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Checking in on the WSU Cougars’ basketball tour to Italy

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Let’s see how the WSU men’s basketball team is enjoying Italia.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night the Washington State Cougars men’s basketball team will return to Pullman after spending 10 days traveling throughout the beautiful country of Italy.

The tour, which began on August 5, has included stops in Rome, Vatican City, Pisa, Florence, and Milan, along others. The team had a chance to tour the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, Lake Como, and several other tourist destinations in the country.

The main purpose of the trip, however, was five scheduled exhibition basketball games as Washington State prepares for a bounce-back season after the disappointing 2015-16 campaign, one that saw the Cougars win one conference game.

With five newcomers (Jamar Ergas, K.J. Langston, Milan Acquaah, Jeff Pollard, Malachi Flynn) to go with seven returners (Derrien King, Ike Iroegbu, Robert Franks, Viont’e Daniels, Charles Callison, Josh Hawkinson, Conor Clifford), the 2016-17 Cougars will have a new look to them in Ernie Kent’s third year at the helm of the men’s basketball program.

Through four games, the Cougars are 3-1 with one game remaining in the tour. Hawkinson and Iroegbu have been doing the bulk of the damage - an expected recipe for the upcoming season - but King, Clifford, Langston, and Flynn have recorded double-digits in scoring for a few of the games as well.

When the Cougars return to Pullman, off-season conditioning and workouts will continue as Kent prepares his team for the season opener on November 11 when the Cougars host the Montana State Bobcats in Beasley Coliseum for the first of seven home non-conference match-ups before conference play begins.

Links

Highlights and observations from practice No. 7 | The Spokesman-Review
The team still seemed to have more energy than they did on Thursday, which is good since Friday's practice might have been the last normal practice of fall camp. The team will scrimmage on Sunday (probably around 3-3:15 p.m.) and Saturday's practice will be light in preparation for said scrimmage.

Mike Leach after practice | The Spokesman-Review
The WSU football coach addressed today's practice, and also Donald Trump.

Robert Taylor after practice | The Spokesman-Review
The new WSU defensive back says he has no preference between cornerback or safety.

Alex Grinch after practice | The Spokesman-Review
Alex Grinch talks about developing depth on the defensive line.

Darrien Molton after practice | The Spokesman-Review
Darrien Molton talks about what it takes to play early.