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July 12, 2010

2010-11 Season - Men's basketball prepares for trip to China

The Augustana men's basketball team will return to China in mid-August. The Vikings, who also traveled to China in 2007, will play five games in seven days. Pictured above is the Augustana contingent in 2007 on the Great Wall of China.

What has turned out to be the “year of international travel” in the Augustana athletic department will be punctuated in August when Grey Giovanine takes his men’s basketball team to China. When the Vikings tip off against the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association on August 7, it will mark the third Augustana team to compete internationally this summer and the fourth during this calendar year.

Jim Barnes took his football team to Vienna, Austria in late May and Bobbi Endress led her women’s basketball team on an excursion to Greece in early June. Earlier this year, the Augustana softball team, under the direction of Kris Kistler, went to Australia during Christmas vacation.

For Giovanine and the men’s basketball program, international travel has become as much a way of life as winning College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin titles. This will mark the fourth international venture since Giovanine took over the program in 1999. The first trip was to Europe in 2001 and that was followed by a sojourn to Ireland in 2004 and then a trek to China in 2007. Every player who has been recruited to Augustana by Giovanine has had a chance to participate in international competition , and each player has been a part of at least one CCIW championship.

“This is a great cultural and educational experience that helps our student athletes broaden their perspective on how they view the world and how they see themselves in it,” said Giovanine who has compiled a record of 199-89 (.691) during his 11 year tenure with the Vikings. “We look at this as a great team building opportunity and one that we believe has helped contribute to much of the success we have had here.”

A total of 16 players, all returners, will make up the playing roster for the Vikings. No incoming freshmen are eligible to participate in the trip, due to NCAA rules. The trip will begin on August 3 with a visit to Hong Kong before the group will board a train to mainland China. There will be stops in Guangzhou, Wuhan, Xi’an, Beijing and Tokyo, Japan before returning to Chicago.

The trip will include sightseeing and cultural studies of places like the major international city of Hong Kong, the famous Terra Cotta Soldiers archaeological site in Xi’an, Forbidden City, Olympic Arena, Tiananmen Square, Great Wall of China and Tokyo, the largest city in the world. While basketball is the engine that drives the international train for the Vikings, there will be a huge educational component involved in this venture. Dr. Norm Moline, the Edward Hamming Professor of Geography at Augustana, will once again lead the party through the travel and cultural aspects of the journey. He played the role of tour guide/educational leader during the 2007 visit, and Giovanine turned to his expertise once again. Moline led the first-ever USA large university study group into mainland China in 1977 after that country “opened” its doors, and he has been back more than 30 times since then.

“Our team has been to multiple seminars, conducted by Dr. Moline, leading up to this trip, and we are grateful for his willing and enthusiastic participation,” said Giovanine. “It is a wonderful thing for our players and coaches to see somebody who has such passion and love for something as Dr. Moline demonstrates about China. We learn every day , and the experience is something our players and staff will never forget.”

Some of the players will be taking advantage of the “Augie Choice” program that allows Augustana students who are heading into either their junior or senior years to access up to $2,000.00 for off-campus educational experiences. This is the first year of the “Augie Choice” program, which is under the auspices of the Center for Vocational Reflection on the campus.

Giovanine has put together an ambitious schedule for his team with five games in seven days, beginning with the August 7 matchup against the Guangdong Southern Tigers. The Southern Tigers play in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association), which is the Chinese version of the NBA. Following the matchup with the Southern Tigers, the Vikings will play Hubei University of Science and Technology on August 10, Xian University on August 12 and Tsinghai University in Beijing on August 14. The final game will be against another CBA team, the Shougang Beijing Ducks.

In preparation for the trip, Giovanine will put his team through a 10 day practice regime that will begin on Thursday, July 15 and continue for the following two weekends. A roster of the players participating on the trip is listed below:

AUGUSTANA ROSTER FOR 2010 TRIP TO CHINA

PLAYER

POS

HT

WT

YR

HOMETOWN

HIGH SCHOOL

Chris Anderson*

F

6-4

188

Jr

Mount Carroll, Ill.

West Carroll

Mike Avallone***

G

6-4

193

Sr

Naperville, Ill.

Neuqua Valley

Drew Croegaert***

G

6-1

174

Sr

Geneseo, Ill.

Geneseo

Brian DeSimone**

G

6-2

190

Jr

Wheeling, Ill.

Buffalo Grove

George Dexter*

F

6-7

194

So

Bettendorf, Iowa

Bettendorf

Griffin Dwyer*

G

6-2

182

Jr

Arlington Heights, Ill.

Hersey

Josh Evans*

F

6-3

183

Jr

Skokie, Ill.

Niles North

Brandon Kunz*

F

6-7

202

So

Lake Zurich, Ill.

Lake Zurich

Kyle Nelson** (C)

F

6-9

222

Sr

Deerfield, Ill.

Deerfield

Kameron Norton*

F

6-6

196

So

Downers Grove, Ill.

Downers Grove North

Troy Rorer*

G

6-2

193

Jr

Bettendorf, Iowa

Bettendorf

Eric Safranski*

G

6-0

180

Jr

Mark, Ill.

Putnam County

Luke Scarlata*

C

6-8

240

So

Berwyn, Ill.

J. Sterling Morton

Bryant Voiles* (C)

F

6-9

207

Sr

Byron, Ill.

Byron

Kevin Waibel

C

6-7

229

So

Morton, Ill.

Morton

Pete Wessels*

G

6-3

198

Jr

Bettendorf, Iowa

Bettendorf

HEAD COACH: Grey Giovanine

ASSISTANT COACHES: Tom Jessee, Larry Schulte, Dallas Duwa

STUDENT ASSISTANT: Will Tolmie

AUGUSTANA GAME SCHEDULE FOR 2010 TRIP TO CHINA

August 5 – Hong Kong Baptist University in Hong Kong (scrimmage)

August 7 – Guangdong Southern Tigers (Chinese Basketball Association)

August 10 – Hubei University of Science and Technology

August 12 – Xian University

August 14 – Tsinghai University

August 15 – Shougang Beijing Ducks (Chinese Basketball Association)

AUGUSTANA PRACTICE SCHEDULE FOR 2010 TRIP TO CHINA

July 15 – 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

July 16 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

July 17 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

July 18 – 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

July 24 – 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

July 25 – 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

July 29 – 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.

July 30 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

July 31 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

August 1 – 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

NOTE – All practices will be held in the Carver Center.