Russell Hoops Boys Experience the Globasket ’19 Tournament
This was our first time taking an U12 group of boys on tour and it was certainly one to remember. We took 12 boys, 6 from Hertfordshire and 6 from Sussex who took on the highly challenging Globasket ’19 tournament, a youth basketball event in Lloret de Mar, Spain, that features the likes of FC Barcelona, Fuenlabrada, Girona and many more. There are also attendees from other locations in Europe such as Germany, Israel and Ireland.
The group consisted of Coach Jack, BTM Rep’s Guy Atoun and Tom Ward, Tour Parents Gary, Ewa, Mel, Gregg, Daniel, Jermaine and Blair. The players were Will, Jayden, Max, Lucas, Chris, David, Jamaul, Henry, Jonathan, Nate, Keanu and Dylan. This was a first-time experience for all the boys in an international tournament. It turned out to be one that they will never forget and certainly learnt lots from, on and off the court.
It was an unusual start to our tour as half the group were travelling from Luton with Coach Jack and half the group were with BTM Rep Tom, travelling from Gatwick. After an easy flight, the Luton group were first to touchdown in Barcelona. The first challenge of the tour was Coach Jack trying to find our bus to get us to our Hotel in Lloret de Mar, the boys certainly found this amusing but nevertheless we found it and were joined by a Polish team and an Israeli team. About an hour later we did some drop offs for the other teams and we finally made it to the hotel at about 11pm. With our first game being on Day 2 we needed to be sharpish on getting the boys to bed. They were provided with a light meal before heading to rooms to get some sleep ready to get things going on Day 2.
At about 1.30am the Gatwick crew arrived after being delayed slightly. They were past the point of tired and we were told there was a lot of singing and dancing on the coach trip from the airport, the boys were certainly excited. They were now all together and Hotel Samba would be their home for the next 7 days. All the boys were roomed up and settled in.
After half the team arriving late last night, we extended the wake up call to give the boys some extra sleep. Once we were all up and ready to go, we headed down to breakfast where the boys feasted on the hotel buffet. There were some interesting meal choices, that mainly consisted of biscuits and cakes. The member of the group that won the prize for most food on their plate was certainly Jamaul who piled in the carbs every morning. Not to mention parent supporter Gary who was up there too!
Our first game wasn’t until the afternoon so the boys got some chill time before getting game ready. The weather was rather glorious as they headed down to the pool to collect some rays and jump in the extremely cold water. The boys started off with a win though as Coach Jack put an ice cream offer on the table, which consisted of them jumping in – only 4 of the boys braved this opportunity. Will, Nate and Jonathan took the time to work on their sun tans alongside Coach Jack, Gary, Ewa and Jermaine. Next to the pool was a playground with swings and slides on, which the boys would spend most of their chill time in with the BTM Select boys.
After plenty of chill time, the boys took themselves up to their rooms to get game ready and collect their kits. Once all sorted, we headed back to the hotel buffet for lunch, where once again the boys feasted out. The most popular thing at lunch was by far the ice cream; the boys would go through 2/3 pots every lunch and dinner. The basketball facility we were playing at was called Pompeu Fabra and was only a 5-minute walk from Hotel Samba. It was a stunning, 2 court facility with lots of viewing overlooking the courts. This is where we would be playing all of our games and the atmosphere was magnificent all week.
Our first game was against CB Vic who were a very strong U12 Spanish team with lots of talent. This was our first taste at the level we were facing, which proved to be a tough one for the boys. Coach Jack and Guy put them through a warmup to get them ready as people piled in to watch. CB Vic put on a strong full court press throughout the whole game which put pressure on our ball handlers. We attacked the basket well but at times we found it hard to finish over a couple of their bigger kids. Unfortunately, we took a loss in first game but this was just the start for our boys!
Final score was 110-26 to CB Vic.
After a great first full day in our Globasket ’19 campaign the tiredness from the travel day caught up with the boys and once we had dinner, they headed up to their rooms for some chill time and lights out.
Day 3, we had an early wake up call at 7am for 7.30am breakfast. Our game was tipping at 9am so we were on a tight schedule. We made our short walk down to the Pompeu Fabra facility where we were due to take on German team TS Jahn Munchen, who were another powerhouse in the competition. Once again we were facing a strong full court press which continued to make things difficult for our boys. The great thing to see was the boys battling hard from start to finish. In the second half TS Jahn Munchen broke away and there was no chance of us getting back in the game. The main thing that Coach Jack emphasised to the boys was that they must get better each game. There was certainly an improvement from Game 1 against CB Vic.
Final score was 104-55 to TS Jahn Munchen.
The BTM boys took on Fuenlabrada who have some of the best U12 players in Madrid in their squad, so our boys stayed on to support them. We then all headed back to the hotel where the boys got their lunch before preparing to set out to the city of Barcelona.
Once showered and changed after lunch, we boarded the bus to Barcelona which was about an hour drive. The boys were very excited which showed on the bus as Jamaul led the way with the beats. Once we arrived in Barcelona we took the boys down to La Rambla, one of the worlds most famous streets where they took the opportunity to buy some gifts and look in some stores. We then came across the NBA Café where the boys were able to match themselves up against some NBA players heights, hand size and shoe size. Coach Jack even gave the staff a competition of spinning the ball on your finger. We then got back to the pick-up point where we commuted over to Palau Municipal d’Esports de Badalona, the home of Divina Seguros Joventut, a team in the top flight ACB league of Spain which includes Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.
Once we got in the game the boys queued up to get their popcorn and sweets and then we went and located our seats for the start of what turned out to be an incredible game and amazing atmosphere. There were a few big time plays which included huge 3 point shots and two big alley oops, much to the excitement of the boys. The game ended with the home side launching a big 3 point shot on the buzzer to win the game. Everyone was up out their seats screaming! Max was even able to purchase a Joventut home jersey which looked awesome.
We got back on the bus to Lloret de Mar and the boys got themselves to their rooms ready to take on Day 4 of our Globasket ’19 campaign.
After a really busy day yesterday, the boys were able to catch some extra sleep before we prepared for our third game of the tour. We headed down to breakfast at about 9.30am where the boys took on some bacon sandwiches. Coach Jack and Guy had a little chat over breakfast and got some thoughts from the boys on their experience watching an ACB game. A few of the boys said about themselves aspiring to play at that level and wanting to watch more ACB games.
After breakfast the boys had some chill time by the pool for about an hour where Jermaine made the boys do a press up challenge. Coach Jack and Dylan were by far the best at this and put everyone to shame. After some press ups, Guy and Gary put the boys through a small stretching session to help prepare them for the upcoming game against another local Spanish team Sant Andreu Natzaret.
At about 11.20am we made our way down to the facility. Guy put the boys through their warm up and it was nearly time to battle again. The boys were a little excited as we had ex Spanish national team centre, standing at 7ft 4in, Roberto Duenas who has a retired number 12 jersey with FC Barcelona watching the game. The game got under way and the boys started off strong, scoring the first 6 points of the game. Andreu Natzaret moved the ball superbly, which made things difficult on defence for the boys. Once again, we ran out of steam and Andreu Natzaret flew away with the game.
Final score was 114-45 to Andreu Natzaret.
After our game, we stayed and watched some of the FC Barcelona game who took on another powerhouse in the tournament, Fuenlabrada. It was great for the boys to see some of the top U12 players go to battle. We then made the walk back to Hotel Samba where the boys took on the quality hotel buffet once again. We had fish on the menu today and as always the boys finished up with pots of ice cream!
Once lunch was finished to boys had some free time to chill out and get showered. It was then time for a local walk to the shops. This turned out to be a very successful trip as the boys went on a spending spree. It was also nice to see them buying presents for friends and family back home. The most popular purchase within the group was a red and black Fila jumper!
We then made the 10 minute walk back to the hotel for dinner and chill time before bed.
It’s playoff time!! Even though we came bottom of the group we go into a playoff stage. We drew the number one seeded team in Group A which was CEB Girona. After breakfast Coach Jack had some 1-1 meetings with the boys to see how things were going on tour and what they wanted to get out of their last two games remaining. Once ready and kitted up they headed back down to Pompeu Fabra for their biggest game yet, tipping off at 12pm.
CEB Girona were the biggest team of the tournament and our main focus of the game was to try our best to control the rebounds. It was by far our toughest start yet having a scoreless first quarter but things would improve as the game went on. In the second quarter we slowed them down a lot and forced them to take more outside shots. We managed to get to the free throw line the most times in this game, where we shot a fantastic 7/11. Another big factor in this game was the fan group of CEB Girona team, they had horns and by far made the most noise out of all the teams there. It gave a great atmosphere for the game.
Heading into the second half the CEB Girona team made some tough shots and scored a lot in transition, this made things really difficult for our boys. Although we didn’t get the win, we improved our score in each quarter during the game, only losing one of them by 5 points. CEB Girona would advance to the semi-finals and we played a consolation game the next day.
Final score was 125-35 to CEB Girona.
We got ourselves back to the hotel for lunch and we had a free afternoon ahead of us. The boys took on the buffet, which hadn’t disappointed us yet. There was chicken, pasta, chips and steak all on offer, with the usual ice cream and fruit for dessert. After lunch, they headed to rooms to get changed and then we all met at the pool for some free time.
After some time by the pool and some yoga stretching by one of the other English teams parents Julie who were alongside us we got back to the rooms to change and got ready to head to the bowling alley where we met up with the BTM boys.
At the bowling alley there was some serious competition going on, not only from the boys but from the parent and coaches group which consisted of Coach Jack, Jermaine, Gregg and Mel. The winner of the boys group was Dylan and the winner of the adult group was “surprisingly” Gregg.
That was it for the day, as we got back to bed and prepared for our last game day of the tour.
We had a late tip off and we found out who we were playing. It was our partner team BTM who we spent the majority of the trip with; a great way to end the Globasket ’19 campaign. We spent most of the day from breakfast to pool time and chill time with each other. It was due to be a great battle.
Coach Jack and Coach James of BTM had started this off by refusing to talk to each other until after the game, much to the excitement of all the boys, making them realise they needed to leave everything on the floor. The boys also started their battles with a game of man hunt in their chill time.
We had a quick team meeting where we went over some final thoughts leading into the afternoon’s final game. We got into lunch then prepped ourselves to leave for the final game. We walked down to Pompeu Fabra for the last time with our opponents BTM.
Both teams got warming up and the tension was building. We got our supply of water which was provided at every game and we were ready to go. We started off strong, hitting some outside shots and rebounding well. We pressured the ball on defence and caused some early turnovers for the BTM boys. They also shot the ball well and got to the free throw line well. Going into the second half things were pretty close, we developed some great movement off the ball and gave up some good shots for great shots, the improvement from game one was becoming really evident. The BTM boys ran away with the game in the last two quarters, putting in a lot of fast-break points that we struggled to stop.
Final score was 103-52 to BTM.
We stayed after to take a group photo with both the teams and then watched the semi final between Fuenlabrada and CB Vic. Very electrifying as the game went to over time and was won by only a few points by CB Vic.
We made our way back to the hotel with BTM, not as rivals, but as one big family!
It was time to do some tour awards and round off what has been a fantastic experience for these boys.
Coaches Player – David
Players Player – Jamaul
All the boys did an awesome job. They were extremely well behaved and conducted themselves professionally on and off the court. Coach Jack treated the boys to soft drinks and they spent a couple of hours chilling with the pool tables and air hockey, whilst the band played.
Lights out was 10.30pm as we had a long day of travel the next day.
We got up and packed early, got our final breakfast as it was time to prepare to leave for our plane back to the UK.
It was a fantastic experience for these boys and they were a pleasure to be around. Each and every one of them has a bright future and we look forward to following their foot steps as they now know what it takes to play at the top level of basketball.
We look forward to hopefully welcoming them all back alongside more future stars!
A massive thank you to Guy, Tom and BTM Basketball for their assistance in making our first Globasket experience a great one!
Russell Hoops – Globasket ’19 Campaign – Till next time!
Mel clarkMay 21, 2019
We travelled with the kids on tour. The boys soon bonded and enjoyed their time together They had a fantastic time and really learned a lot. The level was too high for them but it has inspired them to work harder to improve.