Jeff Neubauer’s Eastern Kentucky Colonels, who finished last season with a 24-10 record, picked the right time to play their best basketball of the season. EKU won seven straight games, the last of which being a 79-73 win over Belmont in the OVC title game, to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament field. Led by Glenn Cosey, Corey Walden and Marcus Lewis, EKU pushed one-seed Kansas for most of their round of 64 game before falling 80-69.
The next step for Neubauer and his coaching staff is to figure out how they’ll go about accounting for the losses of both Cosey and Lewis, with Walden (13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.9 apg) being their most productive returnee. With that in mind the Colonels can make good use of a summer trip, with the program announcing plans for a trip to Australia next month.
Scheduled to leave the States on August 5, EKU will play four games in four different Australian cities (Sydney, Wollongong, Brisbane and Cairns) before returning on the 16th.
“This is going to be a great experience for our guys,” Neubauer said in the release. “On the basketball side, this will be a challenge. The teams we are going to face play at a very high level. This is also going to be a great opportunity for our players to see another part of the world.”
Three of the four teams EKU will face, the Sydney Kings, Wollongong Hawks and Cairns Taipans, play professionally in the National Basketball League with the Suncoast Clippers playing in the Queensland Basketball League. Also returning for EKU is senior forward Eric Stutz, and the trip (and the ten practices that come beforehand) will help a group that’s adding five newcomers with three being junior college transfers.