Team builds Confidence Both On & Off the Court

Student – Athlete Author – Justin Mullins – Freshman shooting guard Justin played high school ball at Oak Park River Forest, Illinois. A streaky scoring threat (112 points in one 4-game tournament), Justin averaged 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists while shooting 56.0 percent from the field during his senior season. Mullins also earned Illinois Hoops Prospects All-State First Team honors.   

After Lyon, we drove to the city of Nice. As soon as we arrived in Nice, we immediately checked in and then went to check out the beautiful beach here. The whole team went tubing which was both a very fun and somewhat painful experience, then went back to the hotel. We enjoyed the rest of the evening getting food with our teammates and exploring the city before a big next day!

The next morning, we woke up early to hear teammates Tommy Brunner and Touko’s (Tainamo) presentation about each other then headed back to the beach again to go parasailing! This was truly a unique and amazing experience to have together as a team. Being hoisted into the air over the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and getting a wonderful view of the city nice was truly remarkable for me. It really woke me and made me realize how grateful I was to be somewhere like Nice with a group of guys like this. After parasailing, we went back to the rooms to get in a quick nap then we had our pregame meal. After that we had a little more resting time then we were off to the game!

The game went great. We played hard and played together and ended up better the team in Nice by 57 points!!! After a great win, we came back and heard teammates Tevin Smith and Marko’s (Lukic) amazing presentations then finished the night by going out with our teammates again. For the final day in Nice, we woke up early and traveled to Monaco! We made a couple of stops while there. The first was on the way to Monaco at one of the world capitals for perfume! They had a lot of great-smelling perfumes and a lot of people ended up buying something. The next stop was at a historic part of Monaco where we learned about a lot of the city’s history and could see a great view of the whole city from up high. After this stop, we rode back to Nice by driving through the city of Monaco which was just as beautiful as Nice.

We got back and heard the final presentations which were Korey Hess and JB’s (JaVonnie Bickham) and after that, we had the last evening to spend with our teammates out in the city. This is truly a once-of-a-lifetime trip that I know I’ll remember forever. I am so glad that I got to spend this time in another country with my teammates. I know this experience will springboard us into a great season!!! Back to the US we go in the Morning!

Note: Special thanks to Justin for taking time out of the trip to France to share his story.

One thought on “Team builds Confidence Both On & Off the Court”

  1. From an educational and team-building standpoint, this trip looked like it was fantastic – a lifetime of memories, more exposure to each other (especially for the new faces) and to new travel experiences!

    From a basketball standpoint, a 3-0 record may be a confidence builder, but I wish the organizers could have found a higher level of French competition to help DU learn more about themselves basketball-wise.

    The first game in Paris was quite competitive against some lower level pro players – DU won by 11, but France-touring University of Oklahoma and Clemson University had beaten that same Paris “All-Star” team by 40-60 points just before DU played them, so going by the transitive property of inequality, it gives you a rough idea that major D-I programs like Clemson and Oklahoma are perhaps 30-40 points better than DU is right now.

    After Paris, DU’s tour competition went from playing pros to playing amateurs. In Lyon, DU’s Opponent, Ouest Lyon Basket, plays in the NM3 league– the fifth division of French basketball – the highest level of amateur hoops in France, DU won by 20.

    DU’s third game came against Cote D’Azure Select (mostly players from GSEM Nice Basketball – another local amateur team) and DU blew them out by 56 points! Obviously, there was little likely reason to play the scheduled fourth game between those two teams, and I am not surprised that the game was cancelled.

    I wish DU could have faced teams from NM1 or NM2 – the third and fourth divisions of French hoops – low level pros that would have given DU sterner opposition.

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