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Arizona State Sun Devils

Bobby Hurley, ASU basketball excited for “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Europe

© Alex Gould/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Arizona State basketball team will be departing to Europe on Monday, the first time the Sun Devils have left the country since 2019 when ASU and Colorado traveled to China for games as part of a Pac-12 global initiative.

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ASU will fly first to Paris from July 24-29, then Athens from July 29-31 and Mykonos from July 31–Aug. 2. They will play two games in Paris, one in Athens and then enjoy time together in Mykonos.

Bobby Hurley spoke with the media on Zoom today before the Sun Devils embark on their trip to Europe, and he is excited for the bonding experience his team will have.

“Any time you can travel and spend time together like we’ll be able to do on this type of trip, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Hurley said. “Just seeing all these historical sights, cities with rich culture and history and being able to share those experiences. These additional practices have been great. We have taken full advantage of those. We’ve done a lot more team-oriented stuff this summer than any other year so we’re pretty far along in that regard … The games will be beneficial but it’s more about the team bonding, time we’ll spend seeing the sights, dinners we’ll have. All those ways we can accelerate the process of bringing together this group of people.”

Back in 2017, Hurley and the Sun Devils embarked to Rome and Barcelona and started the year 12-0.

“(The players) raved about … just how much time they had to spend together doing stuff on and off the court and the value of that and the impact that it had on winning that season,” Hurley said of the 2017 team. “I think not to say that’s the entire reason (we were so good to start the year), but I felt like that foreign trip certainly played a role in how quickly we were able to start that season. Our chemistry was outstanding and all the additional practice time and again, the time we spent together on the trip I think paid dividends that season.”

ASU welcomes nine newcomers this year, so the trip will be a chance for everyone to get to know each other even better.

Sstarting point guard Frankie Collins said that he is looking forward to seeing the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower in terms of sites, but knows the importance of what the tour will bring.

“I think for us it’s more so just creating this bond with our new teammates,” Collins said. “We’re gonna play basketball, it’s just sometimes you gotta put basketball to the side because it’s the bigger picture … like building these relationships, creating these bonds and memories, that’s gonna last on forever.”

Collins will be even more of a leader for this season’s team as one of three returners, and he’s ready to grow closer with his teammates on the trip.

“I think just being able to get away from where we are now just putting our phones down and just connecting with each other mentally,” Collins said. “Going out there it’ll help us on the court because then we’ll all be connected mentally and all have that relationship.”

Small forward Jamiya Neal is appreciative of the added time the team has already had together with the extra practices.

“We never had to start at this fast of a pace,” Neal said. “We’re already having to do a lot more stuff than usual because of this trip. So I salute the guys that come in and work and just trying to get better every day and learn the plays and learn the system at a faster rate than the transfers had to before.”

Hurley is already looking forward to what the team can accomplish from what he has seen in them this summer.

“We’ve had a good summer, obviously a lot of new faces. Trying to get guys acclimated to a new environment, a new way of doing things but it’s exciting. It’s refreshing to be in the gym and seeing the level of talent, seeing how those options can work together,” Hurley said. “This group really seems to like each other. Our practices have been competitive. Off the court we seem to be gelling as well.”

No Arizona State players on preseason All-Pac-12 teams

Stay tuned for more content from this press conference.

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Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on Twitter via @Brendan_Mau

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