Wednesday, May 12, 2010

PEPPERDINE IN ITALY - Andiamo il gioco della pallacanestro!

Men's Basketball Set for Trip to Italy
Courtesy: Pepperdine Sports Information
Release: 04/30/2010
Courtesy: Martin A. Folb
By Dick Dornan

MALIBU, Calif. -- Buon Giorno e Benvenuto al' Italia! Good day and welcome to Italy!

The Pepperdine's men's basketball team is going abroad to Europe. From May 4-14, the Waves will have the opportunity to enjoy one of the world's best treasures: the beautiful country of Italy. With the help of Basketball Travelers, Inc., the men's basketball program will enjoy touring historic sites, learning the Italian culture and playing four games of basketball against different Italian professional teams.

The NCAA allows collegiate teams to travel out of the country once every four years. The planning began two years ago and the experience is worthwhile to all who make the trip.

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!
The tour consists of visits to Ancient Rome (Colosseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain) and the Rome City Center (Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel), Florence (Accademia Gallery- Michelangelo's David, Cathedral, Ponte Vecchio), Pisa (Leaning Tower of Pisa), Venice (St. Mark's Square, St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, Gondola rides) and Verona (Juliet's Balcony, Lake Como, Brunate Funicular, Bellagio).

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.

Andiamo il gioco della pallacanestro! Let's go play some basketball!

Here is the schedule of games for the Waves:

May 6 vs. Roma Chimici Anagni Basket (a B-1 team) in Rome.

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.

Buon Viaggio, Arrivederci e Buona Fortuna Pepperdine! Have a good trip, good-bye and good luck Pepperdine!

Members of the Pepperdine men's basketball program will be sending reports from their May 4-14 trip to Italy to keep their fans back home updated right here.

May 5
by Scott Coopman, director of basketball operations

Quite a trip here. We started May 4 with the guys lifting and conditioning with Ryan Capretta on campus. We departed for LAX at 2:30 and made it in plenty of time, of course. Hopped on an Air France Boeing 777 for a 12 and a half hour flight to Paris. Lifted off at about 7 pm. Landed in Paris at 2:50. Lots of trying to sleep on the plane. Walking laps around the the back of the plane. Most of the big guys got pretty good seats at the bulkheads so they could stretch their legs. On average everyone watched about 3 movies on the flight. The Air France flight crew was very friendly. Of course we landed just about on time in Paris but then we taxied for what felt like 20 minutes! Having to change planes we only had about 25 minutes and Charles De Gaulle Airport is enormous! There was no way we'd make it to our connecting flight to Rome. Luckily, Air France was waiting for our entire party and walked us to our plane, holding it for about 20 minutes. So, we made both our flights and made it safely to Rome. The weather was terrific when we landed. We were met at the Airport by our Italian host Fabio who led us out to baggage claim. There we met our Basketball Travelers host Dave Kronstadt and boarded our bus. Not much of a customs check so we got out of the airport very quickly. Our hosts gave us a nice bus tour on the way in to the hotel. Entering the ancient city is quite breathtaking as all of the sudden you're passing through 2000 year old city walls. We drove past the ancient city center and the Colosseum. These are truly amazing sites. We will be visiting these places on May 7. Tomorrow, May 6, we are headed to Vatican City for a 9 am tour. We'll also have our first game of the tour. Updates to follow!

May 6

by Corbin Moore, junior center

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.

At the Vatican it was great seeing the different types of art and architecture that I have learned about in classes I have taken. The Sistine Chapel was very impressive because Michelangelo painted the entire ceiling and one of the walls on his own, which took him over 10 years total to complete. Our guide was very informative and we learned a lot about the history of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican.

We then headed out for our game, which was about an hour and a half from our hotel in downtown Rome. The gym took a little while to get used to with the wider key. The style of play was different and also took a while to get used to and the referees definitely call a different game than the ones in the states. The fans were very welcoming and although we lost it was definitely a positive experience for our team. (Pepperdine lost 90-83 to Roma Chimici Anagni Basket, a B-1 team)

Tomorrow we are taking a tour of The Coliseum and Rome's city center, which I am looking forward too because I have heard so many great things about it. Until next time Ciao!


May 5

Click here for team's first-day YouTube video.

Men's Basketball Updates from Italy Trip

Release: 05/11/2010
Courtesy: Pepperdine Athletics

MALIBU, Calif. -- Members of the Pepperdine men's basketball team will be sending reports on their trip to Italy, which runs from May 4-14. Read the preview here. Their updates will be posted below as they come in.


May 11

Pepperdine 87, Texa Roncado 71

Pepperdine scoring: Bell 21, Thompson 18, Jackson 14, Lowery 8, Willis 8, Dupre 6, Moore 6, Darby 5, Kerry 2, Agre 0, Branning 0.

Additional ther stat leaders: Rebounds (Kerry 7), Assists (Bell 5), Steals (Jackson 4).


May 11

by Scott Coopman, director of operations

Our bus dropped us off just across the causeway from Mestre to Venice where we boarded a water taxi for our journey in to the city. The taxi took us through the Grand Canal which runs through the center of Venice to Piazza San Marco, the heart of Venice. Here we visited a glass making shop, something that Venice is famous for. We also met our guide who took us through a historical tour of the city center. Some of our party took a ride through the canals on a gondola while everyone else spread out to do some shopping and exploring.

Game #3 took us to the town of Treviso to play against TEXA RONCADO. Keion Bell led the way with 21 points and 5 blocked shots. Mychel Thompson chipped in 18 with a series of highlight dunks and Lorne Jackson shot 4/7 from behind the arc. After leading by 9 at the half (44-35), we broke the game open on a pair of 3-pointers by Lorne Jackson and breakaway dunks by Bell and Thompson. The pair capped the run with a lob jam in transition. Our guards were able to get in to the paint and kick out for open 3s or easy jumpers leading to a pretty good shooting night for the team.

Our final game will be tomorrow night in the Lake Como area followed by a day where we'll get to tour the lake by boat and visit the town of Bellagio.


May 10

by Scott Coopman, director of operations

Today was a travel day. We left Florence at noon and headed east to Venice. The journey took us up through the mountains that split Italy in half. Along the way we made a stop at the Autogrill which is a very nice rest stop. Italy has very strict rules for bus drivers and the amount of driving that they are allowed to do. This allowed us to have a break in the middle of our drive to grab lunch and stretch the legs out. Our hotel was not actually in Venice. No cars are allowed there so hauling luggage, etc would be quite difficult. We checked in to a hotel in Mestre which is across the causeway from Venice and contains the major port on the east coast of the country.

May 10

Click here for a YouTube video from Pepperdine's trip to the Vatican.


May 8

Pepperdine 94, CUS Siena 53

Pepperdine scoring: Bell 40, Dupre 11, Agre 10, Kerry 7, Lowery 7, Jackson 6, Moore 6, Thompson 5, Clardy 4, Willis 4, Branning 3, Darby 2.

Additional stat leaders: Rebounds (Kerry 10), Assists (Thompson 4), Steals (Bell and Lowery 2).


May 6

Romana Basket Anagni 90, Pepperdine 83

Pepperdine scoring: Bell 23, Thompson 22, Jackson 12, Dupre 7, Moore 7, Agre 5, Kerry 5, Clardy 4, Darby 3, Willis 2, Lowery 1, Branning 0.

Additional stat leaders: Rebounds (Moore, 11), Assists (Lowery, Thompson and Jackson, 3), Steals (Jackson 6).