Several members of the men’s basketball team took their training around the country and across the world this summer.
The Bulldogs will return to practice this fall with experience playing in New York City, Dallas, China and Europe.
Within the United States, Armani Cotton ’15 and Justin Sears ’16 played in the NYC Pro-Am, a summer basketball league, while Nick Victor ’16 played in the Dallas Pro-Am. Anthony Dallier ’17 and Sam Downey ’17 toured Chongqing, Guangzhou and Liaoning in China with the 2014 World Vision Sports USA Select Team. Seniors Javier Duren ’15 and Matt Townsend ’15 went on an August tour together and played in Europe.
“We got to play players with very different skill sets than those of American players,” Downey said. “The international style of play really helped [Dallier’s] and my game.”
Downey and Dallier competed in a four-nation tournament against teams from Australia, China and Slovenia. The three-week tour included sightseeing at some major tourist attractions, including the Great Wall in Beijing.
In addition to the tournament, Downey and Dallier’s team also played games against Chinese professional teams.
“Playing basketball there was culturally enriching,” Dallier said. “Just being able to play and hang out with some of the players from those countries really opened our eyes to other parts of the world.”
Both Elis agreed that the experience would give them an edge going into this season.
Cotton and Sears brought their play to New York City to battle seasoned athletes, including other college players and professional players from the NBA and abroad, in the NYC Pro-Am League.
“These past two years have been great playing in the Pro-Am,” Sears said. “The level of play is tougher since we are playing elite competition every night. The players are stronger, faster and, most importantly, more experienced than the players [Cotton] and I will encounter in the Ivy League.”
Sears worked around a wrist injury from early in the summer. He was unable to use his right hand for three months.
According to Sears, the injury proved constructive because he used the disadvantage to improve his overall dexterity by practicing with his left hand and figuring out new ways to score on the court.
“I should be fully recovered when the season starts,” he said. “I hope the summer working on my left hand will prove beneficial on the court.”
The Bulldogs will put their training to the test during the season opener at Quinnipiac on November 14.