Every summer the South basketball teams participate in a basketball league at Lane Community College and many out-of-town tournaments to get them prepared for the coming basketball season. This year, the boys’ team decided to add onto their summer season with a trip to China.
“Shaun O’Neil’s grandfather brings pro teams and college teams to Beijing, China, and he’s done this a lot of times before,” junior Eli Glenzel said. “He decided since it’s his grandson’s senior year that maybe he should try taking a high school team.”
The team left for China on Aug. 17. They spent 10 days in China and two days traveling.
“We had 13 players,” athletic director and boys’ basketball coach Dave Hancock said. “There were a combination of varsity and JV [players], and even one incoming eighth grader who is a freshman now, so it was a combination across the board of the program.”
The team was given the chance to play different basketball teams in China.
“We first went to Shenyang for about five days, and we played two games there against the Shenyang basketball club team. One was our age of kids and the other was 18- to 22-year-olds, so we played a little bit of older kids,” Hancock said. “We then went from there to Beijing. We played two games against the Beijing Ducks, a basketball club, which again were 18 to 22 years old, which was good for us.”
The team was able to bond on and off the court, as well as increase their basketball skills.
“Playing in China is a lot different from playing high school basketball in Oregon, “ senior Mason Green-Richards said. “We played with a shot clock, so we really had to speed up. I believe this year we are going to practice with a shot clock, so we can make fast and smart decisions. It’s going to be a really good addition.”
The team was also able to experience many cultural aspects of China.
“Besides playing basketball, we went and we saw the emperor’s palace,” Glenzel said. “We saw the Forbidden City. We saw the Great Wall of China, [and] Tiananmen square. We had a lot of great cultural experiences like cuisine and places of living.”
The basketball team had a good overall experience, and they were able to become better as individuals and as a team.
“We went to China to experience a whole different culture,” Green-Richards said. “It wasn’t really just about basketball. It was really just to interact with another culture and have fun. Basketball was just a really good excuse to go there.”