WSU Notebook: Leaf, hoops tryouts, baseball

THE LAWYER representing Ryan Leaf says the former Cougar football star "is doing really good" and preparing to return to Canyon, Texas, this week to post a $15,000 bond on drug and burglary charges.

Bill Kelly said Monday he expects Leaf to avoid jail time as a first-time offender. Kelly said Leaf completed treatment for addiction to pain pills at a rehab center and has been working in Canada in a city and at a job Kelly said Leaf has not disclosed to him.

"He's a good kid," Kelly said. "Before I met him, I'd heard all the (negative) stories about him, but he's a good person. He was very polite, very professional."

Leaf resigned as quarterbacks coach and men's golf coach at NCAA Division II West Texas A&M last November. Shortly before he resigned, Canyon police allege that Leaf broke into an injured West Texas football player's apartment to steal the pain killer Hydrocodone.

-- Tryouts begin: Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto, two of Washington State's top basketball players as freshmen last season, have reported to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., to try out for the national under-19 team.

Twelve of the 17 players trying out Tuesday through Thursday will be selected to represent the U.S. at the U19 World Championship July 2-12 in Auckland, New Zealand.

-- Player watch: Assistant sports information director Craig Lawson, the man of a thousand facts and figures when it comes to Washington State baseball, is working hard to keep fans up to date with Cougars in pro and summer college leagues.

Lawson maintains a complete list of Cougars now in the pros and current Cougars in summer leagues. He also provides weekly updates on players.

Current Cougars are scattered all over the country in summer leagues. Shortstop Shea Vucinich landed with Wareham (Mass.) in the prestigious Cape Cod League.

Garry Kuykendall and Michael Rattigan are playing together in Kenai, Alaska. Chad Arnold and Derek Jones wound up in Newport, R.I. Matt Fanelli and Connor Lambert are toiling for the St. Cloud (Minn.) River Bats.

Many WSU players stayed in the Northwest to play in the West Coast League. The list includes Seth Harvey, Garret DeRooy and Patrick Claussen in Bellingham, Kyle Johnson and Paris Shewey in Wenatchee, Tommy Richards, Spencer Jackson, Riley Tubbs and Kyle Buchanan in Bend, Jay Ponciano and John Desmarais in Corvallis and David Olson and Ross Humes in Bremerton (Kitsap).

Ten former Cougars are currently playing in the pros, excluding the recent draft class. The list includes everyone from Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mark Hendrickson, the lone ex-Coug in the majors, to players in independent leagues (not affiliated with major league clubs) like Jesse Hoorelbeke.

Hoorelbeke played just one season for WSU in 1997, then blossomed into a minor league power hitter of note after starring at (junior) College of Southern Idaho and Louisiana-Monroe. Hoorelbeke made it to Triple-A in 2006, but he's now in his third season with the Bridgeport (Conn.) Bluefish in the Atlantic League. Last season, he hit 28 home runs and led the league with 106 RBIs.

Hoorelbeke's father, Peter (whose stage name was Peter Rivera), was the lead singer and drummer of Rare Earth, a popular rock band in the 1970's. Rare Earth's hits included "Get Ready" and "I Just Want to Celebrate." One of Hoorelbeke's teammates in Bridgeport is younger brother Casey, who played at Lewis-Clark State.

-- Robertson rests: Ageless Bob Robertson, the longtime radio voice of WSU football, is giving up his summer play-by-play duties with the Spokane Indians baseball team at least temporarily to stay at home with his ailing wife, Joanne.

"Bob Robertson will always have a lifetime contract with the Spokane Indians," said Otto Klein, senior vice president of the Northwest League club.

-- Prince nearby: Jared Prince, who just completed his senior season with the Cougars, said Monday the Texas Rangers have told him he will make his pro debut with Spokane.

Prince, the Rangers' 34th-round draft pick, said he may sign his contract as soon as this evening over dinner with a Texas scout.

"They're paying for it, so we're going to a nice place," Prince joked. "We're not going to Dairy Queen, that's for sure."

The Indians play in the short-season Class A Northwest League.

-- Recruiting winners: WSU baseball coach Donnie Marbut likes to recruit winners, players who have already proven they have what it takes to win championships.

Marbut is delighted that WSU's latest crop of high school recruits includes shortstop Brett Jacobs from Washington Class 4A champion Richland, pitcher Travis Cook from Washington 2A champion Cedarcrest and catcher Josh Leyland from California Southern Section Division IV champion San Dimas.

Marbut gave a sigh of relief when Cook, whose fastball hits the low 90's, was not drafted last week. However, the power-hitting Leyland was taken by Oakland in the 16th round.

The other drafted Cougar recruit, pitcher-first baseman James Robbins of Shorecrest High, blasted a three-run homer in the All-State Baseball Series. Washington's top seniors played four games over the weekend in Yakima.

Robbins was drafted as a pitcher in the 30th round by the Detroit Tigers, as some watchful posters on the CF.C message boards pointed out this past week.

Cook threw three innings of shutout ball in his one appearance in Yakima, and Jacobs hit a two-run homer and a single in one game. Another incoming recruit, South Kitsap's Brad Steiger, had a triple and four singles in two games. Cougar football recruit Casey Locker from Ferndale banged out a pair of singles in one game.

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