The Pioneers returned to Denver after going 4-2 in their 13-day tour of Spain
DENVER - The University of Denver men's basketball team posted an impressive 4-2 record during a recent 13-day tour of Spain.
The Pioneers beat a Second Division team (Lobe Huesca), a pair of Third Division teams (C.B. Illescas and Caja de Avila), and a Fourth Division team (Real Canoe N.C.). Denver's only defeats came to Cajasol Sevilla and Lagun Aro GBC, which both play in the ACB - Spain's top professional division...Complete Story.
Men's Basketball Blogs:
Sept. 2: San Sebastian, Part 2
Sept. 3: Illescas
Sept. 4: Adios Espana
Hooper's World Photo Galleries:
Senior forward Andrew Hooper shot more than 2,000 photos of the Pioneers' trip to Spain. These are some of the best pictures, and his description of the experience:
The overall experience of traveling from one country to another can be explained in great detail by just a few words alone, but when photographs are taken, the experience becomes that much more detailed. Through photographs, I feel experiences and emotions can be felt much more deeply than if we just recalled everything that went on in a few paragraphs. The saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" held true once again on our trip to Spain. We started off traveling to Dallas, then making our way to Madrid, where we took a 2 hours bus tour of the city while only living on a few measly hours of sleep. We then traveled to Toledo, Barcelona, Andorra, took a stroll into the south of France, San Sebastian, and finally made our way back to Madrid. The pictures were taken at random, and I did not really know what I was going to shoot that day, or whether I was going to even take photographs or not. Every day became an adventure trying to come up with themes, ideas and ways of shooting the cities differently, so that the pictures would not all look the exact same. What made the photographs stand out most was not necessarily how I shot them by any means, but who and what was in them. Capturing the expressions of my fellow teammates as well as coaches, along with the beautiful architecture that was in front of us every day, made each photograph unique. Having taken over 2,000 photographs in a two-week period was a little bit excessive to some of my teammates, as I literally captured everything in sight, but in the long run this was an experience of a lifetime for all of those of us who went. I would not have done anything different while taking these photographs. Capturing the essence of Spain was not necessarily hard to do, as they literally wear their cultural pride on their sleeves for everyone to see. Learning to look through a lens allowed me to concentrate on the ornate details of what each city had to offer, as well as see my teammates in a different light than I might have seen otherwise. Overall I would say that being the "designated photographer" was an experience that I will never forget, as well as one that I will cherish for a long time to come.
In order to give everyone the players' perspective of the trip, Coach Scott asked senior guard Kyle Lewis to write a journal.
Assisted by Justin Coughlin
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - Day One - Plane Flight
After 10 days of competitive practice, we were all ready to take our talents to the international level. The much anticipated day had finally arrived and spirits were high as we finished packing in the locker room and boarded the bus for the airport. The first leg of the trip consisted of a two-hour flight to Dallas, where we had a short lay-over before we boarded our nine-hour flight across the Atlantic to Madrid, Spain. The flight proved to be very grueling and seemed to never end, as some players tried to pass time by sleeping while other listened to music or read books. Trevor Noonan and Justin Coughlin got to enjoy each other's company, sitting side by side in small seats with no leg room, making it impossible to sleep, while the much shorter Brian Stafford sprawled his legs out in the exit row in the front of the plane...what a team player. Nine long hours later we arrived in Madrid at about 10 a.m. local time. Although we were physically exhausted, we were mentally excited and ready to start the adventure that we had been looking forward to for so long.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - Day Two - Arrival at Spain
Once we had completed our long flight to Madrid, we gathered up our bags and proceeded to get onto a bus for a tour of Madrid. It was a very strange feeling, having it be midday in Spain while our heads were telling us it was the middle of the night because of the lack of sleep we got on the plane. Nonetheless, we accepted the tour with open arms and everyone was snapping pictures from the bus as the tour guide explained every detail of the city as we drove by. We started by passing some of the training facilities of the famous Real Madrid soccer team, which is the most widely known sports team in Spain. Although we are not all big soccer fans, it was interesting for us to get a taste of their sports culture right off the bat and learn how they view their teams in Spain. We proceeded down the busy streets, viewing many different buildings and important historical sites such as the cathedrals and gardens that were used as places of retirement by the Spanish royal family. We also saw monuments to King Charles V and a large fountain as a monument to Christopher Columbus. We finished the tour by heading north through the city and viewing the many embassies of other countries such as the United States and Portugal.
After the tour had ended, we checked into our hotel, the Husa Chamartín, and went up to our rooms for a much needed two-hour nap before we hit the city for a taste of the night life and some exploring of the shops and other delicacies of Madrid. After we walked around for a little bit it was time to eat, and the Denver Pioneers were not looking their best with Justin Coughlin puking all over the beautiful Plaza Mayor while Andrew Hooper and Alex Pickert got lost on their way to the restaurant due to Hooper's ambitious photography of the city. Our first dinner took place at an Italian Restaurant called Garbo's, which was very good with unique food that many of the players had not had before. After a great meal we got back on the bus and retired in our hotel for a long night of sound sleep that was enjoyed by everyone.
Thursday, August 26, 2010 - Day Three- Game Face
The Pioneers woke up with a new mindset on day three as this was the first game day of the trip. After a fulfilling team breakfast at the buffet in the hotel we departed for the court of Real Canoe to shoot around and get our blood flowing a little bit in order to be ready for the night's game. Nobody really knew what to expect when we walked into the small recreation center, but we were all a little taken aback when we saw the gym in all of its glory. Needless to say it was a little bit old and out of shape, but it was still a basketball court so we were still all excited to play. Alex Pickert had everyone fooled into believing that the floor was made from the wood of Christopher Columbus' ship and Blake Foeman stated, "This must be the spot where basketball was invented." All jokes aside, it was nice to get on the court and run around while getting out bodies prepared for the ensuing game that night. After about an hour on the court, we were getting dressed and ready to go when about 30 "chicos muy jovenes" (young children) rushed the court asking for autographs and pictures with all of us. After about 20 minutes of mingling with the kids, it was time to head back to the hotel and rest up for the game. At 4:30 that afternoon we walked across the street from the hotel and enjoyed a pre-game meal of Coach Scott's famous Pasta and Chicken. It's funny how no matter where we go in the world, the pre-game meal always ends up being Pasta and Chicken. After a quick meal, we headed back to the room for a little rest and relaxation before we departed for our 9 p.m. game against Real Canoe.
Though the age difference between teams was very significant (us being much younger), we knew that we could rise to the occasion and play hard. It was a hot gym where things did not always go our way, but we pushed through our fatigue and jetlag and ran away with a 15-point victory over Real Canoe. Although we did not perform as well as we could have, we were still glad to get that first game under our belts and start to move on to even bigger and better things. We ended the night at a nice tapas restaurant where we were generously treated to many dishes of new food that we had not had before. We all enjoyed it a lot and the third day was definitely a success.
Friday, August 27, 2010 - Day Four - Road to Toledo
After a great night of sleep, we woke up excited for a day of traveling and touring the beautiful city of Toledo. This was a much anticipated day by many of us because we had all heard great thing about Toledo and how interesting and historic it is. Despite an hour ride on the bus to get to Toledo, we were all astonished as we pulled into the medieval, gated city. We took a 15-minute bus tour to get a panoramic view of the city and take some pictures of the breathtaking buildings and architecture that resides in Toledo. We soon got out of the bus and went on a guided tour of the city, walking through many alley ways and streets to view amazing cathedrals and old churches. We learned that a lot of the architecture of the more than 80 churches in the city was Roman, but the words on the buildings were written in Arabic, which showed the vast varieties of cultures and religions. Toledo is known as the melting pot of Spain because it contains people and culture from the Muslim, Christian and Judaic background. We were all blown away when we turned a corner and viewed the richest cathedral in the world. We learned that this cathedral took 270 years to build and it did not disappoint, as it was one of the most magnificent things we had seen yet. After we ended our tour, we went our separate ways for about an hour to do some shopping and get some lunch. At our table we all enjoyed some pizza and refreshments, as Blake Foeman ordered a unique dish of Rabbit by bunny hopping to the waitress because of his lack of Spanish vocabulary. While he was enjoying his food, he pulled a vintage Blake moment by letting the salt shaker slip through his hands which scared him into spilling his drink all over himself and half of the table. Needless to say it was an interesting meal and we were all content by the time it was over, except for Hooper, Noonan and Rob who had to scramble to get some food in time because they had been shopping for daggers. After our great experience in Toledo we hopped back on the bus and made our way to Zaragoza.
Saturday, August 28, 2010 - Day Five - A Day of Traveling
The team woke up around 10 a.m., ready for the three-hour bus ride to Benasque to play against a second division professional team. The bus ride consisted of so many different jokes and stories about the previous night in Zaragoza. Everyone agreed, hands down, that the joke of the night went to Brian Stafford when he uncharacteristically threw Coach Scott off guard. Coach Scott made a comment about how everyone was wearing jeans and had spiked hair heading into 80-degree weather. The team responded with "When in Spain..." (Taken from the famous quote 'When in Rome, do as the Romans'); however, Brian jumped at the opportunity to strike back by saying, "Well not everyone can have the permanent comb over." It was the first time in my three years at DU that I have seen Coach Scott speechless and not prepared with a quick and witty response. Good job B-Staff! Another interesting story from the previous night occurred during dinner at an Italian restaurant in Zaragoza. The team was dropped off in the downtown area of Zaragoza where we were given some time to enjoy the beautiful city. After Andrew Hooper took nearly 500 pictures, we stumbled across an Italian restaurant where we decided to sit down and order quickly. To say the least, the team was exhausted and famished. While eating dinner, a group of girls came over to talk and ask questions. After several attempts in both Spanish and English, we managed to understand "Cuantos años tienen?" (How old are you guys?). We told them to guess, and to our amazement they said they thought we were between 23 and 25 years of age. It was the first time this clean-shaven, baby-faced team was given any credit for being more than 18 years old. I never thought I would be here to see this day.
After all the stories on the three-hour bus drive to Benasque, it was time for us to get our game faces on and start to prepare for the night's game. We stopped at a restaurant to grab our pregame meal of Coach Scott's famous dish, Chicken and Pasta. Then we departed from the restaurant and headed to the gym. The team we played this night, Lobe Huesca, recently signed a former NBA player, George Leach, so we knew this was not going to be an easy game. It was a battle until the final minutes of the game, as we stole a two-point victory. We walked away from this game with a few important lessons and new rules to remember while we continue our journey in Spain. Rule No. 1 - when you are at the free-throw line, you are more than welcome to walk around and distract the shooter during his "free" shots. Rule No. 2 - you cannot catch the ball and dribble at the same time. You must catch the ball, come to a complete stop, then dribble before you move either foot. Rule No. 3 - If you are driving to the basket for a layup, feel free to pick the ball up and run without dribbling until you reach the basket. There will be no traveling violations of any sort. These may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is not far from the truth. After our game ended, we gathered our things and began yet another journey to Barcelona. Along the way, we had to stop along the side of the road and eat in order to honor the rule in Spain that says you cannot eat on the tour buses. We arrived at the beautiful city of Barcelona late that night and got a good night's sleep with anticipation of what we were going to do the next day.
Sunday, August 29, 2010 - Day Six - Fun in Barcelona
We woke up around 10 a.m. the next morning, fully rested and ready to start our day. After a nice breakfast we all were doing pushups in the hallway together in order to be fully prepared for the time we would spend at the beach. Once we had all gotten our things together, we got on the bus and took a tour of the city including downtown and some other monuments that are very popular in Barcelona. We were able to get out of the bus and walk around a massive cathedral that has been under construction since the 1920s. The cathedral is expected to be ordained by the Pope in November so the place was buzzing with tourists snapping photos of the amazing architecture. While walking around the cathedral, a small child (2 or 3 years of age) had the misfortune of running too close to Rob Lewis only to be knocked off balance and fall to the ground. Unfortunately for Rob, the child's mother ran to her rescue to see Rob standing over the child with a concerned look on his face. In a moment of panic and lack of Spanish, Rob responded with "muy bien, gracias," which translates to "very good, thank you," and he quickly walked away. After a few minutes to gather his thoughts and learn how to apologize in Spanish, he returned to the mother and daughter to properly express his concern and regret. Once we finished viewing the cathedral, we hopped on the bus and headed to the beach in Sitges. The water of the Mediterranean Sea was warm and beautiful, and it is safe to say that everyone who was there definitely enjoyed it. We stayed there for a couple hours then headed back to our hotel for some rest before our night out in downtown Barcelona. Our night consisted of eating and shopping on a busy, mile long stretch known as La Rambla. We went back to the hotel that night and went to bed in order to be fully rested for our game the next day against one of the best teams in Spain.
Monday, August 30, 2010 - Day Seven - No Spanish, No French
In the morning we packed up and departed for the beautiful country of Andorra. Andorra is basically a country that looks like Vail or Beaver Creek. It is full of small mountain towns with beautiful architecture and unique culture. It is located in between Spain and France, and they speak the language of Catalan. We checked into our beautiful hotel called Anyós Park which included a spa, indoor/outdoor pool, weight training facilities and hot tubs. We rested up and enjoyed the commodities of the hotel in anticipation of the game. Once 6 p.m. rolled around, we headed over to the gym for the game. After a little bit of confusion on where the gym actually was, we were ready to play the team that we had heard a lot about. The team featured a few Americans that we grew up watching during their college careers, such as Paul Davis who played at Michigan State and Tariq Kirksay who played at Iona. The team was called Cajasol Sevilla, and they did not disappoint. Although we lost by nearly 25 points, we battled until the end and got better at things that will definitely help us when the season comes around. After the game, we went out and ate a magnificent dinner at a local Italian Restaurant before we headed back to our hotel to rest up for the long day of travel ahead.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - Day Eight - When Sleeping Doesn't Pay off
The Pioneers woke up early in order to take advantage of all the amenities that the hotel provided. We used the weight room and got some "Five Star" treatment by sitting in the steam room and the massage chairs in the pool to recover our bodies from last night's game. We enjoyed ourselves in the spa for a couple hours before we packed up once again and left the beautiful mountain country en route to San Sebastian. The drive was the longest yet, but the Pioneers never fail to entertain themselves. Rob Lewis was sound asleep in his seat with his mouth wide open. Noticing this mistake, Justin Coughlin saw that Andrew Hooper had found a packet of mayonnaise and the two plotted to put the entire packet around his mouth. Hooper carefully placed the mayonnaise in Rob's mouth as Chase Hallam and Blake Foeman posed next to Rob in order for Tyler Thalken to snap photos of him. It ended up being a team effort and a huge success as Rob woke up to the discomforting taste of mayonnaise in his mouth. This made for a great laugh and helped the long trip go by that much faster. (More about this day in the next journal entry)
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 - Day Eight - When Sleeping Doesn't Pay off
Cont.- As we continued on our trek to San Sebastian, we took a different route and cut through France due to the heavy traffic we ran into on the way. In one of the cities in France, we stopped for 45 minutes to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat. Most of the guys ate a delicious plate of Lasagna to hold us over until we got to San Sebastian for dinnertime. Upon arrival at our destination in San Sebastian, we stopped by the hotel to drop our bags off and then we hopped back on the bus to head to a restaurant that served tapas; however, you could serve yourself and eat as much as you wanted. I thought of it as a Spanish version of a buffet with a ton of seafood. Afterwards, we walked around the downtown area of San Sebastian and stumbled across gold. Well, not actual gold but it was the next best thing, it the best Gelato ice cream place any of us had ever tasted before called the Gelateria. Which over the course of the next three days became the Pioneers' favorite hangout spot. The ice cream was absolutely unbelievable. After mingling around town for a while, we got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel for the night to rest up for our game the next day.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - Day Nine - Game Face at the Beach
The next morning the team woke up excited for the full day we had ahead of ourselves. After a nice breakfast we got on the bus and headed into town to enjoy the sun at the beach and the beautiful city of San Sebastian. The beach in San Sebastian had the clearest water any of the Pioneers had witnessed before. We all quickly threw our shirts off and sprinted into the 65 degree water. The majority of the guys, excluding the Lewis and Hallam Brothers, took a swim out to the dock that had a slide and a diving board. It was a little too far for my preference. I don't have that kind of stamina to swim there, exploit all my energy to enjoy the commodities and make the swim back. After an hour, we decided to get out of the sun for a few hours and walk around town. Of course, we all went back to the Gelato place to enjoy the incredibly delectable Italian ice cream. After socializing amongst one another, we went back to the hotel to rest up for the nights game against Lagun Aro GBC. After a short nap, it was time for the Coach Scott special, Chicken and Pasta. Then we departed for the game at the bullfighting arena where, "there were over 11,000 seats but only 11 fans," according to Blake Foeman. Nonetheless, our "11 fans" were the loudest fans during all of our games; we appreciated them cheering us on the entire 40 minutes. It was an elite group of fans. Dan Van Ackerman and his wife, Beth; TaRhonda (Coach McKee's wife) and the Scott family (especially Jack and Ben, Coach Scott's sons) never failed to let the officials know when they failed to make the correct call. Although the Pioneers did not walk away from tonight's game with a win, we did walk away with a better understanding of the level of physicality it takes to beat a good European team.
Once we all showered up and got dress for dinner, we went back into town for dinner at an Italian restaurant. The food was delicious and the Pioneers enjoyed every last minute of it while socializing with each other and the coaches. Coach Scott decided that for the rest of the night the team would be hanging out on our own and could do whatever we chose in the beautiful city of San Sebastian. We took advantage of this time by walking all over the downtown area including the beach where some of the guys stopped to take pictures of the beautiful view. As the night went on we quickly grew tired and decided it was time to head back but not before we stopped for one more scoop of ice cream at the Gelateria.
Thursday, September 2, 2010 - Day Ten - A Free Day
After sleeping in and catching up on some much needed rest, we decided to spend our free day at the beach. Brian Stafford did some research and found a beach on the other end of the downtown area of San Sebastian that was more popular for the younger crowds because of the waves. It was a unanimous decision to spend the day at this beach, so we all boarded the bus and headed downtown. It was an overcast day and it could not have been more than 70 degrees outside, but that did not deter the majority of the guys to head full speed into the rough water. Brian quickly got the idea to rent a boogie board to ride the waves and to show off his Cali surfing skills that most of us did not possess. What a cool guy. Even though it was not extremely warm out, it was still a great day at the beach and we had yet another awesome time together. After we left the beach, we went to a small burger joint that Coach Scott had suggested to us the day before. We were all in need of some good American food and the Disco Burger did not disappoint. Once we had all enjoyed our massive burgers we headed a couple blocks down to the now famous Gelateria to get some of the ice cream we all loved. After a full day we were all ready to head back to the hotel and take a little nap before going out to dinner with the whole group. Having decided that the Disco Burger was an excellent choice for lunch, we went back there for a second serving. The only downfall to the restaurant was that they did not serve "Papas Fritas" (French Fries) to compliment their burgers. In order to fix this problem Pat Hoxsey, Mike Kennedy and Mitch Hyder went to McDonald's to order a side of fries to take back to the restaurant to go with their burgers. Most of the guys followed their lead, thinking that it was a brilliant idea. However, the owners of the restaurant found nothing "brilliant" about it, as he took offense to us bringing in food from McDonald's into his restaurant. To say the least, we ended up having dinner on the curb outside of the restaurant. After our unusual dining experience we proceeded to get some more gelato and board the bus in order to rest up for our fifth game the next day.
Friday, September 3, 2010 - Day Eleven- Fourth Quarter Lockdown
We had all enjoyed our three-day stay in the beautiful city of San Sebastian, but now it was time to move on. We left early in the morning en route to Madrid, where we would play our final two games and spend the remainder of our trip. The bus ride went by much quicker than expected because most of the guys slept the majority of the time. After an uneventful five-hour bus ride, we finally arrived in Madrid and checked into the hotel. We rested up a little bit before heading to our pre-game meal. Anyone want to guess what it was? That's right, you got it, the Coach Scott Special. We all enjoyed the meal then packed up and headed to the game against C.B. Illescas, which was another hour long bus ride from the hotel.
We arrived at the gym with plenty of time to warm up and get our blood flowing. A couple hours later we were victorious after a great fourth quarter, when we were able to tighten up our defense and hold the opposition to only six points. Spirits were high as we boarded the bus and headed back to Madrid for some food and a good night's sleep. Unlike any other night on the trip, it was decided that we would stay in that night and order pizzas rather than going out to a restaurant. The pizzas were great and we all went to bed content and ready for our second of back-to-back game that would take place the next day.
Saturday, September 4, 2010 - Day Twelve - Saving the Best for Last
On our last day in Spain, we had a free day to enjoy to ourselves before our 6 p.m. game. The team woke up relatively early in order to catch "el Tren" (The Train) into the city to do some last minute shopping and site seeing. While the majority of the group did not buy souvenirs for their family until the last minute, Alex Pickert and Blake Foeman were completely done with shopping and decided to go visit the Cathedral. After a day full of shopping and enjoying the scenic city of Madrid, we all met up at an Italian restaurant near the hotel for our last dish of the Coach Scott Special until November. Then we departed from the Hotel Charmartín to play our last game of the trip against Caja de Avila. The emphasis on this game was being able to prove that we have the ability to be tough enough to win on back-to-back nights. It was a fight until the final minutes of the game. The Pioneers pulled away with a four-point victory. It was nice to end the trip on a positive note, as many die-heart Pioneer fans know, we have not had too many plane rides home full of joy and laughter. Even our new spot up shooter, Chris Udofia, can enjoy this one since he shot a remarkable 100 percent (1-for-1) from three-point range on the trip. Better watch out B-Staff, we might have a new shooter on the team. Nonetheless, I was proud of the way the team handled this 13 day/six game journey and showed the maturity to play hard and learn from our mistakes as each game passed. We are a better team because of it.
After the game, we went to Garbo, the famous Italian restaurant where Andrew Hooper and Alex Pickert previously got lost on the way to dinner. We enjoyed a great meal full of stories and laughter. After we finished dining, we went out and spent a couple hours roaming the beautiful downtown area of Madrid and taking pictures of our last night on the trip. We had a great night and retired back to the hotel to pack up and rest up for our long day of travel ahead.
RECAP - A Trip of a Lifetime After an 11-hour flight from Madrid to Dallas, Texas, and a two-hour flight back to the Denver International Airport, we arrived back on the DU campus around 8:30 p.m. feeling exhausted but glad to be home. The majority of the excitement came from the fact that the guys would be sleeping in their own beds, which are more suitable for the tall and lanky body type of the Pioneer players than the twin beds offered at our hotels. The next morning, Andrew Hooper stated, "watching a T.V. that I can actually understand has never felt so good." While we were all delighted to get back to our beloved personal belongings, there were countless experiences and wonderful memories that we brought back with us from Spain. From seeing Justin Coughlin's thunderstruck face as he walked into the Ocean for the first time ever, to the countless delicious tapas dinners or even to the entertainment of Coach Scott shouting Spanglish (a combination of Spanish and English) phrases to the referees will never be replaceable. Spain was truly an experience of a lifetime. Words cannot explain how much fun we all had in Spain. And with all that fun, the Pioneers grew as team and became much better with the experience we gained. There were three players who played for the first time as a Pioneer: Trevor Noonan, Blake Foeman and Chris Udofia. All three players contributed in our four wins in Spain; and even more importantly, all three became better players over the course of our six-game trip to Spain, as did the entire team as a whole. Noonan was able to dust off the cobwebs after not playing in a regulated game in over a year. He will be an essential part of the Pioneers this year as he adds a big body inside and his unbelievable passing ability. Udofia and Foeman were both thrown into the mix of their first college caliber basketball competitions. The experience we all gained was critical to the progress of this team, and the best part about the progress we have made was that it is happening in August and September rather than December and January. It is an exciting time to be apart of the Pioneer program, and we are truly grateful for all of you who have been supportive along the way. On behalf of the 2010-11 Denver Pioneers, I would like thank everyone involved in making this trip possible for us. You have all contributed to the progress of this team and making the Denver Pioneers better. This was a valuable experience for us as we are building something very special at the University of Denver. Thanks again and get excited for the upcoming season with the Denver basketball team.
RECAP - A Trip of a Lifetime
After an 11-hour flight from Madrid to Dallas, Texas, and a two-hour flight back to the Denver International Airport, we arrived back on the DU campus around 8:30 p.m. feeling exhausted but glad to be home. The majority of the excitement came from the fact that the guys would be sleeping in their own beds, which are more suitable for the tall and lanky body type of the Pioneer players than the twin beds offered at our hotels. The next morning, Andrew Hooper stated, "watching a T.V. that I can actually understand has never felt so good." While we were all delighted to get back to our beloved personal belongings, there were countless experiences and wonderful memories that we brought back with us from Spain. From seeing Justin Coughlin's thunderstruck face as he walked into the Ocean for the first time ever, to the countless delicious tapas dinners or even to the entertainment of Coach Scott shouting Spanglish (a combination of Spanish and English) phrases to the referees will never be replaceable. Spain was truly an experience of a lifetime.
Words cannot explain how much fun we all had in Spain. And with all that fun, the Pioneers grew as team and became much better with the experience we gained. There were three players who played for the first time as a Pioneer: Trevor Noonan, Blake Foeman and Chris Udofia. All three players contributed in our four wins in Spain; and even more importantly, all three became better players over the course of our six-game trip to Spain, as did the entire team as a whole. Noonan was able to dust off the cobwebs after not playing in a regulated game in over a year. He will be an essential part of the Pioneers this year as he adds a big body inside and his unbelievable passing ability. Udofia and Foeman were both thrown into the mix of their first college caliber basketball competitions. The experience we all gained was critical to the progress of this team, and the best part about the progress we have made was that it is happening in August and September rather than December and January.
It is an exciting time to be apart of the Pioneer program, and we are truly grateful for all of you who have been supportive along the way. On behalf of the 2010-11 Denver Pioneers, I would like thank everyone involved in making this trip possible for us. You have all contributed to the progress of this team and making the Denver Pioneers better. This was a valuable experience for us as we are building something very special at the University of Denver. Thanks again and get excited for the upcoming season with the Denver basketball team.