Seen & Heard on Planet Coug 7/31

PAID SEASON TICKETS (full and three-game plans) are down to 7,600 for the 2010 football season, according to Jessica Young, athletics ticket manager at Washington State. That number, which is down from slightly more than 9,000 last year, excludes trade-outs and other exchanges that bump the grand total higher.

Young said a recent push with video e-mails, phone calls and brochures has "sparked some interest" and brought several former season ticket holders back into the fold. Overall, Young estimates the Cougars have gained approximately 100 new accounts (most with more than one season ticket) and lost about 400 accounts from last year.

WSU also is expecting to sell more than 10,000 all-sports student season passes.

THE START OF FOOTBALL practice is still a week away, but longtime college sports writer Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News has already come out with his predictions for the final standings and individual honors in Pac-10 men's basketball. Wilner has the Cougars finishing in fourth place AND predicts Klay Thompson will repeat as a first-team all-conference player. Wilner likes DeAngelo Casto as the Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team all-conference pick. He sees the Huskies repeating as league champs.

Elsewhere on the hoops front, former Cougar basketball star Kyle Weaver was waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder. If they had kept him past Sunday they would be obligated to pay the athletic guard almost $1 million for the 2010-11 NBA season. Injuries helped limit Weaver, a part-time starter as a rookie in 2008-09, to 12 games and three points per game last season. Yahoo! Sports said Maccabi of Israel – the same club that just signed Weaver's old Cougar teammate Derrick Low -- has already offered Weaver a contract.

AT THE PAC-10 FOOTBALL Media Day in Pasadena on Thursday, Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson brought along Thomas Weber as the Sun Devils' player representative. He's a placekicker -- a position rarely found at Pac-10 Media Day. In fact, the last time a coach brought a placekicker to these proceedings was in 1991 when WSU coach Mike Price tabbed Jason Hanson. As fate would have it, Erickson was the Cougar coach who brought Hanson to WSU as a walk on in 1988.

Speaking of Erickson, Bill Moos' son Bo -- a junior defensive tackle at Arizona State –- looks to contend for a starting job with the Sun Devils this season.

Todd Milles of the News Tribune in Tacoma wrote an interesting story about the whirlwind tour Pac-10 football coaches have been on -- together -- this week, barnstorming New York and then coming back West for media day at the Rose Bowl. Milles quotes WSU's Paul Wulff as saying, "All the head coaches, you find out they're pretty good guys when you think they're not. We had some bonding time there." The guess here is that Wulff may have been referring to OSU's Mike Riley and Cal's Jeff Tedford, each of whom has gratuitously run up the score on the Cougs during Wulff's rebuild.

REMEMBER KEAUNTEA BANKHEAD, the former Parade All-American from Ballard High who signed with Washington and then with Washington State? Academic hurdles precluded his enrollment at WSU after his stint at Arizona Western JC but he's still playing ball. Bankhead will be a senior this season at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah. He's now a 255-pound linebacker who earned all-league honors last season and is a pre-season Division II All-American who may get a shot at the NFL.

OUR MUSINGS THE OTHER DAY about how rare it is when WSU has two scholarship QBs from California on the roster at the same time -- which will happen next season with Jeff Tuel and Cody Clements -- went back to 1970. Now long-time CF.C message board poster Oregon Coug takes us back to 1963 when two of his old teammates at WSU were California QBs -- senior starter Dave Mathieson and up-and-coming Cardiac Coug Tom Roth.

THE COUGS WILL OPEN FALL CAMP on August 8. They'll be in helmets only for the first two days and then shoulder pads and helmets for three days before going to full pads. Aug. 13 will mark the first of five two-a-days, with the entire team practicing at both 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

TURNING TO COUGAR BASEBALL, head coach Donnie Marbut's long-sought quest for a state-of-the-art scoreboard at Bailey-Brayton Field is now a realty. A new board with all the proverbial bells and whistles was installed this week, replacing the old hand-turned board.

Marbut, who is expected to sign a new contract with WSU any day now, has scheduled the annual baseball player's alumni weekend for Sept. 10-11, the same weekend the Cougar footballers play Montana State. Things will kick off Friday morning with a golf tournament at Palouse Ridge; WSU alums and friends are invited. Every foursome will include one baseball alum who was selected as one of "Brayton's Best" from the coach's long tenure at the helm. That list includes the likes of John Olerud and Ron Cey. For more information, contact Gregg Swenson at 509-335-0216 or GRSWENSON@WSU.EDU

On the recruiting front, Marbut may have lost a pitcher who would instantly have been one of the Pac-10's top starters in 2011. That's right, Cougar junior ace Chad Arnold could be close to signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who drafted him last month, Baseball America reports.

As for Cougar baseballers who already are in the pro ranks, second-year professional Jared Prince, an All-Pac-10 baseball player at Washington State a year ago, is riding a 16-game hitting streak with the Hickory (N.C.) Crawdads of the Class A South Atlantic League. The right fielder, a Texas Rangers farmhand, is batting .304 with eight home runs and 61 RBIs in 87 games. Former WSU pitcher Jayson Miller, released earlier this season by the Los Angeles Angels, signed with New Jersey in the independent Atlantic League. Miller had recently been let go by Sioux City (Iowa) in the independent American Association. Ex-Cougar first baseman Jesse Hoorelbeke continues to lead the independent Northern League in homers with 20 for Fargo-Moorhead (N.D.).

WSU junior infielder Tommy Richards is playing this summer in a wood-bat collegiate league. He leads the West Coast League in hitting (.376) and RBIs (32 in 37 games). He's playing for his hometown Bend (Ore.) Elks.

QUICKS HITS: The new general manager of the Portland Trailblazers is 1989 WSU graduate Rich Cho … Former WSU student Billy Mitchell, the son of CF.C associate editor Pat Mitchell, is competing for a starting nod at safety this season at Diablo Valley College … Former WSU defensive end Adam Braidwood is back in the CFL after a two-year haitus rehabbing a knee and trying his hand at boxing .... Filming of the movie Moneyball was underway this week in Oakland and one of the key scenes being shot was actor Chris Pratt's reenactment of WSU great Scott Hatteberg's ninth-inning pinch-hit home run on Sept. 4, 2002 that helped propel the A's to the playoffs that season. The star of the movie is Brad Pitt, who plays Oakland GM Billy Beane.

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