George Mason Men's Basketball Foreign Tour Through Spain Set for August
FAIRFAX, Va. – The George Mason University men's basketball program will take part in a once-in-a-lifetime foreign tour of Spain this August as part of the team's preparation for the 2018-19 campaign.
The nine-day, five-city expedition will kick off on July 31. The Patriots will fly into Madrid and make stops in Valencia and Barcelona. Mason will play exhibition contests in the cities of Toledo and La Roda, as well as Barcelona.
"This trip is a fantastic opportunity for our team," head coach Dave Paulsen said. "I've had the good fortune of taking three teams on foreign tours in the past. I've found them to be some of the most rewarding experiences that our players and coaching staff have ever had."
In addition to the games against Spanish clubs, the Patriots also will be afforded a number of opportunities to experience the country's culture, take guided tours of the renowned areas of each city and sample the regional cuisine in distinct areas of the nation during the trip.
"The educational aspect is one of the greatest benefits of this tour," Paulsen said. "Division I basketball players do not get the opportunity to take part in a traditional study abroad due to the commitments that come with being a student-athlete. On this trip, our guys will experience the globalized world and learn about other cultures and customs while meeting people much different than themselves. It's a life-altering experience."
Highlights of the trip include a city tour of Madrid, an opportunity to experience the Mediterranean beaches of Valencia and visits to the famed Sagrada Familia and Olympic Village in Barcelona.
Those types of shared experiences can help develop team chemistry heading into a key season. For Paulsen at Bucknell, his teams won league titles in each campaign following a foreign tour.
"The main goal as a coach is to create the most cohesive team possible," Paulsen said. "When your team shares unique experiences, it makes the guys closer. Learning, growing and traversing together – they're hard benefits to realize at the time but they're very tangible over the course of the season."
When the Patriots compete as a group, they will be facing senior clubs from across the country. On August 2, Mason will match up against Club Baloncesto Alcobendas in Toledo. The following day, the Green & Gold will take on Club Deportivo Baloncesto CP in La Roda. The Patriots will wrap up the tour with a game against the Mataro All-Stars in Barcelona on August 7.
As part of the foreign trip, the NCAA will grant the Patriots an additional two full weeks of practice not normally afforded to teams. Those practices will allow Mason to prepare for the trip, as well as do some tinkering and preparation as the 2018-19 season draws closer.
The Patriot communication staff will be in Spain with the team providing coverage throughout the nine-day trek, so be sure to tune in to the Patriots on Twitter (@MasonMBB) and Instagram (@masonmbb) throughout the trip. Fans and supporters can use the hashtag #VamosMason to interact with the team on Twitter and Instagram during the trip.
For a full list of games, check out the schedule below.
Thursday, August 2: vs. Club Baloncesto Alcobendas (2 p.m. ET) - Toledo
Friday, August 3: vs. Club Deportivo Baloncesto CP (12 p.m. ET) – La Roda
Tuesday, August 7: vs. Mataro All-Stars (2 p.m. ET)