Ex-Wildcat Owes to head Down Under instead of to Florida

By Patrick Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Former Arizona basketball player Ray Owes has traded life as a Beachdog for a year in Australia.

Owes, a 6-foot-9, 224-pound forward, was drafted by the Continental Basketball Association's Florida Beachdogs in September, but decided this week to forego the CBA in order to play for Geelong, a team in Australia's National Basketball League and based about 30 miles outside of Melbourne.

Owes said the decision was based on financial reasons. The CBA would have paid $700 a week for the five-to-six month season. While Owes would not say how much Geelong was paying him, he said it was more than the CBA.

"My agent called and asked if I would not play in the CBA if he could get me a job in Australia," Owes said. "I told him yes for strictly financial reasons. Geelong will pay more than the CBA not a lot more, but more."

Owes averaged 15.1 points and 8.1 rebounds last season for Arizona and was named to the All-Pacific 10 Conference first team.

The Australian season opens in February, and Owes, who is taking classes this semester at the university, will leave in late January. Despite a trip Down Under with the UA basketball team two summers ago, he has no knowledge of his new team or his playing situation.

"I don't know anything. I don't even know if we played them when we were down there," he said.

The disadvantage of the decision is the Australian NBL season runs until October, meaning Owes will not get a chance to try out for an NBA team next year. He said he will return in October and attempt to make a CBA team for the season and then try for the NBA.

"It will set me back a year," Owes said, "but the money's better in Australia."

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