Bone talks Australia trip with CF.C

PULLMAN – What's more important than winning? On the cusp of the Cougs' two week trip to Australia, head man Ken Bone answers that question and a few more. Bone offers his assessment on some of the young talent entering the program such as Richard Longrus and Brett Boese, the recruiting benefits of playing in Australia plus Que Johnson's status and if he too will be making the trip Down Under.

Ken Bone and the Cougar basketball team will be traveling to Australia for two weeks to take on some formidable opposition. For Bone though, winning isn't the primary goal of the trip.

"I don't really know what we have," Bone told CF.C this week. "I think this is an excellent opportunity to see what we have, and to form some real camaraderie as a squad."

While most players will be making the trip, a few are ineligible to travel due to NCAA regulations. Iowa State transfer and big man Jordan Railey is unable to play due to NCAA transfer rules. Highly touted incoming freshman Demarquise Johnson also won't make the trip.

Bone said he's still awaiting confirmation from the NCAA Clearinghouse on Johnson's eligibility. Bone said he expects a decision soon with classes and fall semester coming up fast, (Monday, August 20 is the first day of classes at WSU.)

WITH SEVERAL NEW faces coming into the program this fall, starting the process of matching players with the right roles will begin on this trip. With the team having had only a brief time together, players and staff aren't completely sure what to expect.

But Bone was nevertheless emphatic that WSU has brought in some gems.

"I tell you what, Brett Boese () and Richard Longrus () are two phenomenal young players," Bone said. "Not only are they solid on the court, but both of them are stars in the classroom."

Bone said he plans on getting a lot of the young players extensive playing time while in Australia, as well as former Kansas transfer Royce Woolridge.

"We have got some really, really good young talent now," Bone said. "Especially with this class coming in, it's going to be exciting to watch. I'm not exactly sure what we have to offer just yet, but I can tell you we have a lot of guys that are ready to compete and win some ball games."

WITH THREE PLAYERS on the roster from Australia, Bone sees this trip as an excellent opportunity for a few Cougs to play in front of friends and family. Senior forward Brock Motum and sophomore guard Dexter Kernich-Drew are both from Canberra. Newly signed sophomore big-man James Hunter is from Sydney.

"I'm really excited for these guys to get the opportunity to show off for their country," Bone said. "Their families don't get to see them play too much, so it'll be a great time. Plus Coach (Ben) Johnson's wife is from Australia, so that'll also be nice."

The trip, which will last from August 3-16, will encompass Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Every stop will be highlighted by an exhibition game with a professional ball club from the area.

WHILE THE PRIMARY purpose of the trip is to allow the players to play ball together and gain some chemistry, Bone also plans on using the trip as a recruiting tool.

"We've developed quite a pipeline down there," Bone said. "These kids can't come up and see us, so being able to showcase the team in front of the locals will be a big deal. They've seen the success over the years we've had with Aussies, especially with Aron Baynes now in the Olympics and Brock showing the kind of success he is. A lot of prospects down there follow WSU closely."

WSU starts their official practices for the upcoming season in mid-September.

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