Thursday, August 15, 2013

MBB European Tour Journal #2 by Ali Mackay

Journal Entry #2 – Thursday, August 15, 2013
By Junior Ali Mackay

After our tough game on Tuesday we woke up on our own accord and got breakfast, where we discussed the absurdity of the fact that our game against Duke from last year was being broadcast on Slovenian TV at 1am. After breakfast we met as a team to review the previous night’s game and walk through some pointers for the upcoming game. We were then allowed to retreat back to our rooms and fight off the remaining demons of jet lag before heading round the corner to a local restaurant for our pregame meal. Meals are a good time for us to bond as a group and strengthen our relationships with one another so that we can confidently ask one another for lives in Candy Crush Saga. This is vital as kudos and respect from teammates is directly correlated to which level we are on, unfortunately for [Connor] Perkey he is holding up the rear.

Wednesday saw us face Olimpija Ljubljana, a very strong team that has been in all bar one Slovenian League championship games single the league began in 1991. They play in a phenomenal facility about 10 minutes out of the town centre [Editor’s note: Remember, he’s from Scotland, so we’ll respect his spelling of “center”], which holds 12,000 people, has a practice court, weight room, training room, etc. Unfortunately for us we weren’t able to play on the main floor so we had to settle for their top of the range practice court (pictured).

We started out very well, coming fast out of the blocks and this set the tone and tempo for the rest of the game. We managed to get a lead early on and we never really looked back. During the 3rd quarter Ljubljana started to close the lead but we extended it again. A late push in the closing minutes by Ljubljana saw them move to within 15 points but it was way too little too late and the Wildcats won 80 - 67. All Wildcats saw action in the game and I think this is something that we will see often this year as we have a very deep roster at all spots.

On Thursday morning we took a trip as a team up to Ljubljana Castle, which is situated high up on a rock in the town centre (see picture in Tom’s blog post). To get up the rock there is a funicular railway, which is made completely of glass and allows phenomenal views of the city as you scale the rock. Once at the castle most of the team spent their time at the top of the watch tower. It’s the highest point in the city, giving a 360 degree view of the whole city, which is pretty cool. [Manager] Will Thoni missed out somewhat on this experience as he refused to move from the centre of the tower and go any closer than 6 feet of the walls. But I think he still had a good time despite his pulse being up around 140 bpm.

In the evening we traveled about 20 minutes out of town to play in the same gym as we did on Tuesday, but this time we faced up against Rogaska, another team that competes in the top pro league in Slovenia. We started the game very well with our first three baskets being 3 pointers but Rogaska also started out well. After the first 5 minutes of the game we managed to create a lead and would never trail in the contest again. At halftime we had a sizeable lead and managed to keep up our intensity and momentum to start the third, something that we have had a few issues with in the past, so that was great experience for us. With a final score of 109-58, every Wildcat played in this game and 13 players made the box score.

This game was a great experience for us to switch up and try out several of our defenses and offensive sets. This not only requires the knowledge and skill to execute these instructions, but requires us to communicate with one another at both ends of the floor, which we did exceptionally well. As a result we got many stops on defense, which allowed us to get out and run the floor and tire out our opposition. As Tom mentioned, I am very impressed with how quickly the freshmen have become assimilated with the Davidson game, and this will allow us to be a deep team that will be able to tire out our opposition with our consistent energy at both ends of the floor.

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