Senior Basketball Players Blog on their Italy Trip


Exploring Siena

Some of the guys at the top of the Torre Del Mangia.

Some of the guys at the top of the Torre Del Mangia.

It was late when we arrived in Siena and the guys noticed that there were people all over. We were excited to see the city. We got a good nights sleep and woke up early for a tour. We saw where there was a horse race the day before we got there. You could tell it was a big deal because there were pictures of it posted all over the city and the highlights of it were on every TV you saw. It is a biannual tradition in Siena. It happens every July and August and there is a horse for every part of the city. Every part of the city is represented by a different flag so the flags were waiving everywhere throughout the tour. It was cool to see the different designs.

On the tour we learned not only about the horse race but why all the buildings were pretty much the same from when they were built hundreds of years ago. Italians believe in keeping their buildings as close to original form as possible. They don’t want to knock down and rebuild. They spend more money to repair their houses and even put any electrical wires on the outside of the buildings instead of having to drill through the “beautiful brick” as the tourist guide called it. After the tour we were on our own until we had to meet back at the hotel to leave for practice. We were excited to get to practice in a foreign country.

The court was basically the same as a wood floor you would get put in your kitchen. The guys were slipping and sliding all over. In typical Kazen fashion he was the first to hit the deck. When going up for a dunk Mike (Smith) was worried about sliding and hurting himself. It was a good practice and no one hurt themselves. When we got back to the hotel we were alone for dinner and some of the guys went to a sandwich shop we had seen earlier. It was nice to get something to eat more like what we are used to. Then we went and had a relaxing night in the plaza. It was a perfect last night in Siena.

A Half Day in Florence

The adventure at the Duomo.

The adventure at the Duomo.

After a long day in Pisa and the beach we got a goodnight of sleep and had one last morning and early afternoon to explore Florence. Some of the guys took the time to go check out the Duomo on the inside. It was large and detailed on the outside and that was the same on the inside. The dome part of the cathedral on the inside had beautiful paintings telling stories of the Bible. The paintings were very cool to see in person.

Then the guys paid to go up in the Duomo (dome), which is what made the day. It would be 400 some stairs to get to the very top through tight spaces where a 6’8″ basketball players shouldn’t be. Luckily none of the guys were claustrophobic. Once we got to the top the guys were just happy to be able to stand up straight and catch their breath. The view from the top was beyond beautiful! You could see all of Florence. That was just the beginning. The adventure back down was just that, an adventure. It took the guys 20 minutes to get down to ground level.

Once we got down we headed to lunch. When we got there the rest of the team started laughing because they were so sweaty from climbing the stairs. One of the guys in particular was Leonard who had more sweat on his shirt than there were water in cups in the entire restaurant.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to depart for Lukka. None of the guys had ever heard of this city until coach said we were going there. No one knew what to expect to expect since we would only be there for a few hours.

When we got to Lukka there was a free wifi spot right where we arrived. Phones came out instantly. The part of Lukka was pretty small so we really only saw one Cathedral and walked down the shopping street to an amphitheater where we were meeting Coach May for dinner.

While we were waiting for our food the guys got into a pretty serious game of “would you rather.” Carter was as usual coming up with some hard to choose scenarios for the rest of the team. others were chipping in too. Carter forgot about his food at the table he was in such deep thought about the game. It was a great time with the guys over dinner. After dinner we were off to Siena for two days. Check out our next blog coming soon! Ciao for now!