Aug. 8, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – After several months of preparation and 10 team practices, the Kansas State men’s basketball team began its long-awaited 10-day trip to Brazil on Wednesday morning.
The 15-member squad and travel party left Manhattan, Kan., for the Kansas City airport for a flight to Atlanta, where they will begin a 10-hour flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil on Wednesday evening. The group is expected to arrive in Brazil on Thursday mid-morning.
“This is an exciting and important time for our team,” said first-year head coach Bruce Weber. “This is going to be a great opportunity for them to get to know us better and spend some quality time together in a country with great history. The five games against various Brazilian clubs are going to be a great challenge as we continue to develop as a team. We are very appreciative of the administration for allowing us to take this trip. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a country where few, if any of us, have been before.”
The 10-day trip from August 8-17 will include five games against Brazilian club teams in the cities of Sao Paulo (August 9-12) and Rio de Janeiro (August 12-16). Sao Paulo, at just over 11 million people, is the largest city in Brazil and the largest in the southern hemisphere. Rio de Janeiro is the country’s second-largest city at just over six million people and the site of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
K-State will play its first game on Friday against Sao Jose Dos Campos at 3:30 p.m. CT before tilts with Mogi Das Cruzes Club team at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday and Pingdamonhangaba Club team at 9 a.m. CT on Sunday. Upon moving to Rio de Janeiro, the squad will play Tijuca Club team at 4 p.m. CT on Monday, August 13 and Botafogo Club team at 4 p.m. CT on Wednesday, August 15.
The Wildcats will also enjoy some cultural experiences while in Brazil with trips to Sugarloaf Mountain, Ipanema Beach and Christ the Redeemer Statue.
The NCAA allows teams to make a foreign trip once every four years, but this will be the first by the men’s basketball team since playing four games in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, in October 2004.
Weber’s team returns 13 lettermen, including seven players with starting experience, in 2012-13. The group is headlined by two-time All-Big 12 performer Rodney McGruder (15.8 ppg., 5.2 rpg.) and fellow Big 12 All-Defensive Team member Jordan Henriquez (7.6 ppg., 2.4 bpg.) as well as senior guard Martavious Irving (5.5 ppg., 1.5 apg.).
K-State made its fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons in 2011-12, as the Wildcats posted a 22-11 overall record and earned a tie for fifth place in the Big 12 standings with a 10-8 mark. It was the school’s unprecedented sixth consecutive 20-win season and sixth straight trip to the postseason.