BLOG #9: The Cats Make their Way into Switzerland

Kansas State will get a jump start on its preparations for the 2016-17 men’s basketball season with a 10-day trip to Italy and Switzerland in mid-August during which it will play five games.

The Wildcats will depart on Monday, August 8 and return Friday, August 19 touring the Italian cities of Rome, Siena, Florence, Mestre, Venice, Verona and Lake Como as well as Vatican City before concluding the journey in Montreux, Lausanne and Lake Geneva, Switzerland. In addition to the cultural opportunities the tour will provide, the Wildcats will compete against various club, select and national teams, including LCC International University [August 10], BC Silute [August 11], Italian Select [August 13] the Kosovo National Team [August 16] and BBC Lausanne [August 18].

The NCAA permits teams to make an international trip once every four years and this will be the first by the men’s basketball team since Weber’s inaugural season of 2012 when it played four games in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Overall, this will be the program’s fifth trip outside the country, which includes excursions to Japan in 1981, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 1993 and Vancouver, British Columbia in 2004.

One player and a member of the staff each day will blog about their experiences in this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Senior D.J. Johnson
We spent most of the day traveling to Montreux, Switzerland. Though the bus ride was long, I enjoyed the scenery of the lakes, mountains, and alpines. I will never forget the beautiful terrain driving into the city of Montreux. Lake Geneva, similar to our previous stay at Lake Como, is a fairly large lake, with fresh blue water, enclosed by the Swiss and French Alps. There are many attractions around the lake such as restaurants, shops, and water sport rentals. Zach (Winter), Austin (Budke), Pierson (McAtee), and myself went paddle-boarding on the lake for an hour or so. It was a great time for all us. We had a fun time paddling up and down the bay. Being on Lake Geneva has been the most relaxing experience I have had on the trip. It's a memory I will always have. 

Deputy Athletics Director Laird Veatch
When we woke up this morning, I admittedly was not looking forward to "another tour" but seeing Chateau de Chillon was a fantastic experience.  Not only could you visualize the lives of prisoners, royalty and guards from the dark ages, but my daughters will love hearing how this 1,000-year-old castle was the inspiration to the setting Disney's Little Mermaid. For the remainder of our day, my wife, Brandy, and I walked among the shops and beautiful shoreline of Lake Geneva.  This entire trip has truly been a world-class experience, for both our team and the entire travel party, including the scenery on this bus ride. I have been overwhelmingly impressed with Switzerland and its people, where everything is incredibly well kept, smart, clean and efficient (from the farms and wineries down to the buildings and roadways). But as with every experience, the quality depends on the people you are with and this group is special, including the players, staff, coaches (and their families) as well as the fans who invested their time and finances to join us.  Some great friendships have been forged on this trip and I'm confident that includes within and among our team.  I'm excited to see the impact it has on our competitive performance this season!