HOOPS ROUNDUP: Trip report, new faces

A COVETED COMBO GUARD had a "picture perfect" official visit out on the Palouse this past weekend, head man Tony Bennett and staff have picked up yet another player from a basketball-rich country, while a number of injured Cougs are on the mend and looking ready to go by the time official practices get underway in October.

Reno sharpshooter Armon Johnson said the official visit to WSU couldn't have gone much better.

"Oh man it was a great weekend. The coaches were great, the players were really great. It was pretty picture perfect, I just need a little more time to decide."

The 6-foot-3 combo guard holds a number of scholarship offers, including ones from Nevada, USC and Oregon.

"I really bonded with Kyle Weaver," said Johnson. "He's a great guy. I really bonded with him -- I pretty much bonded with the whole team."

The Northern 4A Region's Co-Player of the Year this past season, Johnson filled it up to the tune of 30.4 points per game this past season, registering 7.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals for Hugh High along the way. Longtime watchers of the prep basketball scene in Nevada told Cougfan.com previously that Johnson has the potential to do a number of different things in the Cougars' system -- primarily because of a feel for the game that's advanced for a prep player at this stage of his development.

THE COUGS RECENTLY ADDED to the roster Nikola Koprivica, mentioned as one of the top 18-year old prospects in Serbia, known for it's hotbed of basketball talent. WSU benefited by the 6-foot-7 forward's decision late in the process to come over to the States -- after a number of high level schools no longer had a scholarship available.

At the under 17 European Championships this summer, the lefty helped lead his team to a fifth place finish and was on of the leading overall scorers. There is usually an adjustment period for European players, but the Cougs appear to have nabbed a good one with loads of potential.

The scholarship at Washington State for Koprivica came available when senior Antonio Chavers didn't meet NCAA academic requirements. Chavers, a senior point guard, remains at WSU and is working to regain his eligibility for the second semester.

WSU CENTER Aron Baynes had the plate and screws removed from his surgically repaired ankle last week. The 6-10 sophomore, who had surgery in June, could be close to full strength by the time the Cougs begin official practices in mid-October. The Aussie started 12 games for Washington State in 2005-06 and ended the season ranked No. 4 all-time among WSU freshmen in rebounds.

Forward Daven Harmeling, a natural leader who missed the 2005 season with a dislocated shoulder in Cougars' season opener, is back to 100 percent and ready to go. The 6-7, 215-pounder played in 26 games for the Cougs as a true freshman in 2004-05.

Guard Taylor Rochestie, a 6-1 lefthander and former standout at Tulane, enrolled at WSU in January after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Green Waves' season. Rochestie is on pace to be full strength by October following knee surgery -- he can play at semester but could become eligible for the beginning of the Cougs' '06-'07 season provided the NCAA grants his waiver application.

Rodney Edgerson (G, 6-4.5) has transferred to Kentucky Wesleyan College for his senior year. The Peoria, Ill., native averaged 2 points, 1 rebound and 9.4 minutes in nine games with one start for the Cougs this past season. An ongoing back ailment, significant enough that it held the possibility of ending his career altogether, forced him to miss the tail end of last season.

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