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Men’s Basketball: Bryant Mbamalu–Spain Trip Blog

Spain Trip Blog
By: Bryant Mbamalu, 08/22/13

We left the Leon Moncla practice facility bright and early on Thursday morning [Aug. 8], with excitement and a buzz in the air.  The football team was also up early, getting better at practice, and coach Hud got on the bus and gave us a very spirited farewell speech.   We rode the bus to New Orleans for two-hour sand then caught about a two-hour flight to Miami.  From Miami we caught the dagger nine-hour flight to Barcelona, which was very hard and draining. 
 
When we finally got a chance to really experience Barcelona it was very fun.  It is the second largest city in Spain.  First we exchanged our money from Dollars to Euros, which wasn’t too fun to give the clerk 44 dollars and get 30 euros in return. 
 
While in Barcelona we were finally able to be introduced to Spanish food.  For many of us it was a very difficult experience.  J.J. Davenport and Shawn Long had the most difficult times adjusting to eating foods like calamari and Spanish ham.
 
We also watched a flamenco dancing show, which was a very nice experience.  The footwork shown by the dancers was amazing.  The male dancer put on a show but put a lot of stress on his feet and knees.  After the show, coach Marlin joked that he needed to get into an ice tub for his knees.
 
Next we traveled to Valencia, third largest city in Spain.  It was another fun city.  We enjoyed a tour of their famous bull-fighting arena, where we realized that Steve Wronkoski had a long lost twin that he never knew about, in one of their current bullfighters.
 
We had our first practice in Valencia, and experienced that in Spain, they do not believe in A/C as much as we do in the States, because it was very hot in the gyms we played in.
 
The next day we traveled to Albacete for our first game of the tour.  We all palyed hard, but turnovers would be critical, and we needed to get adjusted to the contrasting style of play in Europe.  The refs called a tight game, the gym was very hot, but we pulled out the victory.  We played well for it being our first game.  The Spanish fans are legit fans of basketball, because no matter who scored, they stood up and applauded. 
 
We traveled to Quintanar Del Rey to play our second game.  The team was missing some players and we took advantage and took it to them from the jump.  We came out and played very hard, sharing the ball, rebounding and playing hard. 
 
Our final stop was Madrid, the capital and largest city in Spain.  We had an opportunity to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid, and play two games against a local college team.  They were the same team that defeated Boston College last year, so we knew we had to bring it if we wanted to win both games.  We came out hard and played hard defense in stretches, giving ourselves a chance to win.
 
The trip to Spain was a life changing experience because it gave so many players an opportunity to get out of the states, and bond as a team to prepare for the season.  As a team we got better and played hard.  We had a lot of players play well like Steve [Wronkoski], J.J. [Davenport], Shawn [Long], Kevin [Brown], and Elridge [Moore].  Basically everyone did a little something to help us win.  Hopefully these for wins in Spain will translate to this upcoming season for the team.