Chris Holtmann Hopes Trip to Spain Is As Much About Education As It Is About Basketball

By James Grega on August 1, 2018 at 10:10 am

For a young team entering just its second year under a new head coach, it seems obvious that Ohio State's trip to Spain is more about team cohesion than anything else. 

While that is likely the case, Chris Holtmann still wants his team to focus on another aspect of the trip; the educational portion. 

Basketball seems to be third on the list behind team chemistry and educating his players on this trip, and that is all right with Holtmann, who said Tuesday that he is excited to see how his players react to a new environment.

"Education is kind of a broad term, but I think the more educated we all can be, the better," he said. "When you get a chance to experience a different culture and talk to people from a different country who see things in a different way than you do and grew up differently, I think there are advantages to all of that.

"It's a little bit like going on a trip with your kids and you are anxious to see how they respond to seeing a new place and how much they enjoy it."

The Buckeyes ship off for Spain on Wednesday morning and will return on Aug. 11. While overseas, they are set to play three games in three cities. First, Ohio State will travel to Madrid and take on the Madrid Generals on Aug. 4. Three days later, they will make the trek to Valencia to take on the Valencia All-Stars on Aug. 7, before closing with a trip to Barcelona and playing the Catalan All-Stars on Aug. 9.

As far as the basketball portion for Ohio State, Holtmann said that he plans on tinkering with a variety of different lineups as he continues to get to know his players both on and off the floor. 

Florida State transfer CJ Walker is staying back from the trip and spending time with family, which will give the players who are eligible to play this season a greater chance to develop chemistry on the court. Holtmann said he plans to give the upperclassmen the first chance at starting on the trip, before filling in with younger players behind them.

"Lineups will really vary. I think I will start the juniors and seniors that first game," Holtmann said. "We will start three different lineups and we will play everybody equal time, because we are still learning about our team. We don't know enough to say, 'These are our five starters.'"

Despite the trip serving as a team building and educational trip first and foremost, it could also help slow the game down for Holtmann's four freshmen, who he said Tuesday are still adjusting to the speed of the game. 

"I think their heads are spinning a little bit, all four freshmen. The game is fast for them right now and that is to be expected," he said. "We have seen that in practice and when we scrimmage."

With three games agains teams made up largely of professional and older players, the trip will at the very least give Ohio State's roster a better feel for the pace of the game. It figures to ramp up significantly from the high school level that the likes of Luther Muhammad, Jaedon LeDee, Justin Ahrens and Duane Washington just made the jump from.

Outside of the team bonding element, though, Holtmann said he doesn't see much from the trip translating to the upcoming season, as the practices in Spain will be much lighter than the ones back in Columbus in the fall. 

Instead, he hopes his players enjoy the trip and take advantage of the opportunity to experience a different culture and country, with basketball being third on the priority list.

"(I don't want to) make too much of the game. When we went to the Bahamas with my Gardner-Webb team, we had film sessions. Guys don't want to do film sessions in July. Our assistants don't want to do film sessions in July," Holtmann said. "It should be a great opportunity for our guys to spend time together as well as experience a different country."

View 5 Comments