While many athletes spend the summer training in gyms, the USD men’s basketball team was getting ready to take their game to another continent.
Once every four years, the NCAA allows a Division I men or women’s basketball team to take a trip abroad. With approval from USD President James Abbott and the rest of the administration, the men’s basketball team was ready to take on Spain this summer.
“It was a 10-day total trip,” said head coach Craig Smith. “We played four games, and they were all teams from Spain.”
During the season, the team is able to practice every day leading up to a game, but since the trip to Spain took place in early August, the players and coaches weren’t given the luxury. The NCAA, however, allowed up to 10 practices before the team left for the trip.
This was valuable time for the team, Smith said, especially because many on the team were new to playing for the Coyotes.
“Quite frankly, this trip was perfect timing for our team, because we have seven brand new players in our program, and for 10 of them, it is their first year that they can participate,” Smith said.
Despite the team’s youth, they managed to go 2-2 while in Spain.
“I thought they played well,” Smith said. “We played all 14 guys that made the trip each of the four games. It felt like we got better each game, which was our goal.”
Aside from the experience of playing basketball in another country, the men’s basketball team got to experience some Spanish culture. The team ate traditional Spanish food, went sight-seeing and walked on cobblestone that was centuries old.
While the sights were breathtaking, the most impressive thing for the coaching staff was seeing the team really come together and form a bond.
“A lot of times when you travel, it’s usually two or three guys in a group,” Smith said. “It was really gratifying to see our guys together all the time.”
USD was also able to honor one of the players, as well. While in Spain, Logan Power was awarded a scholarship.
“I am extremely blessed and thankful. Ever since I committed to USD as a walk-on, this was one of my major goals,” Power said.
The more than 4,700 mile trip was an opportunity that the men’s basketball team and coaching staff won’t soon forget.
“It was incredible. It was the first time I had ever been out of the country,” Power said. “To go with all the guys on the team, and to play basketball on top of it — it was just a great experience.”