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Gamecocks In Costa Rica
Men's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks In Costa Rica

Aug. 11, 2016

COSTA RICA — As the six-day men’s basketball foreign tour in Costa Rica nears its end, read below to get an inside look at what the Gamecocks have been doing on the trip.

Day 1 — Gamecocks arrive in the capital city of San José, senior guard Sindarius Thornwell talked about his excitement on arriving in Costa Rica and his expectations for the trip.

“I was excited about going on this trip because it’s good for the team to learn and build chemistry with one another early. The younger guys were able to take advantage of the 10 practices and prepare earlier for the season in October. Since we arrived, you can tell we are going to experience a different culture in Costa Rica. There’s a natural feel here being surrounded by the mountains and horses nearby. The food so far has been pretty good. I’m a person who doesn’t like to try different foods, but everything I’ve tried so far has been pretty good. I look forward to playing against the Costa Rica National Team and participating in the clinics with kids. It should be a good experience.”

Day 2 — Carolina preps for its first matchup vs. the Costa Rica National Team, but first, the Gamecocks held a clinic for local kids in the community prior to the game. Sophomore guard PJ Dozier talked about how the clinic helped him see how important communication is when working with others.

“I’m excited to be here for the first time and out of the country and bonding with my teammates. Today was our first time working with the Costa Rican natives and Costa Rica National Team. During the clinic all the kids were split into groups, and all my teammates were leaders. One thing I learned from working with the kids is how important communication is when working with others. Some of the kids spoke English, but for the ones who didn’t I would use visual communication (hand signals) or the kids in the group who did speak English. This is only day two, but I’m excited to continue to work and build a stronger bond with my teammates.”

Day 3 — Carolina readied to face the Costa Rica National Team for the second time on Monday evening, but prior to the matchup, the Gamecocks explored the city of San José and held a clinic for Special Olympics. Senior guard Duane Notice talked about the different cultures and food in Costa Rica.

“Diversity is big in my country [Canada]. Coming to Costa Rica has made me happy to see how different cultures are celebrated including the Caribbean influence in their food. Today we did Special Olympics, which was a good experience for the team. The families and kids involved enjoyed us giving back. This Special Olympics was a little difficult because of the language barrier. It’s cool to see how a sport can bring anyone together. There’s still a lot of trip left, but I’m still looking forward to being on the beach, zip lining and riding ATVs.”

Day 4 — On Tuesday the Gamecocks traveled to the Pacific coast to the city of Playa Conchal. The squad prepared for different team building exercises and was also able to enjoy the beach side activities. Sophomore guard Hassani Gravett spoke about competing with his new teammates.

“It was exciting to be competing as my first time as a Gamecock. The two games were great because it allowed the team to learn with each other. It’s definitely great to have two wins under our belt, which helps our team with confidence. There’s still a lot we need to work on as a team on the court. This resort [Westin — Playa Conchal] is beautiful, a nice vacation spot. Everyone here has been nice and welcoming. The best thing about this resort is all the activities we can do in one place. My favorite thing so far has been riding the ATVs.”

Day 5 – On Wednesday the team spent time doing beach side activities and other team bonding experiences. Senior guard Justin McKie spoke about how the game of basketball is universal.

“I was really happy with how the team played against the Costa Rica National Team. For it being early, we came together and got the wins. There still is more work we need to put in, but it’s a good start. The resort we are staying in is amazing. There is a lot to do and we have the chance to relax. It is a good bonding experience for the entire team. We have been able to ride ATVs and jet skis, and spent time at the pool. One thing I learned from this trip, is basketball is universal. It was cool to see in doing the community service that even though we don’t speak their language we were still able to connect with the kids through our sport.”

Day 6 – Thursday saw the Gamecocks travel back to the capital city of San José. Sophomore guard TeMarcus Blanton spoke about the opportunity to connect with his teammates on the trip.

“Prior to coming on this trip I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it would be fun. It was great to play with the team and see how far I’ve come as a player and what I need to continue to improve on. My favorite part of the trip was jet skiing and kayaking. It was my first time doing those activities and I’m glad I was able to do it with my teammates. I would definitely come back to Costs Rica it seems like a good honeymoon vacation.”

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