SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Runnin’ Utes are headed overseas for a little summer European vacation with some basketball to play as well.
Utah will play three games over the course of ten days in Paris and Barcelona against a collection of all-star teams, and the team couldn’t be more excited.
“This is my first time going overseas,” said guard Sedrick Barefield. “I’m sure it’s the same for some of my teammates, so it’s going to be a good experience. Our hotel is on the beach in Barcelona, so it’s going to be great.”
“I’ve never been over there before, so seeing all the sites and everything will be really fun,” added forward David Collette. “I think playing all those teams over there will be a lot of fun as well.”
Do the players know any French or Spanish?
“I don’t,” Barefield said. “I took Spanish in high school, but I don’t remember too much of it.
“Uh, bonjour?” said Collette.
“Un petit peu,” said head coach Larry Krstykowiak, who played professionally in Paris for one year.
A college team can travel to a foreign country to play every four years. The Utes last made a trip to Brazil in 2012, and Krystkowiak is eager to see how his players respond to playing international players with international rules.
“They’re going to be men and really good players,” Krystkowiak sad. “Obviously that style the play, and the refereeing is never fun. So, it’s going to be tough.”
“They’ve got a different style of play over there,” Collette said. “They’ve got a different tempo. The shot clock is at 24, so that will be a little different for us.”
One of the most important parts of this European trip is the opportunity for team bonding. Only five guys saw significant action on last year’s team, so nothing like spending 24 hours a day together for ten days to get to know each other really well.
“I’m really excited to go out there and enjoy my teammates and get some experience with the new guys,” Barefield said. “I think it’s going to be a good experience for us all. I think we’re really going to get to know each other, so I’m just really excited to get out there.”
It’s also a chance for the team to not only represent Utah, but also the United States.
“Around here, we’re not really representing the United States,” said Krystkowiak. “But over there on a bigger stage, we don’t want to be ugly Americans. It’s a bucket list deal. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”