Next Stop: Paris, London

May 13, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Over the past three years, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team has visited Cancun, New York City, and the Virgin Islands. In 2013, the Hawkeyes’ travel itinerary includes trips to the Bahamas (Battle 4 Atlantis), Paris, and London.

Every four years, the NCAA allows teams to take a foreign trip, which gives teams an opportunity to play exhibition games and conduct 10 full team practices. This August, Iowa will be traveling to Paris and London.

“We are going to bring Gabe home and give him and our team an opportunity to see his family and friends,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for all of us.”

Olaseni, who will be a junior next season, is excited for the opportunity to travel home with Hawkeye family.

“My parents and siblings haven’t been able to watch me in college,” said Olaseni, a 6-foot-10 center. “It will be cool to introduce them to my coaches and teammates. Also, show them how we play as a team and hopefully pick up a few wins and grow as a team in the process.”

The team itinerary is still in the works, but McCaffery says the team will play five or six games against international competition.

“Six is probably one too many, but we have so many guys to get playing time that I wouldn’t mind if there were six just to make sure certain players play enough minutes,” McCaffery said.

Olaseni says the timing of this foreign trip falls at a good time with the additions of freshman Peter Jok, transfer Jarrod Uthoff and redshirt Kyle Meyer.

“Traveling with teammates builds camaraderie; you really get to know your teammates off the court,” said Olaseni. “It will be a good team experience.”

This summer will be the fourth time McCaffery will take a team overseas, once at Notre Dame as an assistant and as a head coach at Siena and UNC-Greensboro. The Irish and Saints both traveled to Italy, while McCaffery took his Greensboro squad to Scandinavia (Norway and Sweden).

“These trips give you the opportunity to look at different aspects of a press, defense, and players at different positions with essentially no ramifications that are anything but positive,” said McCaffery. “These trips also build camaraderie from being together in a foreign country for 12 days and how you come together. I’m hopeful that this is a tremendous opportunity for us to come together and become a team that has the ability to be special.”

McCaffery says each of the three previous foreign trips had a beneficial impact on the teams’ success that season.

“When we went to Italy with Notre Dame, it was the coming out party for Pat Garrity,” said McCaffery. “After our summer trip overseas, the next season he was the Big East Player of the Year. We made a huge jump in our record.

“When I was with Greensboro, we ended up winning 20 games and the regular season championship and were invited to the NIT. At Siena, we were a championship team who wanted to come back and be a championship team. We wanted to take it to the next level and that was the year we beat Ohio State in the first round in 2009 in the NCAA Tournament, and almost beat top-seeded Louisville in the second round. I equate that experience with our opportunities we had the previous summer.

McCaffery is hopeful the Hawkeyes will have a continuation of that success in 2013.