Basketball takes trip to Spain
Every four years each NCAA team is allowed to take a trip to a foreign country. This past summer the men’s basketball team took theirs to Spain and the Canary Islands.
“It was great,” junior Patrik Auda said. “I was really excited when I heard we were going to Spain because I lived in Spain and the Canaries for a year. I knew we were probably going to see my former coach so I was really excited to go there. For me it’s like my third home.”
The 10 day trip was for more than just a vacation as the team played four exhibition games against three local teams, going 4-0 in the process.
“I wanted to see where we were as a basketball team,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “What we’re going to be able to do, what are strengths were, what are weaknesses were. I think it was a great opportunity to see what we had to work on going into the season.”
On the days without games, the team participated in what Willard called “light” practices, while also getting to enjoy the sights, like thestreets of Madrid and the pool at their resort in the Canary Islands.
One of the activities the team took part of at their resort was a catamaran boat ride in the Atlantic Ocean, allowing the team to participate in parasailing, snorkeling and banana boat rides.
For Auda this was the best part of the trip. “The games were good and showed us where we are and what we need to work on but besides the games the best part was the boat ride in the Canary Islands,” Auda said. “We went around the islands and had the chance to ride jet skis, swim in the water, and we saw dolphins. That was our one day off and we really enjoyed it.”
Another thing that Auda added about the trip is that he likes that there are no seniors are on theteam when they took the trip.
“This team we have has no seniors so the team is going to stay like this next year,” Auda said. “I think that’s better than if it was with guys leaving in a year.”
While basketball was not always the focus of the trip to Spain and the Canary Islands, Willard does believe that taking this trip will make a difference once the Pirates begin the regular season.
“I think it is something that in the long run of the season will really help us,” Willard said. “Nov. 9 no, but in the long run it will because of the things we will be able to work on.”
The Pirates season will begin on Nov. 9 against UMKC in Walsh Gymnasium.
Stephen Valenti can be reached at email@example.com