March 8, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Huskies players line up before the start of the game against the Oregon State Beavers in the second round of the 2012 Pac 12 Tournament at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Men's Basketball to Travel Europe and Africa

Aziz N'Diaye (Joe Nicholson- US PRESSWIRE)

This summer the men’s basketball program at the University of Washington will be taking their talents overseas to Europe and Africa. The trip even includes a stop in Dakar, Senegal to visit the home of Aziz N’Diaye.

The Huskies were rumored to be planning a big summer experience this year, but many assumed that they would travel Asia. Instead they decide to go to Europe/Africa where they will be experiencing Spain, Monaco, France, and Senegal. The last time they visited Europe was in 2007 (Greece).

Lorenzo Romar is a big proponent of letting his basketball players travel, to experience other cultures and lands. Last year, they stayed in the states and in the confines of the schedule and went to New York. Where they were able to reflect on ground zero, meet Jim Caviezel, and see the production of Lion King on Broadway.

This overseas trip will broaden their horizons even more, with seeing Europe, hearing other languages, experiencing cultures unlike America, etc. This is character building, team building, and an experience that these players won’t soon forget. This isn’t even mentioning basketball yet and the ability to fine tune their game as players and a team.

The team as a whole doesn’t have as many new players as last year but the rotation of the lineup and even the starting lineup will look different. The team lost two of their best players in Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten. They also lost team leader Darnell Gant. Now, a starting lineup (which will be discussed more in depth in a future post) will look almost completely different with seniors Abdul Gaddy and N’Diaye as the only returning starters. CJ Wilcox had starting roles last year but most of the time was the sixth man, he will most likely get thrown into a starting spot.

This trip will also allow Mark McLaughlin to get acclimated with his new team, Scott Suggs to re-install his talents in the lineup, and freshman red-shirts Jernard Jarreau and Andrew Andrews to figure out their role on the squad.

This trip has big implications on the court. This allows the team to move away from scrimmaging themselves to playing another team and Romar promises the competition will be talented.

This trip, all in all, is a stretching exercise for the Huskies as students, humans, athletes, and as a team. It was a smart scheduling move by Romar and something that could help shape the entire season.

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