steve's battle and what he's trying to do help those with ALS, click to Team Gleason.

IN THE LOOK-WHAT-I-STUMBLED-across department comes this little nugget from a story last fall on Scout.com's Stanford website, theBootleg.com. When David DeCastro, Stanford's All-American offensive lineman from Bellevue (and a recent first-round draft pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers) was asked in late October to name the toughest player he'd gone one-on-one with so far, his answer was Washington State defensive tackle Anthony Laurenzi.

By the way, in case you missed it, Anthony is writing a weekly diary for Cougfan.com this summer, as is fellow senior Andrei Lintz. Their first installments appeared late last week. The two are continuing a proud CF.C tradition of summer diaries that began nine years ago with Scott Davis and Cody Boyd and has continued each summer since with stellar work from the likes of Michael Bumpus, Mkristo Bruce, Charles Harris, Cole Morgan, Mike Graise, Dan Rowlands, Gary Rogers, Kevin Kooyman, Kenny Alfred, Marshall Lobbestael and Tyree Toomer.

BELATED CONGRATULATIONS TO former Cougar football and baseball player Cameron Mitchell, the Pride of Richland High who had the distinction of playing for both Jim Walden and Bobo Brayton at WSU. Earlier this year he was presented with the Tri-Cities' Martin Luther King Spirit Award. Mitchell, 53, is the highly respected presiding superior court judge in Benton and Franklin counties.

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