(WINDSOR, ON) – The University of Windsor men’s basketball team recently returned home from the program’s first-ever foreign tour. The team spent eight days, including travel, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, taking in the sights while also competing against three pro level club basketball teams.
The team arrived early in the morning of September 2 and did not waste any time taking in the sights. They navigated local transit throughout the trip to sights, practices, and games, and the team toured downtown Amsterdam with a local guide, spending time learning about the culture.
As an added benefit, Dutch native Pim Hurkmans, family and friends, and Damian Persaud’s cousin, who lives in Amsterdam, helped the players learn even more about the host city.
“The Amsterdam trip was an amazing amazing experience on and off the court,” said Hurkmans. “I’m grateful to have been able to play in front of family and friends in my homeland, giving them the chance to see our team play and succeed. It was an unforgettable trip. Thank you to everybody that made this trip happen.”
After practicing on September 3, the team got to play their first game the next day against Club Harlemlakers. After a back and forth 1st half, the Lancers controlled the second half with some great team basketball, leading to a 72-65 win.
This win was followed by two more victories in the next two days. First the team defeated BC Apollo 81-67 and then Grasshoppers Katwijk 78-70. In each of these games, the Lancers trailed by double digits before rallying for solid wins. As well, every player on the trip played and contributed as head coach Chris Oliver was able to provide FIBA pro game experience to his full squad.
“Having the opportunity to tour the city of Amsterdam and compete against professional teams was amazing,” said 4th year transfer Marcus Jones. “I am incredibly grateful to have shared this experience with my team.”
Long time team leader, fifth year player, Mike Rocca appreciated the experience and support the team got from so many people.
“As players we are extremely blessed and grateful to have a support system in the men’s basketball program and the university that will work hard to provide athletes with life changing experiences,”said 5th year guard Mike Rocca. “Not only was it a great basketball trip but it taught us so much about different cultures, and that is something we will cherish for the rest of our lives.”
Windsor will continue preparing for the upcoming season, using these three games and the two August victories vs NCAA teams, as a foundation.
“A special thank you to those who supported the trip financially,” said Oliver. “We could not have done this without some generous supporters. Truth be told, we did not cover all our costs, but as we approach our annual phone-a-thon fundraising campaign I hope you will consider supporting our basketball program.”