Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Setting the table: an in-depth look at basketball’s trip to Croatia

Published: August 31, 2012
Section: Sports

The men’s basketball team funded their overseas trip to Croatia by raising nearly $50,000 during the past five years.

In a follow up interview with The Hoot, forward Alex Schmidt ’14 said the international competition should serve as key preparation for the NCAA tournament later this season.

“Coach [Meehan] does it every four to five years, so we try to get money for the team each year. We typically have a charity raffle and a dinner each winter. Alumni and old players come for that, as well as our families.” Additionally, the team runs a camp each year, and hosts an AAU tournament each year where they work concession stands to raise money.

Over the course of the last five years the team raised $4,000 for each player, including “flight, hotel, meals and a stipend. Eleven players went and Tyrone Hughes ’12 joined us as well.”


“We were already a really tight group on and off the court,” Schmidt said. “The goal of this trip was to completely get us on the same page on and off the court and we had great success. While we were already friends last year, now we’re fighting for each other, something we really lacked last year.”

Furthermore, the trip provided the team with more experience. “It’s a real battle to go to another country to play against teams you’ve never played against or seen in 100 degree gyms, while the fans are rooting against you. It’s a real fight to keep your cool in a completely different environment.”
The team entered the 2010 season with 10 first-years, and an extremely quick 13-0 start; even though they stumbled down the stretch, the team had announced their presence on the UAA scene. The following season, the team was plagued by inconsistency. They would lose to some of the lowest ranked Division III teams while beating No. 2 ranked Amherst by 15 points.

Schmidt hopes that their experience from this trip will help them develop the consistency to accomplish their overall goal this year. “Clearly, the goal this year has to be not only to get in the NCAA but also show we belong there. We’re clearly going to have to make a statement and our goal is to win the UAA and make a statement in the NCAAs.”

While the team was playing basketball for the majority of the trip, they also had a chance to enjoy the culture and scenery of Croatia. “We went to a waterfall that was unbelievable. It was 80 meters high and located in a national park. It was great for my teammates who have never been to Europe to get to experience the Mediterranean culture.” The most incredible trip was a four to five hour boat cruise “where we toured the hundreds of islands surrounding Croatia. The islands could be as small as the SCC or as big as the entire campus.”

When the team played against Croatian teams, they had to play by European rules instead of the typical NCAA rules. Schmidt believes this will help them in the upcoming season. “It really helped us to execute faster and sharper. They play with a 24 second shot clock while we play with a 35 second shot clock in the UAA. It really helped us develop a faster game. Not only did it make us play more up-tempo but it also forced us to execute our plays quicker and crisper. We couldn’t grind out sets.”

With the experience, battle-toughness and faster-paced game, the Judges are poised to make their goals a reality. Consistency, however, remains the challenge.