BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — With the bulk of their 10 allotted practices in the books, WKU Hilltopper Basketball head coach Rick Stansbury said Friday that he’s been pleased with the team’s efforts ahead of next week’s foreign tour trip to Costa Rica.
The Hilltoppers have been practicing in E.A. Diddle Arena since late July and were scheduled to scrimmage Friday afternoon.
It’s all in preparation for next week’s trip to Costa Rica, during which WKU will play three games against international competition from Aug. 8-10.
“They’ve been good,” Stansbury said. “I have no issues with their work ethic or attitude. The two things I was most concerned about – all I’m worried about on this trip right now – are their attitude and effort. I’m not worried about making mistakes. That’s part of learning. Just give me what you’ve got every day.”
The Hilltoppers have been practicing two days in a row and then taking an off day as they prepare for the trip, which runs in full from Aug. 7-14.
WKU will first face Laurentian University from Ontario, Canada, at 6 p.m. CT Aug. 8. The Hilltoppers will then take on the Costa Rica National Team at 9 p.m. CT Aug. 9, and wrap up the trip with another contest against Laurentian at 5 p.m. CT Aug. 10.
All games will be played at the Ciudad Deportiva in San Jose, Costa Rica.
After wrapping up competition, WKU will head to the Los Suenos area for the rest of its stay to experience the local culture, including excursions and other team activities.
Per NCAA rules, programs are allowed to take a foreign tour once every four years, although this is the first such trip for WKU since the Hilltoppers traveled to Spain prior to the 2005-06 season.
“The value of this is the 10 days in practice, and that’s really valuable with this brand-new team – every person,” Stansbury said. “Nowadays, these college guys go into their own world so much with social media. So to have the ability to spend some time away from all that, do some things away from basketball, I think that’s good. I think that’ll help bring some togetherness.”
WKU is slated to take 10 players on the trip: Graduate senior guard Darius Thompson, graduate senior forward Dwight Coleby, senior guard Tyler Miller, redshirt junior guard Lamonte Bearden, junior guard Jordan Brangers, junior guard/forward Jared Savage, redshirt sophomore forward Moustapha Diagne, freshman guard/forward Marek Nelson and freshman guards Taveion Hollingsworth and Jake Ohmer.
Incoming freshman guard Josh Anderson is still finishing coursework ahead of his arrival and should join the team after the Costa Rica trip, Stansbury said.
The team probably had some initial disappointment after freshman center Mitchell Robinson was granted his release to transfer this week, Stansbury said, but it hasn’t affected the strong efforts of his current players on the court.
“These are guys are working hard,” Stansbury said. “These guys understand we’ve got a good team. We all know what he could’ve brought to our program and our team, but sometimes you’re not in control of those things. You can’t sit back and think about what-ifs. These guys won’t look back on that, I promise you. They feel good where they are, playing with each other right now.”
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