Troy basketball team heads to Europe

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, July 29, 2009

While many Troy students may have taken summer trips to a beach or to visit relatives, the Troy men’s basketball team is about to embark on a tour of Europe.

The team’s tour of Europe will run from Aug. 3 to 11 and will make stops in Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris.

Troy head coach Don Maestri said overseas trips are allowed periodically by the NCAA, and this summer seemed like a good time to take advantage of the trip.

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“You’re allowed to go on an overseas trip once every four years,” Maestri said.

“We have a lot of players returning, so it’s good to be able to get in some extra games and some extra practice.”

The team will take eleven players on the trip, nine of which are players that will return from last year’s team. The other two are departed seniors Josh Williams and Mario Telfair, who will graduate from Troy in December and have no basketball eligibility remaining.

“For our coaching staff, it really is a reward to get to work with last year’s seniors one last time,” Maestri said. “And for our players, it’s really a reward, as well.”

Maestri said the trip will give his team valuable experience in two completely different areas.

“The trip will be a great educational experience where the guys will get to see things they may not ever have the opportunity to see again,” Maestri said.

“However, it’s also going to be a great basketball experience. Any time you can get four extra games and some extra practice in, it will help you as a basketball team.”

That extra practice is something Maestri said will help his team to develop at key positions, such as center.

“We’ve been practicing all week,” Maestri said.

“It’s been good, especially for the two redshirts we had last year, Trayce Macon and Bernard Toombs, to get some work at the center position, which is the position we lost some guys at last year. It’s also good to have four more games to evaluate your players and see where you are heading into the season.”

The upcoming season will be Troy’s second in the offense that it adopted prior to the 2008-2009 season, something Maestri said has been noticeable thus far.

“When you have experience, it really is amazing what you can do,” Maestri said.

“We’re just so far ahead of where we were this time last year. Our first scrimmage, we were doing things that we didn’t start doing until January last season. It was just like we were playing South Alabama out there. Everything was working and flowing real well.”

The combined experience of having a year in the offense and getting to play extra games in Europe is something Maestri said will help his team in the season to come.

“Experience doesn’t guarantee you’ll have success, but it does guarantee you’ll know what to do when you get out there,” Maestri said.