Every four years the NCAA allows college teams to take a preseason trip in a foreign country. These trips usually happen right now in August, just right before school starts. The trips are a good bonding experience for the team’s players to come together. They also gain extra practices with coaches love since there are so many resections and freshman get a taste of college basketball. How much better teams get, because of these trip remains to be seen, but it doesn’t hurt. Some of the teams are playing are good teams such as national teams and some of the other teams are awful.
In the coming days, I will update you on how certain teams did on their trips, and what players stood out. Today I look at Illinois, the only team in the Big Ten to take such a trip.
Villanova (1-4) France, Netherlands
The Wildcats finished their trip with a disappointing 1-4 record, although the play a lot of national teams unlike a lot of other teams taking foreign trips. This season the Wildcats will lean on their three best players Maalik Wayns, Dominic Cheek, and Mouphtaou Yarou. On the trip these where the only players, that averaged in double figures. Cheek led the way averaging 15.6 ppg, Wayans was next at 14.4 ppg, and followed by Yarou. Cheek struggled last year and only scored 5.6 ppg, so hopefully for the Wildcats he plays like he did on the foreign trip this season. He was deadly from three. Wayans was hard to defend off the dribble and Yarou was a monster on the glass.
The Wildcats need another player to step up, but on this trip a few players had good moments but they were inconsistent in all 5 games. These players included freshman guards Darrun Hilliard, Achraf Yacoubou, and freshman forwards Markus Kennedy Jayvaughn Pinkston. Maurice Sutton and James Bell didn’t do much on the trip. Lastly highly touted freshman Tyrone Johnson did not play because of injuries.
West Virginia (4-0) Italy
West Virginia won every game on its trip, and were hardly challenged. Forward Kevin Jones is West Virginia’s best returning player, and on this trip he proved that averaging 20.5 ppg. Deniz Kilicli will need to score more inside this season, on the trip he averaged 14 ppg last season he only averaged 6.6. Darryl Bryant was status quo; he averaged 14.2 ppg on the trip. These are clearly West Virginia’s three best players and they prove that on this trip.
They will need other players to step up. Freshman swingman Keaton Miles started and averaged 6.75 ppg. Freshman forward Pat Forsythe did so averaging 7.25 ppg on the trip. Fellow freshman forward Tommie McCune also played well 5.5 ppg. Kevin Noreen, and JUCO transfer Dominique Rutledge also played decent on the trip. True freshman Aaron Brown started, but only averaged 3 ppg. Freshman guards Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne didn’t play because of academics, but they will be ready for the season.
Georgetown (3-0) China
This trip will no doubt be remembered for the brawl in one of the games, but let’s stick to the play on the court. Guard Jason Clark, the Hoyas best returning player was that on the trip averaging 15 ppg. The next leading scorer on the trip was freshman Jabril Trawick who scored 12 ppg. . This is huge the Hoyas need another scorer in the backcourt Hollis Thompson averaged 11 ppg; he averaged 9 ppg last season. Highly touted freshman forward Otto Porter did not disappoint on the trip averaging 10.5 ppg.
The Hoyas need Henry Sims and Nate Lubick to score more, and Sims scored 9 ppg and Lubick added 6 ppg. Markel Starks, a guard started and scored 8.3 ppg. Freshman big man Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins also played a lot and played well.
Louisville (2-0) Bahamas
The Cardinals didn’t face much competition on the trip, but still there were plenty of good signs lots of players scored in double figures. Leading the way was a surprise guard Russ Smith; he was hurt most of last season. He averaged 18 ppg on the trip. The next leading scorer was highly touted freshman Chane Behanan; he averaged 15.5 ppg. Next sharp shooter Kyle Kuric finished with 15 ppg. Peyton Siva could have scored more, but he only averaged 13 ppg on the trip.
Mike Marra, another deadly shooter; averaged 13 ppg. Freshman Angel Nunez averaged 12 ppg on the trip. Sharp shooting guard Chris Smith averaged 11 ppg on the trip. Gorgui Dieng and Zach Price freshman also played well.