GETTYSBURG, Pa. – The Gettysburg College men's basketball team will get an early jump on its team building under a new head coach with a trip to Italy from May 17-26.
The Bullets leave campus on May 17 and spend the next nine days competing against Italian basketball teams and visiting local sites in Italy. For many team members, this will be the first trip outside of the United States and it will be the first excursion under first-year Head Coach B.J. Dunne, who was named to the post one month ago.
"This is going to be such a special experience for them and for our entire team," said Dunne, who arrived at Gettysburg following a five-year stint at Vassar College. "This trip proves that college athletics is more than just a game. The educational, cultural, and team opportunities that are provided from a trip like this are truly unique and special."
Joining Dunne and Assistant Coach Jeff Slanovec will be the majority of Gettysburg's remaining roster, including rising seniors Luke Cooper (Medford, N.J./Shawnee), Matt Palacio (Katonah, N.Y./John Jay), and Alec Warren (Medford, N.J./Shawnee); rising juniors Nick Antololini (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon), Joey Carroll (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey), Danny Duffey (Huntingdon Valley, Pa./Lower Moreland), Churon Lanier-Martin (Chester, Pa./Milton Hersey), Nick Lord(Millersville, Pa./Penn Manor), Wil Rasmussen (Warrenton, Va./Highland), and Harrison Rottman (New York, N.Y./Eleanor Roosevelt); and rising sophomores Danny Bomberger (Lancaster, Pa./Lancaster Catholic), Avery Close(Phoenixville, Pa./Phoenixville), Evan Czulada (York, Pa./Central York), and Anthony Shepperd (King of Prussia, Pa./Upper Merion).
The upcoming trip has afforded Dunne an opportunity to get in some early work with the team in preparation for a handful of contests against local teams. Moreover, it's given the new mentor a chance to get to know his players.
"I've enjoyed connecting with each player on an individual level and I look forward to continuing to get to know them in Italy," said the head coach. "This has been a huge advantage for our team; to be on the court, work on skill development, set program expectations, install some offensive and defensive concepts, and start to develop player/coach relationships."
The trip is centered on four games against Italian teams. The Bullets open Saturday, May 19, against Ferrara Montale at 2 p.m. (EST). Then it will be back-to-back outings against Misericordia Montale on Monday, May 21, at 1 p.m. (EST) and Basket Olimpia Legnaia on Tuesday, May 22, at 2 p.m. (EST). The game schedule concludes against Virtus Velletri on Thursday, May 24, at 1 p.m. (EST).
In between practices and games, the Bullets will take in many of Italy's world-famous sites including the Grand Canal in Venice, the Roman Coliseum and Forum, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. The team will take a guided bike tour of Ferrara and tour Florence as well. Dunne and company will also take in a Serie A Professional Soccer contest between SPAL and Sampdoria.
This trip is a continuation of a long-standing tradition for the Gettysburg basketball team. Former Head Coach George Petrie, who retired following the 2017-18 campaign, took his teams to Europe five times during his nearly three decades at the helm. Petrie finished his tenure as the program's all-time winningest coach with three Centennial Conference titles and five NCAA Division III Championship appearances.
For Dunne, this upcoming journey opens the door to new experiences for his team and a new era for Gettysburg basketball.
"As a group we are looking forward to exploring a foreign country together and immersing ourselves in the Italian culture," said Dunne. "The team bonding experiences that this trip will provide for us will be invaluable in building team trust as we begin to set our goals for the 2018-19 season."
Follow the Bullets throughout their trip via their blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.