Aug. 18, 2002
*Note - Assistant Coach Bob Walsh will chronicle the team's trip through Italy. His reports will be posted regulary on www.friars.com. Reports on all the team's game action also will be available on www.friars.com.
Sunday, August 18th, 2002 - Day One in Italy
We are all very happy that yesterday is over. The anticipation of the trip was great but no one was looking forward to spending all day on a plane. We left Providence at 11 AM and we arrived in Milan at 2 AM Eastern time. 8 hours on a plane is never a lot of fun, but most of our guys were able to catch some sleep despite being cramped into airline seats. Anytime you are served both dinner and breakfast on a flight, you know you've been on for a long time.
We arrived in Milan at 8 AM local time, so we really missed the overnight from Saturday to Sunday. Everyone was a little bit tired but definitely excited to be on a trip like this in another part of the world. Chris Anrin, Tuukka Kotti and Maris Laksa seemed a little bit more comfortable than most of our guys having made the trip across the pond a few times. Kareem Hayletts brought a video camera and he and the guys have been having a lot of fun putting together a video of the trip, trying to interview everyone they could in all different parts of the airport.
We traveled from the airport to Varese, about 40 minutes outside of Milan, to get to our hotel. We will be staying here until Thursday for the first two games of our trip. We checked into the hotel, grabbed a bite to eat, and most everyone crashed in their rooms for a few hours. Unfortunately for most of the guys the beds here seem like they were made with me in mind, and certainly not anticipating use by anyone over 6 feet tall.
We met in the afternoon to head down to practice in Varese. The arena is quite old by our standards and located right next to a huge soccer stadium. As we walked in, the former GM for Varese pointed out the team picture from this past season, which included our former center Kareem Shabazz.
We went through about a 2 hour workout trying to shake the jetlag out of our guys and get them ready to play tomorrow. Rome Augustin, who has a sore knee, practiced some, and Rob Sanders, who missed last weeks practices to attend to personal matters practiced for the first time. It was a good workout and our guys surprisingly had a little more juice than we thought they might. Hopefully the travel day is out of their system and we'll be ready to go tomorrow night. We've gone over the basic stuff that we want to run, but as a staff we are a little worried about our defense. Our team defensive system takes a while to put in and understand, and the guys are a little rusty with it having not played in it since last March. We know the effort will be there, but we might have a hard time with some basic rotations. I hope the scoreboards here are ready.
We had a nice meal at the hotel of pasta and chicken after practice, and I think our guys are really looking forward to dining here. Everyone has said that the food is great, and you can tell just by tasting the sauce - it's not exactly the same stuff you'll find at the House of Pizza in Cumberland.
Tomorrow should be exciting. We will get to visit Switzerland for the day and we have a 7:00 tip against one of the best pro teams from the Swiss league. It will be exciting to put the uniforms on and compete for the first time since the Georgetown game at the Garden in March.
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