WSU NOTEBOOK: Prince breaks the mold

THE OFFENSIVE NUMBERS of most college baseball players take a serious hit when they enter pro ball. The pitching is better, the travel tougher and the bats are made of wood instead of metal. Washington State coach Donnie Marbut likes to think that Cougar senior Jared Prince can be an exception to the rule.

"My prediction is he's going to go out and he's going to hit," Donnie Marbut said as Jared Prince and several other Cougars wait for their names to be called in the major league draft that began yesterday and runs through Thursday.

"I think he's going to play for a while. He's just going to focus on hitting; that's all he's going to focus on (Prince also pitched in college). He's going to be a solid outfielder.

"I think probably he's going to go (in rounds) 15 to 20. That's my gut. There's going to be a lot of guys drafted ahead of him that don't play as long as he does."

Prince, however, isn't Marbut's pick to be the first Cougar drafted..

MARBUT SAID HE also expects senior pitcher Matt Way, senior catcher Greg Lagreid, senior first baseman-catcher Alex Burg and redshirt junior pitcher Jeremy Johnson to turn pro after being drafted this week.

Marbut said he expects Way, a southpaw, to be the first Coug taken off the board.

"I think Matt will go in the first five rounds," Marbut said.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Chad Arnold is draft eligible and said he'll listen to a pro offer, but Marbut said he expects Arnold to play one more college season.

"I think he's really solidified himself as a potential No. 1 starter in the Pac-10 and an all-star in the Pac-10," Marbut said. "Next year, he'll be a good (high) draft pick."

The top draft pick in WSU history was pitcher Aaron Sele. He went to Boston with the 23rd pick in the first round in 1990. Sele won 148 games in 15 seasons in the major leagues.

No Cougars were taken yesterday on the first day of the draft, as teams slogged their way through three rounds. The only player from the state of Washington selected was high schooler Kyrell Hudson, who had previously signed a letter of intent for baseball at Oregon State, with plans to also play football for the Beavs -- if, that was, he didn't decide to go pro after being drafted. The draft resumes at 9 a.m. today.

Hollywood Hatteberg: Sele's batterymate at WSU, Scott Hatteberg, will play himself when the movie "Moneyball" begins production later this month in Los Angeles.

No doubt the colorful Hatteberg is assuring everyone on the movie set that he'll try not to upstage the star of the film, some fellow named Brad Pitt.

"Moneyball" is based on the book of the same name that focused on the innovative, sabermetric work of Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane during the 2002 season. Hatteberg played for the A's from 2002-05.

"I don't know how you can screw up playing yourself, but I'm afraid I will," Hatteberg told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The movie is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who won an Academy Award for best director for "Traffic."

"I'm a big movie guy," Hatteberg said, "and Soderbergh -- are you kidding me? It doesn't get much better than that."

Fontaine honored: Isaac Fontaine, WSU's all-time leading scorer in basketball, was honored by the City of Sacramento and Mayor Kevin Johnson (the former NBA star) last Friday.

Fontaine, a Sacramento native, was cited for his basketball achievements. He was inducted into the Pac-10 Basketball Hall of Honor in March.

Fontaine is a senior associate at the Reznick Group, a nationally recognized public accounting firm in Sacramento. Fontaine graduated from WSU with a business management degree in 1997 and enjoyed some success in pro basketball, but his NBA career was limited to six games with Memphis in 2001-02.

Mixed signals: Am I the only one who thought it strange that Pac-10 executives and school representatives met over the weekend at the super swanky Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco to focus on ways to save money?

The league voted to reduce travel rosters slightly in four sports, including basketball (down from 15 to 13) and volleyball (15 to 14). Football travel rosters stayed at 64 when a committee recommended a cut to 60 and coaches asked for an increase to 66.

The Pac-10 also will reduce the size of bands at bowl games and the number of non-players/coaches in travel parties.

The league forwarded recommendations to the NCAA to eliminate hotel stays for teams the night before home events (read: home football games), printed media guides, foreign tours and the regional track and field championships.

Witherill to D-II: Freshman guard Nick Witherill, who spent a year of eligibility by playing just 20 minutes in six games with WSU last season under former coach Tony Bennett, is one of five Division I transfers who have signed on with former Arizona basketball coach Russ Pennell at Division II Grand Canyon in Phoenix.

Pennell, who served as Arizona's interim coach last season, coached Witherill's Phoenix AAU summer team.

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