In its own way, every offseason trip taken by college basketball programs -- in which a coach and his players go overseas for weeks at a time, bonding and chalking up early practice allowed by the NCAA -- is special.
College basketball players don't get much time (or, you know, money) with which they can take the customary collegiate trip to a foreign country. They don't have the opportunity to study abroad. So when teams go to Italy or Ireland or China, the trip is special. It's a unique experience. I am always jealous. (Although, much as I want to visit China, I am glad I was not with the Georgetown Hoyas last summer. That fight looked terrifying.)
But even by the very cool standards of most foreign trips, what Lorenzo Romar has planned for his Washington Huskies sounds especially neat. Washington will travel for two weeks, making stops in Spain, France and Monaco, which, OK, Eamonn's already jealous again. Monaco? Awesome. But even better -- the last leg of the trip is Senegal, homeland of senior forward Aziz N'Diaye. From the Tacoma News-Tribune:
The Huskies will play a game in Dakar Senegal. But they will also host and take part in several basketball camps and clinics as part of World Vision’s Area Development Program.
“You do home visits with kids when you are recruiting them and you meet parents and have an opportunity to see their world,” Romar said. “In this case, we not only get to see Aziz’s world, but his family and friends get to see the group he has been living with the last couple of years.”
It's a nice touch from Romar, who usually tries to schedule a game in the hometown of seniors. That's not possible for N'Diaye during the regular season, obviously, but the solution Romar found is an awfully nice one.
Note to my bosses: We should definitely be covering this trip! I'll submit my travel request soon. What's that? I'm not going? Well, it was worth a shot.