Spain trip is a success for Xavier Men’s Basketball

A manager and player share their favorite parts of the overseas journey

Xavier basketball’s trip to Spain provided a meaningful experience not just for the players, but for the team managers too.

The team traveled to Barcelona and Madrid and played three exhibition games against Spain Select, a collection of professional basketball players in the country.

For fourth-year walk-on Leighton Schrand and senior manager Nate Bohn, the trip to Spain was their maiden voyage to Europe.

“I really liked it because it was so different than what we are used to,” Bohn said about the venue where the first game took place. “This was unique because there were maybe 200 seats, tops. We were sweating like no other (and) couldn’t understand what the other team was saying.”

Schrand said his favorite part of the trip was visiting the beach in Barcelona and trying different foods he normally wouldn’t have attempted to eat stateside.

Bohn’s favorite part of the trip was mostly tourist-oriented.

“Besides the culture differential, I really loved the scenery,” Bohn recalled. “I am not a big soccer guy, or fútbol guy in this case, but getting to see where FC Barcelona and Real Madrid play was amazing. Getting to walk out onto the pitch and spin around imagining 100,000 people cheering you on was wild.”

He also enjoyed the fascinating street designs, the Spanish architecture and a large park that took him and fellow manager John Witt a while to traverse.

Bohn believes he was more adventurous than normal while he was in Spain, especially when popping into shops. He remembered one specific moment that stood out in his mind while he was eating at a pub in Madrid.

“The place wasn’t very packed and a few of us went together,” he said. “There was some real low-level professional soccer on (television) in the corner that I didn’t think anyone was watching. Sure enough, a few minutes later, one of the teams scored and the pub erupted. I still couldn’t really explain what was taking place, but it was really cool to be in that environment.”

The trip allowed the team to receive quality bonding time together as they begin to jell as a unit before the season starts. Schrand mentioned the team dealt with on-court adversity as the season is still in its infancy, but the Musketeers crossed the pond and came away with three victories.

“It definitely helped us bond,” Schrand said. “Going to Spain allowed us all to experience a new culture together and not only on the trip, but before having practices as well.”

The managers, who assist the team in a variety of ways, echoed similar statements.

“I do really think the team bonded together in Spain,” Bohn said. “Being as none of our guys know any Spanish, it really was #JustUs. It’s been really great to see how our team chemistry has grown already … I’m excited for everyone else to get to see that chemistry when we get out on the court.”

Now that Xavier men’s basketball has completed its overseas adventure, it returns home where it will focus on the upcoming season and gear up for the opener in early November.

By Luke Feliciano & Tim Kramer | Sports Editor & Staff Writer