They say teams come together when they go on the road.
If that is indeed the case, then ASU should be the most together team once its upcoming road trip is completed. At least, that’s the hope as the Sun Devils ready themselves for an 11-day summer tour to China.
“Aside from being goodwill ambassadors from ASU and America, we’re really looking forward to the fact that we can come together as a team in a different setting. It should be a tremendous bonding opportunity for us,” head coach Herb Sendek said.
The trip is part of the Pac-12’s Globalization Initiative, which according to the conference is designed to proactively promote the member universities through student-athlete exchanges and sport.
UCLA made the inaugural trip last year. This year, it’s ASU’s turn.
“We’re excited to be able to play a small part in what our university is doing to brand itself around the world,” Sendek said.
As part of the tour, the Sun Devils will play three games against Chinese university teams.
Preparation for those games began Monday with the first of ten practices the NCAA affords teams ahead of offseason international competition.
“Any time you’re playing competitive basketball with refs and other teams who want to beat you, it’s a positive,” sophomore Jahii Carson said.
The trip, scheduled to run August 9-19, extends well beyond the court.
Plans are in place for Carson and his teammates to visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall; plus there will be further time spent together given the uncertainty of cell phone reception.
“We’re going to have to get close to each other, read some books, tell some stories or something because the Internet, Twitter and Facebook is not going to be available for us,” Carson said, smiling. “I hope that gets us some more team camaraderie, so we can get that going during the season. Hopefully it’s helpful.”
Added Jordan Bachynski, who visited China earlier this summer playing for the Canadian Development National Team, “We’re going to have to interact. We’re going to have to do more than be on our phones. I love these guys and it’s going to be even better when we spend even more time with each other.”