Que focuses on school, still waiting on NCAA

QUE JOHNSON loves the game of basketball -- the waiting game, maybe not so much. But in the case of the NCAA Eligibility Center (formerly the Clearinghouse) making the decision on his eligibility for the 2012-13 season, Johnson is prepared to wait as long as needed. He arrived in Pullman last week and is focused on improving his craft not on the hardcourt but in a different arena.

The classroom.

The 6-5, sharp-shooting wing said he returned to the Palouse on Saturday and started attending classes on Monday, the first day of the WSU fall semester. It's Johnson's second stint of college course experience, having taken classes in Pullman during WSU's middle summer school session that ended in late July.

"It's been great," Johnson said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. "It's one of the main reasons I'm here. I came to WSU to get educated. I'm going to stay focused and make sure to go to tutoring to keep my grades up. All the coaches are on top of it (his education) as well."

And the question still remains – Will he suit up this year for the Cougs?

JOHNSON CONTINUES TO wait patiently to hear from the NCAA, saying he remains confident he will receive academic clearance to play for the Cougs this season. As the months have gone by with no word, logic would suggest a decision has to be coming soon with the first week of classes now nearly completed at Washington State.

Johnson is hoping to dodge the same bullet Westwind Prep (Arizona) teammate Richard Peters received earlier this spring. Peters, a 3-star center who also signed his LOI with Wazzu this past November, did not meet academic qualifications and at last word was to enroll at a junior college.

It's a possible scenario that Johnson has in the back of his mind, but WSU hoops head man Ken Bone is helping him to stay positive.

"He's just telling me to keep working hard and keep my head up," Johnson said of Bone. "He said everything will fall into place and for me to worry about just getting healthy (knee stress fracture) and staying focused in school."

It's advice Johnson has taken to heart during his first days of school this semester at WSU. The whole student body is now back at Washington State, compared to the small percentage of students who attend over the summer.

"It's been crazy," Johnson said. "I've met a lot of people and everyone on the basketball team has been great. All the fans that see me keep wishing me good luck and tell me they think I'll have a great freshman season."

But for that to happen, the phone has to ring with the NCAA on the other end, giving him the green light.

"I just want to go out for every game and see all the fans cheering for me," Johnson said. "I'm just going to put this in God's hands and wait for them (NCAA) to make a decision."

COMING OUT OF Westwind Prep, Johnson was considered one of the top shooters on the West Coast and chose WSU over Washington, Gonzaga, UNLV and several others. He was ranked three stars and the No. 29 small forward in the land by Scout.com.

Johnson was able to watch, but not participate, with some of his WSU teammates doing individual workouts while taking classes this summer -- he was sidelined with the stress fracture in his left knee suffered during training.

Following summer school at Wazzu, he returned to his native Michigan for a few weeks before his return to Pullman, going through light workouts in trying to get the knee back to full strength.

Johnson's still nursing the injury but says he is getting better each day and has been able to do light training and conditioning. Johnson also said he will be 100 percent for WSU's exhibition opener on Tuesday, Nov. 6, against Saint Martin's at Friel Court.

But healthy knee or not, whether he's actually on the court continues to remain in the hands of the Eligibility Center.

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