Men's Basketball Announces Australian Tour Dates

June 19, 2002

Corvallis, Ore. - The Oregon State University men's basketball team, under the leadership of first-year head coach Jay John, will embark on a 12-day tour of Australia this summer. The trip, sponsored by Sports Tours, begins with the team arriving in Sydney the morning of Aug. 17 to begin a five-game schedule.

The Beavers will play three games against National Basketball League members the Sydney Kings, Brisbane Bullets, and Cairns Taipans. Oregon State will also play Queensland Australian Basketball League member the Kuiyam Pride and will meet the Australia Institute of Sport.

'This is a wonderful opportunity for this program,' John said. 'From a pure basketball standpoint, this will give us extra time for practice for the 2002-2003 season, and it will allow the coaching staff a chance to see what the team character is in game situations.'

This is the first trip the men's basketball team has made abroad since the late Ralph Miller took the program to Argentina in 1984.

'This trip is not all about basketball,' John said. 'The traveling party will be able to experience the culture of the Australian people, and enjoy the wonderful landmarks that make up the country. This will be a trip of a lifetime for most of the team, and a terrific learning opportunity.'

NCAA rules permit the team to practice no more than 10 days prior to departure. The NCAA also does not permit incoming student-athletes to be a part of the tour, in OSU's case freshmen Lamar Hurd, Justin Holt, and Kevin Field are ineligible. The entire roster for the 2001-2002 season is eligible, including seniors Adam Masten and Brandon Payton.

Oregon State's first game will be against the Sydney Kings Aug. 18. The Kings were 14-16 in the recently completed regular season. The team scored 100-plus points in 24 of the 30 games, and averaged 108 points per outing. Australian native Shane Heal averaged 24 points per game to lead the club. The eight-time league all-star played the 1997 season with the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association. The team also has American players James Smith, who played at Colorado State, and Derek Moore, formerly of South Carolina-Aiken.

Game two is scheduled for Aug. 20 against the Australia Institute of Sport in Canberra. AIS is a program designed for elite athlete development that involves 26 sports. Scholarships are awarded to individuals who are selected to be a member of the program.

The third date on the trip is Aug. 22 in Brisbane against the Bullets. Brisbane also registered a 14-16 mark last season. The team features the league's top scorer in guard Randy Rutherford, a three-year letterman from Oklahoma State. Rutherford averaged 25.0 points. The team also has four-year University of Cincinnati letterman Bobby Brannen and the 2002 league's Most Improved Player Wade Helliwell.

Game four is Aug. 23 against the Kuiyam Pride in a contest that will be played in the coastal city of Cairns. Kuiyam has three former NCAA players, including Ben Johnson of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Billy Ross of Appalachian State, and Andre Moore of Loyola of Illinois.

The schedule concludes Aug. 26 against the Cairns Taipans. The Taipans were 9-21 last season and finished 11th in the 11-team league. Jayson Wells, formerly of Indiana State, finished 10th in the league for rebounding at 9.6 and eighth for minutes played at 41.6. The team also features former North Carolina State player Ron Kelley, who signed with the club late last season.

'This will not only be a good learning situation for our team with regards to our new offensive and defensive philosophies, but it will also present some tough competition,' John said. 'We are going to be competing against teams that have been together for a period of time, and against individuals who will be older in most cases than our team members.'

Oregon State will be the second Pacific-10 Conference men's program to visit Australia this year. The University of Arizona recently concluded a similar trip.

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