July 9, 2009
Florida State’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will play overseas this summer in trips financed in total by Nike as part of its contract with Florida State Athletics. The men’s team will head to Spain on August 11 for games stretching from August 13-22nd and the women’s team will depart for South Africa on August 10 for games from the 12th to the 19th.
“The overseas trips are excellent opportunities to develop both as a team and as an individual player,” said FSU head men’s coach Leonard Hamilton. “We get additional practice days and we will be competing against some semi-pro teams so you get to know a lot more about your players than you normally would. There is a pretty strong correlation between getting these international experiences and the development of your program down the road.”
As part of Florida State’s contract, the entire trip for both teams are funded by Nike which sponsors international tours for universities every four years.
“We consider this a great opportunity for our players education both as basketball players and as students,” said head women’s basketball coach Sue Semrau. “I know our players are excited and it will be a great opportunity to see parts of the world they might not ever get the chance to visit. We appreciate Nike selecting Florida State to take the trips this year.”
FSU’s men’s team advanced to the ACC Championship game for the first time in school history last season and played in the NCAA Tournament. The men will return three starters from last year’s 25-10 squad. The women’s team tied for first in the ACC regular season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive season after finishing with their most ACC wins (12) in school history.
“We are happy our teams are getting this opportunity to play internationally,” said Randy Spetman, Director of Athletics at Florida State. “The international basketball market is very important to Nike and they have a strong commitment to making it possible for partner schools to play overseas. It should be a great experience for our teams.”
Q & A: Angel Gray (WBB)
Q: What do you think this trip will do for the Women’s Basketball Program at Florida State?
A: I think this tournament will be a great eye-opener for this program. Not just leaving the country and participating in a tournament, but learning about each other as players and individuals. This will be a great opportunity for a team that is coming together after graduating two starters and leading scorers. This allows us the time to put things together and work out any kinks that we might have. This will be a great learning experience for us.
Q: How does it make you feel to know that Nike is helping fund this trip?
A: Nike has always been a great sponsor and has always given us only the elite of everything. I am honored and happy that they are willing to fund this. Not many girls leave the country and have the opportunity to compete. This allows us to have lifelong memories and we are very grateful for it.
Q: What are you looking forward to most about going overseas?
A: I am looking forward to two things: experiencing a different culture and surrounding while experiencing it with my team and support staff as well as playing together for the first time this season with a very hungry and talented group of girls.
Q: How is this experience going to help you improve as a student-athlete?
A: I believe this will help me improve as a student-athlete because when we go out of town, state, or country we are focused on ball when we need to focuso n ball and we also make time to experience the life and atmosphere of the area we are in. We always leave learning something new and leaving with an even more grateful and humbled heart.
Q: Do you think this will serve as a good bonding experience for your team and will that carry over into the upcoming season?
A: Of course this is a great bonding experience for this team. As girls, we feel more comfortable when we know who we are around. We love being around each other and this is an opportunity to experience something that we will remember for years to come. I am certain that this will bring us even closer together — not only on the court but off the court as well.