For UW's Aziz N'Diaye and WSU's Brock Motum, home is not Seattle or Pullman, respectively. For N'Diaye it's Dakar, Senegal. For Motum it's Brisbane, Australia. And this summer each got to take his team to their respective home country.
For N'Diaye, it was his first time home in nearly four years. The seven-footer was ecstatic to share the experience with his teammates. Watch the video here. Speaking of N'Diaye's teammates, some of them are really good. CJ Wilcox can and will fill the cup and Abdul Gaddy is a four year starting point guard with high expectations of himself, "I think I just want to be the best leader as possible in practice, off the court and on the court, in games, everything."
You heard it there folks, Abdul Gaddy is a committed senior. He's the co-captain with Scott Suggs and together they've built something special, "We have great team chemistry this year. It's one of our strengths, and I think that's going to really help us," said Gaddy. Coach Romar agrees and is happy with what his co-captains have done, "I think those guys are going to do and have already begun to do a great job in terms of leadership." While there are many questions marks for the Huskies, it's comforting to know that the success of this team rests on the shoulders of some talented veterans.
As previously mentioned, Brock Motum and his Cougar teammates headed to Australia for a preseason tour. But it was more than just a hoops thing as Motum explained, "For me personally, it was a lot of fun to have my American teammates come home to my country, and a lot of the games that we played over there were in front of my friends and family." Allow me to say that that's pretty cool. But getting back to round ball, an additional set of games and practices never hurt anyone.
"I think that really helped our team and our coaching staff see where we are as a group when we're competing against bigger and stronger guys, because we don't always get that in practice, and it's hard to simulate it unless you go against somebody different," said Ken Bone.
Indeed, that extra ball helped to mold this Cougar team. The trip did, however, include a vital piece of the Cougars' puzzle that's no longer there. Reggie Moore, the senior point guard, was dismissed from the team in September and Bone had this to say about it, "It's too bad, on a personal note, to not have him in our program still and playing the way I think that we all thought he was capable of playing going into his senior year, because he ended the year last year on a great note. He played very, very well the last seven, eight, nine games." But Motum and the Cougars will endure. They've still got Royce Woolridge and Devante Lacy, two very capable guards who will help the insanely efficient Motum grow WSU's success beyond, perhaps, the CBI.