Make no mistake, the trip to Italy for the George Mason basketball team is focused around basketball but really the experience that is only allowed every four years is about the bonding and team unity. The team’s 98-65 win over Lombardia shows they aren’t playing against top European talent. Remember this is the preseason time for those leagues as well. Very few players Mason faced yesterday were Division I type talent and some guys where simply there trying out for the Italian team.
The Patriots are not the only NCAA team in Italy this summer. Wisconsin-Milwaukee played Lombardia on Wednesday and beat them 84-50. So you can see the competition is a little watered down.
This trip is a great opportunity for the young guys on the team to bond with some of the older players and for the team as a whole to come together and play much earlier than midnight madness. The coaches do this trip mostly because they are able to hold practices when they normally would not be allowed to by NCAA rules. This type of trip also lets you see your team in action, especially the freshmen. Sure the guys play in summer league games but those are basically background street ball games with no defense, plus the coaches can’t give instruction during them. This whole experience will pay off for Mason this season and should help them find their identity much earlier in the season; unlike last year.