For today's paper, I wrote about the Husky basketball team's trip overseas. It's a 16-day adventure that includes stops in Barcelona, Nice, Monaco and Senegal.
With the loss of Tony Wroten and Terrence Ross, the Huskies can use this trip as a way to build more team chemistry as well as work on the new UCLA high-post offense Romar has implemented. But really this trip is about so much more. It's a learning experience, one that some of these kids may never experience again. And it's a reward for Aziz N'Diaye.
From my story ...
Romar knows the struggle that N’Diaye endured to get where he is today. The coach got to see the documentary “Elevate” that followed N’Diaye and three other West African players in their quest to get to the United States and earn college basketball scholarships.
“I was just overwhelmed with what those kids go through and how big a deal it is for them to get out here and actually have an opportunity to get an education and maybe have a chance to get to the next level,” Romar said. “I thought with our tour coming up it would be great to go there and play a game.”
But the Huskies aren’t just going to play a game.
“We’ll let Aziz’s family see who he’s been living with the last few years,” Romar said. “Let them get a chance to know us a little bit in the brief time that we’re there. It gives our guys a chance to see what Aziz is all about. See where he’s coming from. See what his world is like to better understand him.”
The Huskies are going to see first hand the life that N’Diaye left behind. They will experience his culture, his food (fish and rice) and his family. They will host basketball camps for children.
“They will be excited,” N’Diaye said of kids in Dakar. “You are going to see kids fall in love with the game of basketball. Seeing people coming from the United States and going to college and getting their education and playing basketball, they are going to look up to us. For us, you get the opportunity and you can learn from it and give back to those kids. I think it will mean a lot.”
As part of the class they are taking for the trip, the players listened to N’Diaye discuss his homeland.
“He kind of opened up,” Wilcox said. “He told everybody how different it was for him to out here. It was humbling just to hear about where he came from, and how he gets to go back.”
Sun., Aug. 26
- 8:35 a.m. - Arrive into Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
- 12:55 p.m. - Depart Paris to Barcelona
- 2:35 p.m. - Arrive into Barcelona Airport
- Notes: Check into hotel. Orientation tour of area near the hotel including: Gothic Quarter, Las Ramblas and Passiege de Gracia
- 9:00 a.m. - Sightseeing tour of Montjuic Hill and the Olympic Stadium.
- 12:00 p.m. - Bus back to hotel.
- 5:45 p.m. - Depart for game by bus
- 8:00 p.m. - Game vs. Tarragona (Location: Pavello del Serrallo)
- Free day!
- Sites: On own to sightsee - Picasso Museum, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona FC stadium Camp Nou, Mercat de la Boqueir
- 3:00 p.m. - Depart train for Zaragoza.
- 4:23 p.m. - Arrive in Zaragoza.
- 6:00 p.m. - Game vs. Zaragoza (Location: Principe Felipe Arena)
- 9:15 p.m. - Depart Zaragoza for Barcelona.
- 11:40 p.m. - Arrive in Barcelona.
- Sites: On own to sightsee - Montserra Hill
- TBA - Depart by bus to Nice, France (344 miles)
- TBA - Check into hotel and shop, eat and sightsee on own.
- 3:15 p.m. - Depart by bus to game.
- 5:00 p.m. - Game vs. Antibes (Location: Salle Salusse Santoni)
- Sites: On own to sightsee
- 11:00 a.m. - Bus to Monte Carlo, Monaco. Sightseeing tour of Monaco and Fragonard Perfume factory.
- 2:00 p.m. - Depart by bus to game.
- 6:00 p.m. - Game vs. Monaco (Location: Stade Louis II).
- 8:30 p.m. - Return to Nice.
- Sites: Tour Monaco, Fragonard Perfume factory, Prince's palace, Monte Carlo casino and Oceanographic Museum
- 1:30 p.m. - Depart Nice Airport for Paris.
- 3:05 p.m. - Arrive into Paris Charles de Gaulle Aerogare.
- TBD - City Tour.
- TBD - Seine River Boat Tour.
- 5:45 p.m. - Depart by bus to game.
- 7:00 p.m. - Game vs. Paris-Levallois (Location: Paris-Levallois, Rue Danton, Levllois-Perret).
- Sites: On own to sightsee: Eiffel Tower, Sacre-Coeur, Norte Dame and Aquaboulevard
- 6:30 p.m. - Depart by bus to game.
- 8:00 p.m. - Game vs. Rueil AC (Location: Stadium, 1 rue Genevieve Couturier, Rueil).
- Sites: On own to sightsee: Louvre, Palace of Versaille, Musee D'Orsay, Galeries Lafayette
- 4:20 p.m. - Depart Paris for Dakar, Senegal.
- 8:00 p.m. - Arrive in Dakar, Senegal.
- 9:00 a.m. - Bus to Game Park.
- 10:00 a.m. - Visit the Reserve de Bandia Animal Reserve for a safari park tour.
- 1:00 p.m. - Bust back to hotel.
- TBA - Basketball clinic.
- 4:30 p.m. - Depart for game by bus.
- 6:00 p.m. - Game vs. Dakar University Club (Location: Marius N'Diaye Stadium).
- Sites: On own to sightsee.
- 8:00 a.m. - Bus to Goree.
- 10:30 a.m. - Tour Goree Island, a 15th century slave-trade island.
- 7:25 p.m. - Arrive at Dakar Airport 10:25 p.m. - Depart Dakar for Paris.
- 5:55 a.m. - Arrive in Paris.
- 10:40 a.m. - Depart Paris for Seattle.
- 12:50 p.m. - Arrive home in Seattle.