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WSU 2-1 Early In Australian Basketball Tour


As most of you are aware, the men's basketball team is currently making its way through Australia on its once-every-four-years summer foreign tour. The Cougs got off to a good start, having won their first two games, but dropped their third on Friday.

It can be a fool's errand to try and read too much into the results of these games, but I think there are some interesting things to be gleaned by a cursory look at the box scores. (You can see them yourself here and here and here.) On to the bullet holes:

  • Other than Will DiIorio starting and playing about five minutes a game, the rotation looks about as you'd expect. The rest of the starting lineup features Reggie Moore, DaVonte Lacy, Mike Ladd and Brock Motum, with Royce Woolridge and Dexter Kernich-Drew serving as the backcourt reserves and D.J. Shelton and Richard Longrus coming off the bench in the frontcourt. DiIorio and Brett Boese are getting token minutes. If you were hoping Woolridge was a no-brainer to jump into the starting lineup, that doesn't appear to be the case.
  • If you're wondering where Que Johnson is, he isn't playing on the trip, although it's unclear to me if he traveled. Most people know at this point that he has yet to be cleared by the NCAA. If he were to play and then be declared eligible, there would be no problem. But if he were to to play and be declared ineligible ... well, nobody wants to go there. So he sits on the sidelines to be safe.
  • Motum is destroying the competition - 74 points on 29-of-45 shooting and 15-of-19 free throws with 29 rebounds. Only four of his attempts have been from three. I don't have much else to add, other than Brock Motum is still so very awesome, and I'm still so very glad he's ours. About the only thing I can say is that when the games count, he probably needs to get about 20 shots a game.
  • One area I wanted to see Lacy improve during the offseason is in getting to the rim more. When I first glanced at the first game's box score, I saw 10 field goal attempts with 8 from three. Disappointing. But wait! Is that nine free throw attempts right next to it? Why yes it is -- for a free throw rate of 90. That's great. He didn't have any free throw attempts in the second game, but three of his five shots were from two, so that's something. But then in the third game, he took only three shots -- all from three -- while struggling with fouls. He also had five turnovers in the loss. Ugh.
  • If you're wondering, Woolridge is averaging 17.3 minutes, 6.3 points, 2.3 assists and 3 turnovers. That last number is probably your biggest clue as to why he's not playing more -- he had nine through the first two games before no turnovers in 18 minutes in the third game. Progress!
  • In the first two games, Shelton committed eight fouls in 36 minutes -- against the same frontcourts Motum ran circles around. Just let that sink in. However, when was able to stay on the floor, he was productive. He played just one minute in the third game, though. Not sure if he got injured or what.
  • Mike Ladd was a rebounding fool through the first two games, averaging 9.5. (He collected only two in the third game.) He's also leading the team in steals with four. But with more turnovers than Woolridge, Ladd still has some things to work out. Still, his score line looks like the quintessential "glue guy," which is good to see.
  • Kernich-Drew is playing a lot of minutes. I think it remains to be seen whether that's because he's going to play that much this year (especially if Johnson gets eligible) or if that's because they're in Australia and he's Australian.
  • JC transfer big man James Hunter isn't playing. Not sure why.
  • The Cougs made 19-of-20 free throws in the second game. No word on whether the one miss -- by Moore -- came "when it counted."
  • Apparently, Longrus goes by Junior. Duly noted.

That's about all I noticed. Take a look for yourself and let me know what else you find interesting.

EDIT, 9:22 p.m.: Sent an email to WSU regarding Hunter and Que. Hunter wasn't enrolled in summer school, therefore he wasn't allowed to go on the trip. No word on why he wasn't enrolled. Could be nothing, could be something. Who knows! And it's confirmed that Que is not on the trip, either, as Brian noted in the comments.