Cougar Notebook: It's about We, not Me

PULLMAN -- The Washington State Cougars met with the media Tuesday as they continue preparations for the NCAA baseball tournament, and coach Donnie Marbut seemed happy to educate out-of-town media on life in Pullman and the impact his team's post-season run has made in the Palouse.

"A lot of people don't understand Pullman or they don't understand Washington State University," Donnie Marbut said. "But when you do something like we're doing over here, you're not doing it for yourself. You're doing it for your school, you're doing it for your players, you're doing it for this community.

"There's something about being a Coug. I know this team and our coaching staff, we share it (going to the NCAA tournament) with everybody. It's not an individual thing. You're always doing something for somebody else in Pullman.

That's kind of how we live our life as our team. We have a motto, ‘It's about ‘We' and it's not about ‘Me'.' I really like that about our club. I love the way we're playing. I love this team. Our focus is hopefully on playing a lot more baseball."

To help keep the Cougs coming back to the post-season, WSU is encouraging alums and supporters to donate TO the Athletic Director's Fund for Baseball Excellence. Click HERE to contribute.

POPULAR FELLOW: WSU assistant basketball coach Ben Johnson said center Aron Baynes has "10 to 12" tryouts lined up with NBA teams at last word. Johnson said the 6-foot-10 Australian is a lock to wind up with a pro team at some level next season. Baynes is not listed by nbadraft.NET as one of the 60 players who will be selected in the NBA draft, which will be held June 25.

Ex-Cougar Josh Akognon (a guard out of Cal State Fullerton) is projected by to be drafted 59th, just ahead of Washington post Jon Brockman.

GIBSON FEATURED: ran a piece on recently graduated Cougar wide receiver Brandon Gibson, the Philadelphia Eagles' sixth-round draft pick. Gibson always gave props to highly respected receivers coach Mike Levenseller when the two worked together in Pullman, and nothing has changed now that Gibson has turned pro.

"I understand concepts really well," Gibson told "He really prepared me for all this stuff -- verbiage and all this stuff. I'm not coming in being shocked or anything. "Thanks to him, I'm all right. I'll be OK."

WHERE'S THE LOYALTY: Carolina Panthers defensive end Tyler Brayton, the grandson of legendary Cougar baseball coach Bobo Brayton, threw out the ceremonial first pitch Saturday in the second game of the Cougars' three-game sweep of Washington. Tyler, who attended Pasco High, often served as a Cougar batboy as a child.

Grandpa says he's still trying to figure out why Tyler chose Colorado over Wazzu. "I was pretty shook up," Bobo deadpanned, "but I've outgrown it."

HOOPS ALUMNI REPORT: Ivory Clark scored a season-high 19 points on 9-for-10 shooting in his final game, but the former Cougar's team was eliminated in the first round of the league playoffs in Hungary. Clark averaged 9.8 points and 7.0 rebounds and shot a team-high 66.9 percent from the field in Hungary's No. 1 pro league.

Derrick Low's team failed to qualify for the playoffs in France's top pro league. Low, playing point guard, averaged 9.8 points, 2.6 assists and 0.6 steals in his first year out of WSU. He averaged 19.3 points in Australia before heading to France after the Sydney Spirit ran into financial trouble.

Reports out of Europe can be sketchy, but former Cougar Thomas Kelati's team has advanced to the second round of the playoffs in Spain's top pro league after previous reports indicated Kelati's season ended earlier. Kelati leads Unicaja Malaga with 11.8 points per game.

NEW TRADITION: June Daugherty, the Energizer bunny disguised as the WSU women's basketball coach, started an annual tradition when she had the team's four graduating seniors sign a wall in the team's practice locker room in Bohler Gym the day prior to commencement. Family and teammates were on hand for the event.

"It was a wonderful celebration," Daugherty said. "Our thinking is, they created a great tradition here, they've had a wonderful career, they've started a phenomenal legacy."

The coach may be going a bit overboard -- the Cougars have endured 13 consecutive losing seasons -- but Daugherty said she is grateful for the "great senior leadership" of Katie Appleton, Ebonee Coates, Heather Molzen and injured Brynn Bemis. They teamed up with a promising group of freshmen to produce the Cougars' best season in years.

"We wanted to make sure that every day we walk into that locker room we're reminded who got us going," Daughterty said. "It's important that we work hard for them."

For the record, Daugherty publicly thanked school president Elson Floyd for the 6,494th time -- give or take a few thousand -- for approving funds last year for her team's new practice gym and locker rooms.

HEIDEMAN HIRED: Mike Heideman, who lost his job as WSU's director of men's basketball operations when Tony Bennett left for Virginia, has been named athletic director at St. Mary Central High School in his hometown of Appleton, Wis. Heideman was a losing finalist for the head coaching job at NCAA Division II University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. In 1995, Heideman replaced ex-Cougar coach Dick Bennett as coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay when Bennett left to take over the Wisconsin Badgers. Another Bennett assistant at WSU, Matt Woodley, also headed home recently. He's now the head coach at Waukee High in Iowa.

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