The Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) sent a men’s Senior All-Star team to Italy in early June on what was a trip of a lifetime for the teams. The team visited 2 different cities while in Italy including Rome and Florence. While there they played against Italian men’s teams and had the opportunity to potentially get scouted by Italian basketball teams, coaches and scouts. They played games against Italian men’s basketball teams ASD Petriana Roma, ASD Pallacanestro SORA, Cestistica Pescia and CUS Pisa. The team won 3 games and lost 1 game on the trip, with their only loss coming on a buzzer beating shot in a very exciting game!
A big part of the trip was the culture and sightseeing the team experienced along the way. The team saw major sights in Rome such as the Coliseum, the Vatican and Saint Peter’s Square. They also visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the beautiful city of Florence, the jewel of Tuscany, and even took a day trip to Milan to explore the city. And, of course, the team was happy to try the fabulous cuisine that Italy has to offer with many players commenting that they loved the risotto!
Mark Jensen, Whittier College Men’s coach and the leading coach on the trip, said of the trip, “Overall an amazing experience for the young men involved. I had hoped that this trip to Italy would give our players a couple of things: 1) to allow them to experience the beauty of another culture and 2) to perhaps gain some international attention on the basketball court. I feel the trip did that and more. The cultural experience of Italy will be etched on the minds and hearts of these guys forever. There were real bonds made by all of the players as they played with and for each other representing our conference with pride - that was special to see."