The Cal Poly men’s basketball team will get the chance to study history and basketball abroad when it travels to France next month.
Seventh-year head coach Joe Callero and his team will tour France over eight days, with three exhibition games against foreign competition sprinkled in, from Aug. 8-16.
“The players want to play games, they want to experience international travel and I love the travel portion and the coaching games portion,” Callero said in a news release.
The Mustangs coach says he will take advantage of the extra playing and practice time. Most teams aren’t able to begin organized practices until later in the year, but NCAA programs are allowed one foreign tour ever four years that comes with the added benefit of 10 extra days of practice.
“These extra 10 days of practice will help with our conditioning level, with the freshman understanding the intensity practice is going to take and it allows the returners to get in shape during the middle of summer,” Callero said.
In past years, Cal Poly has traveled to Costa Rica (2011) and Australia (2007).
“I haven’t really traveled much so seeing new places is a real big difference for me,” freshman guard Jaylen Shead, who grew up in Texas, said in a school-issued video.
It will be a homecoming, of sorts, for senior forward Joel Awich.
“I lived in Switzerland, so I think it will definitely be cool to go back to Europe,” said Awich, who speaks and understands French. “It’s going to be a fun trip.”
On top of adjusting to a new language, the players will also need to adjust to different rules. The games will be played under FIBA rules, which means a shorter shot clock and longer 3-point shots. Callero says the shorter shot clock will help players adjust to the new NCAA shot clock time. In the upcoming season, the shot clock will shrink from 35 seconds to 30 seconds.
But the trip isn’t all about basketball. The Mustangs will also tour historical sites in Paris and travel to D-Day landing sites along the coast of Normandy.
“International experiences make people more wordly which makes them more mature,” Callero said.
Cal Poly begins its 2015-16 season on the road with a Friday, Nov. 13 matchup at UNLV.