Travel Day: Friday, Aug. 15
Team 99 has officially taken off, and our journey from Ann Arbor to Rome has begun. As I'm writing we have been in the air for around 10 minutes; most of our players have queued up their movies for this nine-hour flight, while Aubrey (Dawkins) is already fast asleep a couple seats over.
Each day during our trip I'll be posting a short summary in "Manager's Musings" to keep all of you up to date on the highlights from this nine-day Italian excursion. This could be anything from game updates, interesting facts learned on a tour or something funny coach BA (Bacari Alexander) says. The latter could make up a blog in itself so I'll try to keep it short and sweet.
This nine-day trip will start in Rome and continue north to Vicenza, Verona, Venice and finally Lake Como. The team will be playing four professional basketball teams all over Italy during this time while exploring the country and having a handful of practices as well.
Since I am lucky enough to be making the trip with the team and bringing you all news from our journey, I thought it would be helpful if you know a little more about me. I was a head manager on last year's Big Ten championship team and am honored to be working with the team for this upcoming season as well.
I will be a senior this year and am majoring in history and political science. Originally I am from Caledonia, Mich., a small-town outside of Grand Rapids, Mich. At Caledonia I was a manager for the varsity basketball team for four years and decided to stick with it when I got to Michigan.
As managers, it is our job to make sure all the logistical aspects of games and practices run smoothly so that all the coaches have to worry about is coaching, and all the players have to worry about is playing. Setting up and running drills in practice and taking stats and writing down plays during games are some of our general duties.
However, it is also our job to help the program in as many ways as possible, whether it is cutting up film for the coaching staff or volunteering to rebound for our players. (This last part can go on for quite a while, especially with gym rats like Caris LeVert, I swear he is always getting shots up).
In a nutshell, as managers it is our job to "be in position, to be in position," as Coach (Jeff) Meyer always says. I always say that becoming a manager at Michigan is the best decision I've ever made, and I wouldn't trade going to the Final Four a few years back and experiencing a Big Ten championship last year for anything. During this trip I hope to give Michigan basketball fans a taste of Italy and the feeling that you are on board with us.
This trip has come at the perfect time for us as we have a growing team that will really benefit from playing together and building camaraderie before our season even begins. Many of our guys have never been out of the country before either, so this trip will be a great learning experience about other nations and cultures.
Anyway, I need to get some sleep before tomorrow as we are hitting the ground running first thing tomorrow morning. Be sure to check in every day for more information about our Italian adventure.