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K-State Basketball
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August 16, 2012 Last Day in Brazil
Senior Jordan Henriquez
Brazil was a great experience that I will never forget, and I can probably vouch for my teammates. I had a chance to explore different cities, neighborhoods, and even areas of the city that people have very little. I had a chance to meet people that were wealthy and kids who were poor. I had a very good time giving back to those who didn't have much, and it made me realize how blessed I am. I also had chance to eat many different varieties of Brazilian food, from the pizza to the steak! I loved the beach even though I only put my feet in the ocean, and watching some of the guys "trying" to ride the waves. I was also able to visit the souvenir shop where I bought many different things for my family and friends. Overall, it is by far the most memorable foreign trip I have had with my K-State Family!!! Go Cats
 
Sophomore Brian Rohleder
This was a trip of a lifetime. This was my first time being in a different country and experiencing a new culture and language and getting to play basketball while experiencing this was even better. No matter what difference we had in language or customs, we could still play a game of basketball and share that common interest. The whole trip we had to learn to adjust, both culturally and on the court. We had to adjust to the language, the different monetary system, the people and the customs. Similarly on the court we had to adjust to a different type of basketball, different officiating and some different rules. But we did adjust and we got to learn a lot more about people different than us and make friendships over a similar thing being basketball. The sights, the sounds and the feel of Brazil were unforgettable, but hopefully, what helps us the most from this trip is how we grew better as a team, and also individually, in both basketball and appreciation of a different nation.
 
Freshman D.J. Johnson
The trip to Brazil was a good experience to see another country, and take part in some of their culture. Throughout the trip, we visited many tourist attractions such as: Christ the Redeemer, the Market, Sugarloaf Mountain and Copacabana Beach. My favorite attraction was Sugarloaf Mountain. What drew me to Sugarloaf was the height of the mountains. At one point I was eye level with the clouds. Being that high off the ground, we were able to take some beautiful pictures of the city. What separated Sugarloaf from the other sites was the opportunity to feed the monkeys when you reached the top of the mountains. I enjoyed feeding the monkeys.
 
Donors - Dennis and Sharon Mullin
What a wonderful opportunity we were given! We were invited to travel to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with the K-State coaches, team and other supporters. After arriving on an overnight flight last Thursday, we stayed in Sao Paulo where we watched the team play three against several Brazilian professional and club teams. We also enjoyed going to a local park, walking to the Market Square and shopping. Our two favorite things other than the games were exercising on all of the outdoor exercise equipment at the park and visiting with the only local that we found who spoke English. He owned a small shop; and we both so enjoyed visiting with him that we visited for over an hour, took pictures and exchanged email addresses.

On Sunday, we traveled to Rio. Our tours were wonderful! The first was to travel by train up a mountain to see the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. The second tour took us by gondolas up another mountain called Sugar Loaf to look at the fabulous view of Rio. We also watched an exciting basketball game played by the Cats.

We really enjoyed getting to spend time eating and visiting with the team, the coaches and their wives and with other supporters of the team..
 
Donor - Jim Johnson
I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for the trip. I did it to really support K-State and didn't read much or know much about Brazil. My wife, Laura, needed to be at home as three of our other college-aged children were moving around and starting back to school. So my 23-year-old son, Jared, got "called up." He spent three years at K-State before transferring to Colorado State, where he will graduate this fall. Overall, I could not have been more pleased. We had a very small group who went at a pretty easy pace that allowed us enough 'alone time' to also let you experience Brazil outside of a gym. We got to see the staff with their families and get to know them off the court. As from an alumnus that lives out of the state of Kansas, this was a treat because we just mainly see them in game settings. I was very impressed with the organization and timeliness of all the players and staff. The entire team went on the side trips and tourist attractions. The basketball was better than I thought, and I saw our team improve, even over a short period of time. We spent time with the players, coaches, staff and other donors all whom were polite and very enjoyable. Seeing the players at the beaches in Rio was entertaining. People watched as this group went in and out of the surf, at one point, they were asked to get out of the water as the tide was getting bigger but the lifeguards said they were all big enough to save them if they got in trouble! It was a great trip and a team-building experience.
 
August 15, 2012 Sugar Loaf Mountain
Junior Shane Southwell
My mindset prior to this trip was to take it as a business trip. I envisioned every moment here asking myself, 'Can I see myself playing here professionally?' The thought of playing overseas is very scary for me. This trip made me realize how difficult it is to play in another country especially when your native language is not spoken frequently. Being a communications major at K-State made me realize how important non-verbal communication is. I never used my smile to signal so much until I was here. It's amazing to realize certain universal signs of communication.

The event on the trip that had the biggest impact on my future was visiting a nearby school in one of the worst neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro in terms of poverty and crime. The kids came from places I could never even imagine being so bad! But they still walk around everyday smiling. It made me feel so fortunate and privileged. It also motivated me to never complain about my shortcomings in life. Lastly, the center of the school made me realize how important dreams and goals are. Without a dream, life is empty and success becomes impossible.
 
Freshman Michael Orris
My time in Brazil has been amazing! Not a moment goes by where something exciting doesn't happen! We have had the opportunities of a lifetime with what we have experienced here and it will be something I will never forget. Being in Sao Paulo and eating pizza until my stomach hurts, to going to the Christ the Redeemer statue, it was one breath-taking moment after another. The statue was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life, the power and beauty behind it was immense. It was hard not to sit there and not be overwhelmed with emotions.

After that experience, we went to the favelas to help underprivileged kids, and that had to be one of the highlights of my life, something I will cherish forever. To top it all off we went to Sugarloaf Mountain today. Although I was scared out of my mind on the ride up the mountain, the destination and beauty that was waiting was a special sight to see. All in all, I am so thankful for this trip and couldn't be happier with what I have experienced and I recommend it to anyone!
 
Strength and Conditioning Coach Jimmy Price
Today's sight-seeing trip allowed us to visit one of the most beautiful places in all of Brazil called Sugar Loaf Mountain. The mountain stands 1,300 feet above the sea below. A modern cable car holding 50-60 people would be the mode of transportation to the apex of the mountain. I must say, after seeing the first version of the cable car, which looked to be nothing more than a rusted out rollercoaster cart, the modern version was a welcomed upgrade.

At the top of the mountain, we saw beautiful views of the beach, mountains, two small monkeys playing in the trees, and extremely large ants, at least an inch long.

During this excursion, numerous players and staff conquered their fear of height. They were rewarded with some of the most beautiful panoramic views of Rio. Sugar Loaf provided a great all-around adventure, and gave those who made the trip a memory of a lifetime.

On a side note, I would like to comment on some general everyday activities that are very different in Brazil. Upon our group trip to the mall, we had to walk a few blocks to get there. Walking in Brazil is an interesting experience. The cars, buses and motorcycles do not yield for pedestrians, if anything the larger vehicles tend to speed up and welcome the opportunity to make a hood ornament out of zoned out Americans. Maybe this is Brazil's version of speed, agility, and quickness training. Either way, crossing the street is an adventure by itself.

So whether it is Sugar Loaf Mountain or crossing the street, Brazil has definitely provided the opportunity for us all to overcome a fear of some kind.
 
August 14, 2012 Beach/Solar Meninos De Luz Clinic
Sophomore Thomas Gipson
I think today was the most fun I have had in my life. We did multiple things that made me feel that I was blessed to be here and that I was here for a purpose. Today I woke up around 10 a.m. and decided to go to the beach with Will (Spradling). When we walked to the beach we saw beautiful girls that were exotic to our eyes. We finally decided to get in the water and it was very cold. It took us a minute to get used to the water, but when we finally did, it was the best time. The waves were so huge and eventually they made me tired, so I had to take a break from swimming. An hour later, some more teammates decided to come and we all were in the water.

Later in the day, we went to go visit the children that live in the favelas (slums). It was a great experience that we all enjoyed. Putting a smile on those kids face was a good feeling because it shows that people look up to us. The area was extremely poor. It takes $1 million dollars to keep that school going each year. It seems as if the school is on top of a hill. There were stairs that you had to go up everywhere. We all went to the basketball court and we showed them various drills. It seemed like they had a great time playing with us. Adrian (Diaz) broke the backboard to the basketball goal and everyone went crazy. Afterwards it seemed like the kids were sad for us to leave and honestly we were sad to leave them..
 
Sophomore Shawn Meyer
By far, today was the most culturally enlightening moment of the Brazil trip. We took an excursion to the favelas, which are the poorest parts of Rio de Janeiro. They keep the students in school from sun up to sun down because if they don't the students would become victims of the harsh reality of violence and drugs that plague their neighborhoods. Being here makes us all appreciate our lives in the U.S. All of the kids were so happy that we took the time to visit them and hold a clinic on their basketball court. The kids spent the whole time telling us which American actors we all looked like (including quite a laugh with references to Shane (Southwell) looking like Will Smith) and challenging us to play them in basketball. At the end of the day, they asked us all to sign their K-State t-shirts and then asked if they could sign ours. We all exchanged autographs and said our good-byes. The organization that houses the school for the kids needs more donations and when I get older I plan to help them. This has been a great experience and I look forward to coming back.
 
Sophomore Nino Williams
Today was a very interesting day for me and the team. We got a chance to go to a clinic with kids in a Brazilian community. It really changed my way of looking at the things I have back in the U.S. Also, it helps show me why America is one of the best countries in the world. But back to the kids! They were extremely friendly and kind, they made my mind and heart wonder. It made me think about how much people and sports can influence young, less fortunate kids' lives. It really was a life-changing experience. We left them with joy and a t-shirt, but they left us with a different point of view on life.
 
Director of Operations Brad Korn
Today is the seventh day of our adventure to Brazil. This was scheduled to be an off day of basketball, but it was far from it. Today, the guys and staff visited the Solar Meninos De Luz. Upon our arrival it was obvious just how good we all live back in the U.S. A broken light switch is not such a big deal compared to the challenges some of these kids face every single day. After a few stations of lay-ups, passing, dribbling and shooting the guys played a few minutes of some 5-on-5. I could not believe how excited and helpful our guys were. All of them showed such appreciation and affection to the kids. I've never been more proud to be a part of this team than I was today. The guys wouldn't leave and stayed and played with the kids, handing out autographs.

One of the most memorable moments for me would be when the guys were letting the kids sign their shirts. It was great to see our guys light up getting an autograph themselves. Maybe today we will have an impact on someone's life here and maybe someone on our team will be changed because of this experience. This is what it's all about. You can't make every jumper, grab every rebound or win every game, but if you can make a difference in someone else's life then you are doing something amazing. Today didn't matter was color someone was, how many points they scored or how much money they made, it was about making the world a better place through the game of basketball. The players at K-State did that in an impressive way. I was once told, "USE basketball, don't let basketball USE you" and today was a perfect example.
 
August 13, 2012 Rio de Janeiro/Christ the Redeemer Statue
Junior Omari Lawrence
This is what I found amazing, as we were traveling to the game last night, when I woke up on the bus I saw people on the highway with suitcases waiting for a bus to pick them up. In the U.S., that's not allowed, people don't do that. After the games, the children try very hard to talk to us in English and communicate with us. They always ask for some of our gear, like jerseys, shorts or water bottles. I'm looking forward to being able to explore Rio and be more of a tourist. We have two big tours scheduled, Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain. We learned about those before we came here, so it will be cool to really see them in person. After our game (vs. Pinda) today we stopped for lunch and finally got to eat something besides pizza. They brought the meat still on the metal rod it was cooked on, to you and cut it off as much as you wanted. We are now back on the bus for a five-hour ride to Rio.
 
Senior Martavious Irving
Today was a special and great day for me. Simply because of the experience we got to see as a team. We woke up this morning and started on our adventure to the Cristo Redentor, also known as Christ the Redeemer. I'm not sure if it's one of the Wonders of the World, but it was the most beautiful statues and sceneries I have ever seen. The statue is so high on the mountain that you can see the whole city. Mind you, Rio de Janeiro is the third biggest city in the world. You can also see the ocean and many islands surrounding the city. It was a great experience and I'm blessed to be a part of the trip.
 
Assistant Coach Chester Frazier
This trip to Brazil has been fun for me. Seeing our team progress and get better has been an awesome feeling. As a coach, you hate to lose games, but I think we learned a great deal from losing the first game here. I think it really humbled a few of our guys and they realize how hard you have to play to win.

The best part of the trip for me has been off the court! Brazil is rich in history and beautiful; not to mention the food has been great! Having the opportunity to see Brazil and experience it with the people I will go to war with every night has been great. I think it's important for players to see coaches in a different setting besides always yelling and screaming at them! I love my guys!

This trip has also opened my eyes to how fortunate we are! Being able to travel and see different parts of the world has been a blessing. For many years I hadn't seen anything outside of Baltimore City! Because of basketball I have been all over the world, something many of my peers can't relate to. I hope to pass my passion and knowledge for basketball on to my players, and continue a great tradition of basketball here at K-State!

We are family here at KSTATE!! Everyone have a great day and get your tickets now!!! Let's get Bramlage rocking this season!!!
 
August 11, 2012 Game 3/Trip to Rio de Janeiro
Sophomore Angel Rodriguez
Brazil so far has been great. Even though we have not done much other than play basketball and go out to different place to get dinner, I can say it been a good experience so far. The food, streets and the way people look reminds me of Puerto Rico. One thing I did realize was how poor people live in this country. Before coming to Brazil, I thought I would not have a problem at communicating with people because Portuguese is very similar to Spanish. However, that has not been the case. I have struggled a little because they speak too fast for me to completely understand what the are trying to say.
 
Assistant coach Alvin Brooks III
Foreign trips for basketball teams are a once in a lifetime experience for many. As for me, it is a twice in a lifetime experience. I had the opportunity to experience Brazil about three years ago with Bradley. It was good to see some of the same people, our American and Brazilian hosts, while it is also great to experience it with my K-State family and newlywed wife.

The biggest thing I've learned throughout this great opportunity is to be a traveler and not a tourist! To explain in detail, we were told to be a traveler and not a tourist because tourist expects everything to be like home while I traveler adjusts to the culture. It took me two different experiences to embrace the fact that it is a different culture and I have to adjust. I'm a very picky eater, but I've done a better job of finding foods I like and trying to stick with it. I embraced the fact that it is different foods, but I'm still not venturing outside my box.

As for having the travelers' mentality on the court, we have adjusted to the physicality of the game as well as the very different rules. I applaud our guys for continuing to take defensive charges when they haven't called one in our favor yet. We are playing against grown men who are use to all of the old school tricks against us due to their experience.

As a new staff and new system for our players, this trip to Brazil has helped us learn one another in a rowdy atmosphere and high-level intensity basketball. We have also benefited by bonding with one another off the court!

Thanks to the University and Athletic Department for allowing us to experience this great opportunity!
 
August 10-11, 2012 First game vs. San Jose dos Campos/Second game vs. Mogi Das Cruzes
Junior Will Spradling
The flight to Brazil was not that bad to me because I was able to sleep pretty much the whole time. Right now we are in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo. It seems like a quiet city, not as bustling as what I thought it would be. Our tour guides have told us that Rio de Janeiro is a totally different story. So far we haven't done much touring. We have been focusing more on basketball because the first two teams are the best competition we will play down here. We went out to eat the last two nights. The first night we had Brazilian pizza. The pizza here is different because there is not much sauce on it and they will put just about anything on it. Last night we had a buffet that served many different foods such as chicken, pizza, and sushi. This morning we are watching film of the game last night and getting ready to play our second game tonight.
 
Sophomore Adrian Diaz
I was expecting the ten hour flight to be bad, but it was worse! Because I am 7-feet tall, there was not enough room for my legs. We flew overnight and they kept having to wake me up to get the food and drink carts by. I knew our first stop was going to be small (to Atlanta). Angel (Rodriguez) said he thinks Sao Paulo looks more like Puerto Rico than Miami. I am able to understand bits and pieces of the language (Portuguese) because I speak Spanish. However; it's more broken up and doesn't flow quite like Spanish does. It's very hard to communicate with everyone because of the language differences.

I walked around the first day and found a small place to eat. I had a sandwich that reminded me of home. The bread was different but the meat and cheese was very similar.

The rumors are true!! The women here are beautiful!!!
 
Assistant Coach Chris Lowery
After the long trip, we finally arrived in Brazil. The country is beautiful and the people are very friendly. It was very important that we help the players understand that we should act like travelers and not tourists, so we don't offend anyone. It is always a great experience when you are able to leave the country and have an experience with guys you are sharing a common goal with. Our guys learned a lot from the experience of playing the first game in Brazil. The old cliché that you never judge a book by its cover was very evident in our game against Sao Jose dos Campos. Coach Weber made no excuses to our team, but hit home on the fact that every game is a chance to compete and represent what is on the front of your uniform. We are on the bus heading to our next game and anticipating a better effort and level of execution.
 
August 9, 2012 Arrival in Sao Paulo
Head Coach Bruce Weber
Obviously, the biggest thing was to get here safe and sound. We arrived here in Sao Paulo early this morning after an overnight flight. It always takes a toll of you mentally and physically when you fly for that long. I'm sure that the guys wanted to go right to bed, but what I have learned through the years on these foreign trips is that you need to stay up and be active. You need to get your time clock where your body and mind are feeling good, so we came to practice to get them running up and down. Some guys were a little stiffer than others, and other guys had some pretty good energy. We have a nice, hour, 15-minute practice. Now it's a chance to explore and look around the city and have dinner. We need to get some good rest because we have three straight days of games.

The goal with these games is to get experience. We're trying to see how our guys react to certain situations. You never know what type of competition you'll face. This is their preseason as well. They are just getting together as groups for the first time, so you hope they haven't installed too many complicated plays to throw your guys off. We will play different groups of five; try to give everyone 15 to 18-minutes of playing time. The biggest thing I told our guys is that I want to see energy and passion. I want them to play hard. You can always guard, it may not be perfect on offense since we haven't been together very long, but you can overcome that by playing hard.
 
Senior Rodney McGruder
The trip here was long. We had a layover in Atlanta and it lasted about two and half hours. It was tough because the guys got tired and wanted to take naps, but Coach Weber told us to stay up and sleep on the plane to Brazil. The flight here I was able to get some sleep unlike some of the other guys. Practice today (Thursday) went fine. The guys really got together and competed and got some of that jet-lag out of their bodies. We're excited about the game tomorrow (Friday). We want to get the win to start the trip out right against one of the best teams in Brazil. It will be tough, but I know that guys are up to the challenge.