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GW Men's Basketball in Italy - Day 4, NSA Naples & Pompeii

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Our Saturday morning started with a three-hour drive south on the Autostrade (Italian highway system) to Naples for a clinic and game against the U.S. Naval Support Activity base (NSA Naples) located just outside of the city of Napoli.  It was really a slice of life from back home - a mid-sized shopping mall fit with a Taco Bell, a U.S. Post Office, and American television. 

The roughly 25 children at the clinic were great - eager to learn, attentive and respectful - and we hope they enjoyed their time as we walked through about 45 minutes of fundamental skill drills. Commander Robert C. Barbee, the executive officer for the base, presented us with a framed certificate and thanked us for visiting, in reality the pleasure was all ours. After the presentation we joined NSA Naples servicemen on the court for our first game action of the trip and of 2012-13.

Playing four 10-minute quarters, we came out slow to start, but turned up the defensive pressure and scored some easy baskets around the hoop for a 30-13 lead after a period. Freshmen Joe McDonald and Patricio Garino hounded the NSA Naples backcourt defensively, while Kevin Larsen got some easy baskets from his fellow newcomers and anchored the paint with 12 first-half points to surge ahead 48-24 at the half.

The second half featured some hot outside shooting from Nemanja Mikic, who finished just behind Larsen with 12 points, and some transition baskets to roll to a 65-30 lead after three quarters and eventually an 81-40 win.  The scoring went as follows: Larsen 13, Mikic 12, Smith 11, Garino 10, Kopriva 9, Kromah 8, Armwood 7, McDonald 7, Bynes 2 and Maragkos 2.

It was a great way to start our tour and show our troops that GW is committed to service, especially for those who serve us.  We thank everyone at NSA Naples for the opportunity and their efforts in making the day a great success.

After leaving the base, we continued south into Naples for our first glimpse of the Mediterranean Sea and a tour of the ruins of Pompeii at the base of Mt. Vesuvius.  Even more amazing sights and insight into the lives of an ancient culture that was highly advanced despite being destroyed in the volcanic eruptions of 79 A.D.

Tomorrow brings our final hours in Rome before busing through Tuscany on our way to Florence, the educational center of Italy. Looking forward to getting back onto the court and giving back to American military again on Monday at the U.S. Army base Camp Darby in Livorno.

Check out some of today's photos, and view some of today's videos, including highlights from today's clinic and game, over on @GW_MBB's TwitVid channel.

Ciao for now.

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