Aug. 15, 2014
Northwestern rising sophomore forward Nathan Taphorn is currently touring Europe with a collegiate all-star team which is being coached by Wildcats assistant Patrick Baldwin. Nathan checks in with an update on how the trip has gone so far.
Monday, August 11, 2014
The day started off with nothing more than a breakfast at Clarke's in Evanston which was paired with filling in the holes in my suitcase, trying to figure out what else to pack. As 3 p.m. rolled around, we arrived at O'Hare, passed through security and got something to eat as we waited at our gate. Sitting at the gate I didn't know what to expect in terms of the length of the flight, the amount of comfort I would have, and most important, the leg space that I would be getting on the flight. 6 p.m. came fast after some last-minute phone calls to my family and friends as we started boarding the plane. The plane was massive, and even though it was half full, there was not enough space for me to get comfortable and the ability to sleep on the nine-hour trip was non-existent. Although I couldn't take more than an hour nap, the two movies that I watched, Divergent and Captain America, helped pass the time that we had left.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
At about 9 a.m. here in Brussels, we arrived and welcomed by an hour wait to get through customs. The hour itself seemed like a whole day with the lack of sleep and breakfast at the time and the floor might have sufficed for a quick siesta. What followed the customs line was a short bus ride to the hotel with the rest of our teammates who weren't with us on the plane, which didn't take more than an hour. We got to the hotel and went straight to a short little tour that started off the site-seeing in Mechelen, which included a beautiful church and the cool sites of the city. The tour ended and we were able to take about three hours to sleep or just get off our feet before our short practice. I, of course, took the route of sleeping for the full three hours after informing my family we had arrived safely. The practice was nice because we got to move a little bit and we were able to play together as a full team for the first time before the game we had that night. After a quick snack, we were off to play our first game of our tour.
Game #1 - Brussels
We arrived at the gym about an hour before the game which gave us some time to just relax and get used to the gym, maybe get a few shots up before we were at full go. The team we played was bigger and younger than I had expected. Most of the guys had a build like my own, just longer arms and legs. Overall, the game went pretty well for our first game together, but we could've gone without the jetlag and the sloppy turnovers we had. The style over here contains a lot of screens and cuts that are not easy to get around. My offensive game was not bad while I hit a couple 3's, attacked the basket, knocked down free throws, and came close to dunking over a guy. The dunk was probably the thing I was disappointed about during the game, but defense might have been the bigger disappointment after. I ended with 19 points of our 100 and we won 100-67. The postgame meal was held at a restaurant not too far away where we had meatballs, French fries, bread, and some other fried mashed potatoes.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Getting back late the night before did not go hand-in-hand with a 6:30 a.m. alarm and minimal sleep, but the day after was well-needed with a two-hour train ride and a touristic day of eating and shopping in London, England. I thought that the Oxford Circuit was a lot like Michigan Avenue with the various shops and food stops along the way. Seeing Buckingham Palace and all of the statues was pretty cool considering you don't see anything like that everyday. After we shopped and got everyone back together, everyone met up and traveled back to Mechelen for some dinner around the city and then some more sleep, which is what we all need right now. The next day holds an interesting trip to Amsterdam!
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