August 15, 2012
Obviously, we’re disappointed with not being able to play a fifth game,” said first-year head coach Bruce Weber. “It’s just part of being on an international trip. There are a lot of things that are just out of your control. We will take the opportunity to enjoy the rest of our time here in Brazil and experience more of the culture.
The Wildcats finish their game schedule with a 2-2 record in Brazil with wins over Mogi Das Cruzes (79-72) and Pindamonhangaba Club (59-46) and losses to Sao Jose dos Campos (81-67) and Tijuca Club (74-72). The squad averaged 69.3 points on 41.6 percent (96-of-231) shooting, including 31.4 percent (22-of-70), with 37.5 rebounds, 15.8 assists, 9.8 steals and 4.8 blocks per game. The team connected on 76 percent (60-of-79) from free throw line. Nearly 66 percent of the team’s field goals (96) came from an assist (63).
“Overall, I think it was a good trip,” said Weber. “First, we had 10 days of practice before the trip that allowed us the opportunity to start implementing our system. This trip has been a great chance to get to know our players better on the basketball court, but personally as well. We had some difficult circumstances. I wish we wouldn’t have had such a tough competitor in game one. I would rather slowly build up the competition as the trip goes on. However, it was good for our guys and now we know what we need to focus on when we get back. There were some bright moments for some of the players and others where we need to improve. I know both the staff and the players are very appreciative of the administration for allowing us to take such a trip.”
Sophomore guard Angel Rodriguez led a balanced attack with 10.3 points on 40 percent (10-of-25) shooting, including 35.7 percent (5-of-14), with team-highs in both assists (4.8 apg.) and steals (2.3 spg.). Three players – Adrian Diaz, Rodney McGruder and Nino Williams – all averaged 9.0 points per game, while junior Will Spradling and senior Jordan Henriquez added 8.5 and 7.3 points per game, respectively. Williams and Diaz were the team’s two best shooters, connecting on 60 and 58.3 percent from the field, and Williams also paced the squad by connecting on 83.3 percent (10-of-12) from the free throw line. Five players averaged four or more rebounds per contest led by Williams’ team-best 6.0 average, while freshman D.J. Johnson was a close second with 5.3 rebounds per contest. Diaz led all players with 10 blocks (2.5 bpg.).
The traveling party will finish off their trip Wednesday night with a team dinner and a night of samba dancing at one of the local clubs in Rio de Janeiro. The party spent most of the day at historic Sugar Loaf Mountain, taking two cable cars to the various points of the mountain. The team also enjoyed the experience of shopping and dining at one of the largest shopping malls in Rio.
“To be able to see both Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro has been amazing,” said Weber. “The trip to see the Christ the Redeemer statue is one of the most breathtaking sight-seeing experiences of my life. And today the trip to Sugar Loaf with the two cable cars going up to the top was a bit scary. A couple of the players stayed behind, but those who went really enjoyed another great sight-seeing moment. We have gotten the chance to experience a lot of Brazilian culture and just the opportunity to travel abroad is always a great time.”
The team will still have most of Thursday to enjoy the sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro with a flight scheduled for overnight back to the United States. They are scheduled to arrive back to Manhattan by early Friday afternoon.