The Kansas State men’s basketball team will depart for Europe on Aug. 8, and it won’t return until it has spent 10 days traveling through Italy and Switzerland for five exhibition games against foreign teams.
K-State coach Bruce Weber has publicly discussed the benefits of the trip for months, but the Wildcats announced their itinerary Thursday. College basketball teams are allowed to take international trips every four years. K-State is heading to Europe after playing games in Brazil in 2012.
“The last time we were able to do this, we were able to take the lessons we learned from that trip and win a Big 12 championship,” Weber said. “I think you ask any player from that team and they will tell that the trip was a major factor in our success that season.
“These types of experiences build tremendous team chemistry and develop a toughness that players get from the extra games and practices. But it won’t be just about basketball. There will be great sightseeing excursions to places like the Colosseum, the Vatican and Lake Como. It will be an unbelievable opportunity for our guys to learn about another culture.”
During the trip, K-State basketball players will tour famous Italian cities, including Rome, Siena, Florence and Venice. In Switzerland, they will visit Montreux, Lausanne and Lake Geneva.
The Wildcats will play games against LCC International University (Aug. 10), BC Silute (Aug. 11), Italian Select (Aug. 13), the Kosovo National Team (Aug. 16) and BBC Lausanne (Aug. 18). K-State players and coaches will return home on Aug. 19.
“We are all very excited about this opportunity,” Weber said. “It’s a great chance for our players to not only grow and learn in a great basketball experience, but also to take part in a great life experience.”
Weber thinks this is an ideal time for the trip. K-State is coming off a 17-16 season in which it relied heavily on a young roster, starting three freshmen. He hopes extra time playing this summer will lead to better results when the 2016-17 season begins.
K-State will also hold 10 on-campus practices leading up to the trip. The plan is for at least one of them to be open to the public at Bramlage Coliseum.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett