Northridge, Calif. – Fifteen members of the 2012-13 Cal State Northridge men's basketball team will experience a memorable trip to a foreign country when the Matadors head to Canada for a six-day, four-game, sightseeing tour of America's friend to the North.
The team (which will be based in Vancouver, British Columbia) will depart Los Angeles on August 21 and return home on August 26.
"The trip to Canada is a great opportunity to grow and allow the players to get to know each other as a basketball team in terms of camaraderie and team spirit," said Bobby Braswell, who will be entering his 17th season as head coach at Cal State Northridge in 2012-13. "It's also important, with so many new players, to see them in a competitive environment early. We will have an opportunity to install our system and the style we want to play in the upcoming season (2012-13)."
Twelve of the 15 Matador players have never been to Canada. The list includes two-year veteran guard Josh Greene (6-0, 180, Guard, 12/4 ppg, 3.2 rpg). "My favorite musical artist (Drake) is from Canada," said Greene, who gained Big West Honorable Mention honors last year. "I am really looking forward to the trip. I've been told Canada is a lot like the United States. This is my first time out of the country. It's going to be exciting."
Of the three other players (Stephan Hicks, Landon Drew and Grey Cooksey) who have visited Canada, Hicks doesn't remember his first trip; he was only five-years-old when his family traveled to Vancouver.
"I am really excited about the trip and to experience the culture of another country," said Hicks, who gained Big West Honorable Mention honors last year in averaging 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. "The last time there I was only five-years-old. This time, I will now be able to come back home and tell my family about our experiences."
Games are scheduled against Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo (August 22), Victoria Select at the University of Victoria (August 23), Quest University in Squamish (August 24) and the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford (August 25). During their free time, the team will have an opportunity to sightsee extensively to such possible areas as Victoria (Swartz Bay), the city of Vancouver (Stanley Park, Granville Island, Robson Street), the Capilano Suspension Bridge (a swaying bridge 230 feet above a gorge), and the Grouse Mountains that will provide a breathtaking view of the skyline and city of Vancouver. To get to the Grouse Mountains, you need to take a gondola.
"Canada is a beautiful country," said Braswell, who also traveled with the Matador basketball team to Canada several years ago. "There are several sightseeing tours planned which will give the team an opportunity to experience a different cultural. Sometimes we forget the importance of a college experience. The Canadian trip will be an experience that will last a lifetime. The trip won't be about winning and losing, but more about team building."
In preparation of the trip, the Matadors will have ten days of practice before departing for Canada, allowing the new players to blend in with the returning lettermen.
Game scheduling and tour coordination is being handled by Basketball Travelers, Inc., a company established in 1985 to arrange domestic and international basketball competition. More than 200 collegiate and high school teams participate annually and in tours and tournaments organized by Basketball Tournament, Inc.
The NCAA allows teams to travel to a foreign country for a summer tour every four years.
Cal State Northridge is among several men's and women's basketball teams from the West that are also traveling abroad this summer to various countries around the world. The teams include Big West rivals UC Davis and Pacific, and several men's teams from the Pacific-12 Conference including Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, Washington and Washington State.
During the six-game trip, Bob Vazquez (Assistant Athletic Director, Media Relations) and Lior Schwartzberg (Director of Basketball Operations) will provide daily reports, photos, game results and videos along with the assistance of head coach Bobby Braswell and his coaching staff, and the Matador players. Those daily reports will be featured on gomatadors.com, Twitter and Facebook.
The Matadors will be vastly improved team in 2012-13. Ten lettermen return including the team's top three scorers, and top two rebounders. The 1-2 scoring threat of Stephan Hicks (6-5, 190, G/F, 15.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Josh Greene (6-0, 180, Guard, 12.4 ppg) return, along with Stephen Maxwell (6-5, 215, Forward, 8.6 ppg, 6/4 rpg).
Matador Memo …
FIBA rules, not NCAA rules, will be the norm in Canada … Several game changes will include four, 10-minute periods; the court dimensions will be more than three feet shorter than American basketball courts; the shot clock will be 24 seconds instead of 35 seconds; and the three-point line will be 22'-1.7", not 20'9" … Twenty-three percent of Canadians use French as its first language … If language becomes a problem for the Matadors, you can always rely on guard Allan Guei (5-9, 160, Guard), who speaks fluent French.