|The team takes a minute to pose in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (Washington State Athletics)|
The sights James Hunter will see over the course of his Washington State career could very well pale in comparison to his childhood. That's because the Wazzu sophomore JuCo transfer is the son of a rock and roll star back home in Australia.
The band is Dragon (side thought: yessss DRAGON I love it already), it's been around nearly 40 years, and to this day is still playing gigs in Australia and their New Zealand stomping grounds. Hunter's dad is named Tom, and he's the smooth slappin' da bass in this video from 1975. Let's party. Also, uh, what are they singing about here?
OK. How about a second one? Oh, this is so 1990 I can't even handle.
Tragically, James' uncle, the lead singer of Dragon, died in 1998 from cancer. But they still press on today, and Cougars coach Ken Bone said Dragon played a show a week before Washington State arrived in Sydney for its week-long summer exhibition circuit. They were sad to miss the show, but all got a laugh when, as they watched the Olympics together as a team, a commercial came up -- and there was Hunter's dad. Even cooler? Bone said Hunter's mom was in a punk band and that's how the two met.
James Hunter: child of punk and rock. I love this team already. James, let's talk Bad Religion and The Clash whenever you get a couple of hours. Unfortunately Hunter did not play on the trip, as he didn't officially become eligible until two days after the team left.
As for the hoops, a quick reset on Washington State in 2011-12. It finished 19-18 and lost a best-of-three against Pittsburgh, at Pittsburgh. Decent team but was besieged by injuries. It was pretty decent at scoring, though, which is still a bit surprise after those Tony Bennett years of paced basketball.
Who stood out: Brock Motum -- the leading scorer last year -- averaged upward of 25 points per game, including 41 in the last game, and that was against the best team they played, according to Bone. Bone also pointed out Reggie Moore's reliable distribution, which remains his best asset, but said Moore will be given more responsibility to score this year.
What Bone learned: "Unfortunately they played with a 24-second clock and that's a big difference, percentage-wise, from a 35-second clock," Bone said. "So the team didn't get quality shots, and that clock gets down to six or seven seconds quickly. The guys took hurried shots, and I didn't like so much of that."
Biggest concern going forward: The team can't guard far from the hoop at this point -- or even in general. Washington State gave up 77 points per game on this tour and went 2-3.
"We won't average 77 points per game," Bone said.
- 6-5 guard Mike Ladd averaged nearly 10 rebounds per game and Bone seemed really happy with that.
- "I liked the team chemistry, and it's obviously a big part of why you go on these trips," said Bone, "but it was nice to see our guys respond to each other."
- Roster-wise, the team lost five players from last season, four of them seniors and one transferred (Patrick Simon) to Seattle Pacific. But Bone swapped that five for a new five: a mix of freshmen, JuCo transfers and a walk-on turned scholarship player.
- As of now, the likely starting five for Wazzu will be: Reggie Moore at the point; DaVonte Lacy and Mike Ladd at the wings; and Motum and D.J. Shelton playing big.
- School started Monday at Washington State, by the way.
- Bone has and will continue to recruit Australia. Three players -- Hunter, Motum and Dexter Kernich-Drew -- are from there.
- Bone couldn't get over the injuries from last year, and he thanked God he dodged them on this trip.
"I've seen nightmares where teams go on road during these tours and all of a sudden you've got an injury or two. I think one thing that hurt us last year is four of our top eight guys missed games and it totaled about 40 games," he said. "We can't afford to play with a lack of depth or compete well with a lack of depth."