UVA Basketball team reflects on trip to Italy

Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The UVA Basketball team is back home after a 10-day tour of Italy.

Marty Hudtloff caught up with the team to talk about their exciting once-in-a-lifetime trip.

For many on the team, this was their first time ever being overseas, and they got to enjoy it by playing basketball and visiting the historic sights of Italy.

“Just the architecture behind it and the history behind it, it’s amazing. To see the detail that they put into all of their designs was a really cool thing for me to see,” Ben Vander Plas said.

The team visited Rome, stopping to see the Vatican, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum.

“I had heard of all these places, but seeing them and hearing about them are two completely different things. It was super cool to take it all in,” Kadin Shedrick said.

“The Colosseum was an unbelievable place, just to see how it’s influenced so much of the sporting world today and just to hear the history of it was an unbelievable experience,” Vander Plas added.

After their tour of Rome, the team stopped by the rolling countryside of Tuscany to enjoy the local cuisine.

“I loved it. In fact, my wife tells me I have to go on a diet because I ate too much pasta, but it was an awesome experience,” Associate Head Coach Jason Williford said.

The team went on to swim in the beautiful San Fruttuoso Bay, and later visited the home of renowned fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

The 10-day trip capped off in the city of Rapallo, where the team took a boat cruise to its upcoming game.

The ‘Hoos played four games, winning three of them.

The team says it was an incredible bonding experience, and a chance for the team to get to know its five newcomers, both on and off the court.

“We were kind of figuring out how the guys play and getting used to being on the court with them. You could see from practice to practice and in the games that everyone just started to get more comfortable with each other,” Vander Plas said.

“You give these kids a chance to see and experience different parts of the world and go places they never might have gone. The NCAA allows us to do it, and we’re going to take advantage of it,” Coach Williford said.

This was Coach Tony Bennett’s third time taking one of his UVA squads to Europe.

This summer trip allows the team 10 extra days of practice according to NCAA rules.

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