GW Men's Basketball to Travel to Italy in Summer of 2012
Jan. 3, 2012
WASHINGTON - The George Washington University Department of Athletics and Recreation proudly announced today that the men's basketball team will travel to Italy from August 15-26, 2012 to serve as ambassadors of the sport of basketball and to play five games against Italian professional competition.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these players to travel to historic Italy with their teammates," said Coach Mike Lonergan. "The life experience of foreign travel and immersion in another culture that our players will gain from this trip is an invaluable part of the learning process that GW seeks to provide, and the trip itself will significantly aid the critical process of team bonding by giving our returning players an early opportunity to gel with each other and our strong incoming group of freshmen."
This will be GW men's basketball's first international trip since a visit to Australia in the summer of 2005. The traveling party will depart from Washington Dulles on August 15, 2012 for an overnight flight to Rome. GW's four-day stay in Rome will include guided tours of the Vatican, the Roman Forum and the Roman Colosseum, and one of the Colonials' five games will take place in Rome on August 17.
"A mission of this University is to provide an environment where knowledge is acquired for the enrichment of our students and the global society, and there is no better way to do that than to take these student-athletes on a foreign tour," said GW Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero. "Of course, we want to lay the groundwork for a successful season of GW basketball, but this trip is about so much more than just basketball. It's about higher-learning. Most GW students have the chance to study abroad for a semester, but our student-athletes need the experiences of foreign travel for competition to see what the world has to offer. Our hope is that this international trip is the first of many that our various programs will take in the coming years."
From August 19-21 the team will be in Florence, where Michelangelo Park and the statue of David at the Academy of Fine Arts awaits. Nearby Siena will be toured in a day-trip on August 20, when GW will play its second game of the tour. The following day, on August 21, a trip to see one of the world's best-known sights in the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in store, and the Colonials will play their third game in Italy that night.
"Italy holds a real special place in my heart," said former GW basketball star and current radio color commentator Yegor Mescheriakov, who played professional basketball in Italy. "Its astounding natural beauty, world-class cuisine and amazing basketball fans made my personal experiences in Italy absolutely unforgettable. From a basketball perspective, this trip will help to build team chemistry, ease the freshmen's transition to the college game, and test the team against another brand of basketball, but more importantly, it will also broaden the student-athletes' cultural horizons as they experience the hospitality of Italy."
The final leg of the Italian tour takes place from August 22-26 when the traveling contingent heads to Cernobbio in the Italian Lake District. At Stresa on the beautiful Lake Maggiore, the team will spend the day on August 23 before heading to nearby Ticino to play another game that night. GW's fifth and final game in Italy will take place just outside of Cernobbio on August 24, before a day on August 25 for final receptions and farewells from Italy. The team will return home from Milan on August 26.
"We are excited to welcome the GW Men's Basketball Team to Italy this summer," said Eliana Coffidis of the GW Italy Alumni Chapter. "With nearly 100 GW Alumni throughout Italy, this is an exciting opportunity for all of us to welcome current GW students to our country and culture."
Fans and alumni are encouraged to get in touch with Brian Hamluk (firstname.lastname@example.org) in GW's Department of Athletics and Recreation for information on how to join the GW Colonials on this Italian basketball tour.