John Azzinaro ’17, Nana Foulland ’18, and Nate Sestina ’19 were invited to tour Spain and play basketball abroad with the Global Sports Academy (GSA) in August. This program merges collegiate athletes from all divisions to travel abroad and compete against local teams while experiencing other cultures. These Bison athletes had the chance to tour Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid.
Assistant coach Joe Meehan was selected to coach one of the two American teams, seizing the opportunity to continue his long history with the GSA. While Meehan was assigned to coach Azzinaro and Foulland, Sestina was placed on the other American team. He made his debut on the court after recovering from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss a bulk of the 2015-2016 season.
“After many months of rehab and finally being cleared to play on a level such as this was a blessing,” Sestina said. “The first time I stepped on the floor in Spain, I was all smiles. It was like riding a bike essentially; a little rusty at first, but after a few possessions, it all clicked.”
Some of Sestina’s fondest memories from the trip include the food, the electric bike tour, competing with athletes in a home for mentally handicapped individuals, and being able to share this experience with close friends.
Foulland began his time in Spain coming off a successful sophomore season, earning Second Team All-Patriot League honors.
“My favorite memory would have to either be the bike sightseeing tour in Barcelona, or touring the Real Madrid soccer stadium,” Foulland said. “The bike tour was a beautiful experience. We really got to see how truly beautiful Barcelona was while also learning about its history. Being a soccer fan seeing a massive Madrid stadium filled with its rich history was also an amazing experience.”
With the success of last season and fond memories of Spain fresh in their minds, the Bison look forward to the 2016-2017 season.
“We have a special group of guys this year and we have an opportunity to do something special,” Sestina said. “I’m looking forward to see how far we come as a team from August until March.”