Spain and Italy — two of the most beautiful countries across the Atlantic Ocean — are two destinations for Arizona State men’s basketball, as they leave for Europe on Monday, July 31 and return on Tuesday, Aug. 8.
While most people would spend time gawking at all of the wonderful amenities those countries have to offer, the Sun Devils are looking for more out of this trip.
They have competition. Competition against three professional teams.
“I’m looking forward to running sets, getting the younger guys knowing the plays and playing an actual team,” senior guard Kodi Justice said. “Yeah, it’s fun being in a different country, but this being my last year we’re trying to get things going early.”
This trip will be a good indicator as to where the team is at and what progress it needs to make before the actual season begins.
The ability of redshirt freshman forwards Vitaliy Shibel and Romello White to play this season should add some depth as well.
“The balance and size are much different,” Sun Devil head coach Bobby Hurley said. “There’s some confrontations around the basket now. There’s less court out there for even the guards because of the size difference.”
Size will be a welcome addition this year for ASU, as last year that was the biggest missing link to a winning formula.
With size the Sun Devils will be able to stretch the floor and not have to rely so heavily on the 3-point shot.
This trip will be a good place to hone in the ability to play this type of balanced basketball while also helping build the team chemistry.
“I’m really excited to spend some time with the guys,” Justice said. “It’s going to be fun to play professional teams and get to experience a different country and see how it goes.”
While the players are taking this trip seriously, there is one thing that they are looking forward to as well as basketball.
“The food. I’m really looking forward to that,” Justice said.