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THE MORNING PAPER: Baseball gets first class treatment

Before we get to the links, just a little housekeeping note. The widget down the lefthand side called "Cougar Links" now has all you need, resource-wise, for the regional. That "Norman Regional Central" is where you'll find the live video links for Friday and beyond.

On to the stories. A lot of this is from yesterday, but I seem to be about a day behind in just about everything these days. Here's the best of what's around, most of it baseball related ... but not all of it.

One of the coolest things I've run across is the launching of the athletic department's regional baseball blog, which will be written by associate head coach Travis Jewett. There's only one entry in there so far, but it was kind of cool. Apparently, charter flights aren't limited to the basketball team:

We had a charter flight from Pullman to Oklahoma City. We were spoiled during the entire trip. Our student-athletes were wide-eyed about the luxury accommodations and I was very happy to see them treated like big leaguers. They have certainly worked hard and deserved this experience.

Each seat was first class style, those of you who have had that opportunity know what I am talking about. There were tables set up in the back for card games and the four flight attendants made sure we had drinks and snacks at all times. Halfway through the flight, there were freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

It was a great experience. Our bus pulled up right next to the plane, our bags were loaded and unloaded for us both in Pullman and Oklahoma City and the entire trip was smooth and done in less than four hours.

I love it. The team deserves to feel like a million bucks right about now, and it's little things like this that really stick with a team -- and recruits. Good on the athletic department for going first class on this one. has been going buck wild on the baseball coverage the last couple of weeks courtesy of freelancer Howie Stalwick, who has cranked out some nice stuff. Some of it is premium, but a couple of stories are available for free -- one where legendary coach Bobo Brayton picks his all-time WSU baseball team, and another where Stalwick examines reasons to be both excited and nervous for Friday.

On to basketball, which just won't slip out of our consciousness. It's been rumored for a week or two, and the program confirmed yesterday that Klay Thompson will be trying out for the U.S. under 19 team. No shock there, given his skill and cerebral approach to the game. The surprise, though, is that DeAngelo Casto also will be trying out for the team.

The Cougs, believe it or not, were the only team in the country to have two players invited to the camp, which will run from June 16-18 in Colorado Springs. There are 17 players trying out and they'll trim the roster to 12 at the end of the camp. I'd be really surprised if Klay isn't selected, given that his shooting ability seems perfectly suited for the international game, but I'd say Casto is anything but a shoo-in. I suppose it depends on how much the coaching staff likes his energy and whether they feel they have another legitimate shot blocking presence.

A couple of football notes to finish off. First, the Cougs picked up another commitment, this one from Torrence, Calif., cornerback Matt Simmons. Simmons is the son of former WSU cornerback Randal Simmons, who was killed in the line of duty a little over a year ago as a member of the LAPD SWAT team. Second, Jim Moore weighs in on the latest twist in the Ryan Leaf saga. I think he reflects what a lot of us are feeling right now.

That's about it for a Thursday morning. We'll be back later with more.