Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Courtesy: Martin A. Folb
By Dick Dornan
MALIBU, Calif. -- Buon Giorno e Benvenuto al' Italia! Good day and welcome to Italy!
Pepperdine Coach Tom Asbury has coached previous teams that have gone to Australia, Japan and the Bahamas. He is looking forward to his first encounter in Europe.
"I'm excited," Asbury said. "My wife is really excited. It's a good country to visit and it's just about the right amount of time to be there. We will do some sightseeing and play some games. There will be different types of abilities on the court that we will see."
Asbury knows the value in this type of unique opportunity, which doesn't present itself too often. Not only is it valuable for the players' educational growth by learning and understanding the European lifestyle and their customs, but it signifies the chance to build as a team and prepare for the 2010-11 basketball season.
"One of the biggest benefits we get from this is 10 days of extra practice," Asbury stated. "This is a great time for us to work on our basics and improve as a team, and maybe tinker on some things that we couldn't do during the season."
With 13 lettermen returning for next season, the Waves are looking to improve and make positive strides as they embark on another challenging preseason schedule and WCC slate.
Asbury said the team's attitude has been "terrific" thus far and the team is eager to take their game to the next level. But before their European competition begins, Pepperdine must adjust to FIBA rules before they take the court in Rome on May 6 for their first game of the trip vs. Roma Chimici Anagni Basket at the Palazzetto dello Sport.
"We have to adjust to international rules such as the shot clock (24 seconds), offensive goaltending and the width of the key," Asbury explained. "Defensively it changes the approach to the game. Losing 11 seconds off each possession changes things a lot. We will experiment with position changes too.
"This trip is a bonus in that it gives us more time to work on our skills, extra shooting, etc. I'm also giving the assistant coaches the chance to create their own practices. We will bring FIBA officials into practice to get used to everything."
Basketball Travelers, Inc., has taken teams such as Loyola Marymount, Nevada and Kent State to Europe recently. They plan the entire trip and organize all tours and games.
"They are really good," Asbury said. "I wouldn't go with anyone else. They bring two of their employees along; one of which is an interpreter. They are experienced and are good at what they do."
Viaggiare è vivere! To travel is to live!
L'Italia è fantastica! Italy is fantastic!
"We will talk about the culture and enjoy the experience," Asbury said. "Our goal is to develop team bonding and bring the team together. We also want general improvement of the team and to gain confidence for next season."
Mangiare bene! Eat well!
Asbury has pointed out that he will make sure to enjoy his favorite Italian dish of lasagna and compare it to the likes of it back in the states. Meanwhile, he says his wife, Carlie, will sample the different types of wine. Some delicious pasta with a scintillating taste of "vino" on beautiful Lake Como will be a treat in itself.
May 8 vs. Sana Basket Siena (the U-21 team of an A-1 team) in Siena.
May 11 vs. Acergas Trieste (a B-1 team) in Trieste.
May 12 vs. Co Mark Treviglio in Treviglio.
Twelve returning players are slated to make the trip. The Waves had no seniors on last year's team, and incoming freshmen are not eligible to go on foreign trips. Dane Suttle Jr. will not travel as he recently underwent surgery on his ankle and is beginning the rehabilitation process. Andy Shannon, a backup center the past two seasons, is transferring to another school.
Breakfast was different than in America. There was a lot of different types of bread; it was weird seeing things like lettuce and tomatoes for breakfast. I had some eggs that were like something I have never seen, they were a dark yellow and runny, they tasted a little different, but overall weren't bad. The glasses for juice were really small as well.
Click here for team's first-day YouTube video.
Pepperdine 94, CUS Siena 53