Cougar Notebook: Apple Cup odds already?

NEVADA'S GOLDEN Nugget casino is providing Cougar fans with an early opportunity to put their money where there heart is when it comes to the Apple Cup. WSU's Nov. 28 showdown at Husky Stadium is one of 130 college football games already up for wagering at the Golden Nugget. The Cougars will be gunning for a record third straight win over the Dawgs -- and fifth in the last six years.

The Cougs are 11-point underdogs in the Nugget's early wagering. Virtually all published preseason predictions have the Huskies tabbed for ninth and WSU 10th in the Pac-10.

Speaking of the Cougs and Dawgs, ESPN.com's Pat Forde last week came out with his list of the top football rivalries in the nation and ranked the Apple Cup No. 8. He took special note of the spirited grassroots effort by crimson partisans to help block the UW's $150 million proposal to have taxpayers fund half of the most lavish stadium project in NCAA history.

ADAM NELUBOWICH, who just signed a baseball letter of intent with Washington State, doubled in the winning run in the ninth inning Sunday to lift Canada's junior national team to a 5-3 win over Cuba in Havana.

Nelubovich is a 6-foot-2, 175-pound third baseman-outfielder from Stoney Plain, Alberta. He played for ex-Cougar Les McTavish at the Vauxhall (Alta.) Baseball Academy and was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 14th round last month.

"I think he's just scratching the surface," Cougar coach Donnie Marbut said.

Marbut said Nelubovich is a 4.0 student whom he expects to turn down the Mariners to attend college. Marbut said he's similarly confident the Washington Huskies won't be looking at his staff for a replacement for fired Husky coach Ken Knutson, though he says the Huskies "would be wise" to consider Cougar (and former UW) assistant coaches Travis Jewett and Gregg Swenson. Marbut has long been generous in praise of both his full-time assistants.

CHAD ARNOLD, THE leading candidate to replace Matt Way as Washington State's No. 1 starting pitcher next season, was named to the New England Collegiate Baseball League All-Stars.

The All-Stars lost 4-1 Sunday to Team USA in Manchester, N.H. Arnold did not pitch after starting Saturday for his NECBL team, the Newport (R.I.) Gulls.

Arnold is 0-1 with a 3.12 earned run average after three starts with the Gulls. He's struck out 27, walked 10 and allowed just 11 hits in 17 1/3 innings, but he's tied for the league lead with five wild pitches.

Outfielder Derek Jones, who led WSU with 12 homers as a freshman this year, is batting .250 with one homer and three RBIs in seven games with Newport. He joined the Gulls late after finishing summer school.

Back to Matt Way for a moment. Last night he gave up one hit in six innings on the mound to earn his first professional win for the Williamsport Crosscutters, a Single-A farm club of the Phillies. In three pro starts this summer, Way has a 0.64 ERA.

THE LONG-STRUGGLING Washington State women's basketball program has shown ever-increasing signs of life since June Daugherty took over as coach two years ago, and now the Cougar ladies have produced one of their few pro players.

Heather Molzen, a post player the past four seasons at WSU, has signed with the Lemvig Basket in Denmark's top pro league.

The 6-foot-3 Molzen, a native of Lakeside, Calif., averaged 6.6 points and a team-high 6.0 rebounds last season. Her scoring average would have been higher if not for her struggles at the free-throw line -- 22 of 53 for 41.5 percent.

The Cougars have yet to produce a WNBA player. However, Shelley Patterson (second in career steals) is an assistant coach on the Seattle Storm, and Jenni Ruff (second in career scoring) played in the old American Basketball League.

IT WASN'T SO LONG ago when in-state players were few and far between on the WSU men's basketball team, and virtually no players from the Seattle or Spokane areas were on the roster.

Dick and Tony Bennett brought change once they came to Pullman, and Ken Bone and his staff are continuing the process.

Last week's addition of power forward Steven Bjornstad from Vancouver's Columbia River High School gives the Cougars seven Washingtonians on the roster.

Bjornstad joins DeAngelo Casto (Ferris-Spokane), Charlie Engquist (Kings-Edmonds), walk-on guards John Allen (Mountlake Terrace) and Ben Loewen (Mead-Spokane) and incoming freshmen Anthony Brown (Shadle Park-Spokane) and Reggie Moore (Rainier Beach-Seattle).

WHILE CASTO AND WSU teammate Klay Thompson do their thing at the Under-19 World Championships in New Zealand, Thompson's brother is debating whether to sign with the Chicago White Sox or accept a baseball scholarship at UCLA.

Trayce Thompson is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound outfielder who went to Chicago in the second round (61st overall) last month and is expected to turn pro.

The Cougars received some rare off-season national press in recent days. Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn conducted a question-and-answer session with Klay Thompson at (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/luke_winn/07/01/klay.thompson/index.html?eref=T1) .

UNTIL A TOUGHER OUTING MONDAY, former Cougar baseballer Jayson Miller was baffling hitters this season with his slow, slower and slowest pitches.

Entering the weekend, the little lefty from Yakima was 4-4 with a 4.30 ERA for the Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Quakes in the Class A California League.

Last season, Miller made the national short-season all-star team as a pro rookie when he went 8-2 with a 2.33 ERA at Orem (Utah) in the Rookie-class Pioneer League.


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