WHO STACKS UP as the most vital player on the WSU football team in 2013?, running a series of articles on the "most important player" (excluding quarterbacks) on each Pac-12 team, tabbed senior safety Deone Bucannon for the Cougars.

Bucannon led Washington State with 106 tackles and four interceptions last season. Both figures ranked fifth in the Pac-12.

NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN left Bucannon off his list of the top 10 safety prospects for the 2014 draft. No Cougars made any of Kiper's top 10 position lists, though WSU senior Andrew Furney may have earned mention if Kiper had rated kickers.

Whitman County prosecutor Denis Tracy said he is waiting for Pullman Police to complete reports before he will decide whether the case is strong enough to take WSU running back Teondray Caldwell to court.

Caldwell was arrested but has yet to be charged with assault and burglary in connection with a recent alleged incident in Pullman. Caldwell is WSU's top returning rusher and ranked third in the Pac-12 in kickoff returns as a true freshman last year.

Washington State struggled on the field but thrived at the turnstiles during a weekend baseball series in Pasco.

WSU lost all three games with the Washington Huskies, but the Cougars drew three of their four largest "home" crowds of the season. The Cougars elected to move their final four home games to Pasco, including a nonconference contest with Portland on Monday afternoon, because the WSU campus is largely deserted with classes out.

"I've said this numerous times before and I'll say it again: I think some of the finest, if not the finest Cougs around are right in the Tri-Cities," WSU coach Donnie Marbut said.

"I know a lot of those folks drive up (to Pullman) and watch our basketball teams and our football team. Hopefully, we can turn into the type of baseball program, they'll also come to watch us play baseball in the spring."

The Pasco crowds numbered 2,739, 2,338 and 2,007, respectively. The Cougars played one game in Pasco each of the previous two seasons, drawing 2,667 last year and a sellout of 3,714 in 2011.

"They're unbelievable, great fans … we want our kids to play in those types of environments," Marbut said.

WSU averaged 671 in Pullman this year. That's the best showing at Bailey-Brayton Field since the 2010 NCAA regionals qualifying team averaged 913. The biggest crowd in Pullman this year was 2,024 on March 30, when John Olerud's uniform number was retired.

The Cougars continued to play lackluster defense in Pasco. They're last in the Pac-12 with 81 errors, 27 more than opponents made against the Cougars.

"Our lack of focus and concentration on the defensive end is just poor," Marbut said.

A weak preconference schedule helped WSU rank among the nation's top hitting teams earlier this season. The offense dropped off with the loss of third baseman Nick Tanielu (.409), a redshirt freshman who was leading the Pac-12 Conference in hitting. Tanielu's midseason knee injury eventually required surgery.

The Cougars (21-30, 8-19 Pac-12) have lost six in a row and 10 of 11. They wrap up the season with a three-game series this weekend at fourth-ranked Oregon State (21-30, 8-19).

The first-place Beavers need one win to clinch at least a share of the Pac-12 title. The 10th-place Cougars are two games ahead of the last-place Utah Utes, who finish up this weekend at No. 10 Oregon.

Katie Dick, who rows on the varsity eight for the 17th-ranked WSU crew team, is the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women's rowing.

Dick is the WSU Philosophy Department Senior Student of the Year. The Victoria, British Columbia, native graduated with a 3.98 grade point average.

Andjela Kankaras, a senior from Montenegro, won the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship and the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award. Both honors are for women's college tennis players in the Pacific Northwest.

Kankaras, who finished her career tied for fifth in WSU history with 87 singles victories, is the first Cougar to win both awards .

"Andjela is a great example of the student-athlete we aspire to mentor in our program and athletic department," coach Lisa Hart said. Kankaras also won two honors for WSU seniors. She picked up the Beulah Blankenship Outstanding Student-Athlete Award and the Senior Excellence in Academics award. She graduated this month with a degree in hospitality business management.

Kankaras is one of eight foreigners on WSU's nine-player roster. Europeans play a major role on many NCAA Division I tennis teams, and the overseas recruiting success of WSU's Eka Burduli – a former Cougars standout from Tel Aviv, Israel – Burduli earn the Northwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year award in Division I women's tennis.

"This award is a reflection of Eka's tireless efforts and commitment to the program," Hart said.

Former Cougar hoopster Thomas Kelati, a veteran of the European pro basketball wars, is headed to the Spanish league playoffs after a solid regular season with fourth-seeded Valencia (22-12).

Kelati averaged 11.3 points (third on the team), 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists. The swingman led Valencia with 91.9 percent free-throw shooting and finished second on the team with 41.5 percent shooting on 3-pointers.

Kelati, a Walla Walla native who married a Polish woman after playing in Poland, is again listed on that country's national team roster.

WSU's Jason Monda is one of 11 players on the latest watch list for the annual John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year award in college baseball.

Monda, a junior outfielder, first baseman and pitcher from Olympia, is batting .296 with six home runs and 37 RBIs. On the mound, Monda has compiled a 2-2 record with a 1.16 earned run average (primarily in relief) in his first season as a college pitcher.

Former WSU baseball star Adam Conley, ranked the No. 10 major league prospect in the Miami Marlins farm system by, has won his last three starts in the Class AA Southern League.

Conley is 3-1 with a 4.62 ERA in eight games (all starts). He's struck out 33, walked 10 and allowed only 32 hits in 37 innings with the Jacksonville (Fla.) Sun.

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