Dan Majerle, GCU basketball traveling overseas

Aug 14, 2013, 9:20 PM | Updated: 9:21 pm

The season — the school’s first in Division I joining the Western Athletic Conference — is still more than two months away, yet Grand Canyon University is about to embark on its longest road trip of the year.

First-year head coach Dan Majerle, the former Suns star and assistant coach, is taking his squad on an exhibition tour in Europe.

“I think it’s great because being the first year with me and a whole new coaching staff, new players — it’s going to be more of a team bonding thing, getting to know everybody,” he said.

GCU leaves Wednesday for what will be a 10-day venture to Italy and Greece, playing two games in each country.

“You get to see these guys play. I haven’t really seen them play (outside of practice),” Majerle said. “You get some game experience. You get to mix with some lineups. But I think the biggest thing is the practice situation and then just being over there bonding and getting everybody used to each other.”

With five new players, including transfers Jeremy Adams (Colorado) and Demetrius Walker (New Mexico, also played at ASU after leading Phoenix St. Mary’s to a state championship in 2009), Majerle is less concerned about wins and losses.

“It’s more about seeing our guys play, putting in a system, getting them used to getting up and down and playing against other players — and then just me evaluating our players because I didn’t really see them play last year and I haven’t seen them in a game setting,” he said.

And after five seasons on an NBA sideline, Majerle added the trip will be a good teaching tool for him as well.

“To go over there and see them play against other competition, 5-on-5 and (give) me a chance to experience coaching at the college level instead of the professional level, it’s going to be a good experience for me too,” he said noting the shot clock (35 vs. 24 seconds), game length (40 vs. 48 minutes) and timeout differences.

The journey across the Atlantic Ocean will also allow for some sight-seeing. The team is planning on visiting the Vatican and Colosseum in Rome and the Acropolis in Athens.

Basketball though is the main focus.

“This is a business for me,” Majerle said. “I’ve got a lot of high expectations on myself and our coaching staff and I like it that way. They expect great things out of us, so this is strictly business. I’m going over there to get a job done.”


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