out crowd of 5,000 watched Arizona play
the French club champions in Limoges.
The Wildcats lost, 89-86.
From one game to the next, the players
were never sure what might happen. In
pregame warmups before Arizona was going to play the German National Team at
Frankfurt, 6-8 forward Wayne Womack
shattered a glass backboard with a routine
dunk. The start of the game was delayed
Maybe that was an omen of things to
come. Guard Harvey Mason suffered a
nasty cut over his right eye from a German
elbow. Both benches emptied for a mid-
Land Down Under." No doubt the beautiful beaches, not to mention the ladies,
played a part in the team's losing record.
The players stayed at the beach town of
It was the third consecutive year the Big
Eight has sent a group of players overseas.
In 1987, a select team traveled to the Orient and played in China. In 1988, a Big
Eight team played in Czechoslovakia.
Bill Hancock, a former assistant commissioner of the Big Eight, traveled to
Australia with the team and kept a diary of
the daily events.
"It was fun to watch the development of
Big Eight Conference all-stars Nathan Buntin of Missouri (left) and John Rettiger of Kansas
State enjoy an excursion in the Sydney, Australia harbor.
"That was not a friendly game," Olson
said. But Arizona won it, 91-89, when
Womack hit a short jumper with 12 seconds left.
The team moved on to Spain to face a
tough pro team in Madrid, led by former
University of Houston star Ricky
Winslow. Arizona held on to win, 99-95,
and weathered a 46-point effort by
While the other three teams headed to
Europe, the Big Eight Select Team was
flying in the opposite direction to "The
10 guys who didn't know each other into a
team," Hancock said.
Hancock had to spend part of the tour on
crutches after he stepped on a sliced-off
piece of a bleacher and suffered a deep cut
on his foot.
From Kansas City to Brisbane, it took
25 hours, but they crossed the International Date Line in flight, which made Friday
a four-hour day.
The group was ready to head for the hotel and rest, only to find out their bags
were in Sydney, not Brisbane.
Jet lag may have been a problem consid
ering the Big Eight boys lost the first thrc 2
games they played.
Ball State had only a six-hour fligl t
from Chicago to Amsterdam, but Huns;
ker's players still needed time to rest.
"It would be very difficult to play th :
day you arrived, or even one day later,
Hunsaker said. "To be smart, you nee
two days to adjust."
The Atlantic 10's games included on
with the Finnish National Team and on
with a Russian club team from Estonia
which the Americans defeated, 86-80.
It was the second foreign trip for the At
lantic 10 Conference. The first was in 198
when an all-star group was taken to Spain
Each team encountered a few surprise
along the way.
Most of the foreign teams the American
faced, except for the national teams, had a
least one American on the roster. Forme
NBA center Swen Nater started for on<
team Ball State played.
"I was amazed at how big basketbal
was over there," Hunsaker said. "The^
have three NBA games a week on televi
sion. Everywhere you go there are Larn
Bird or Michael Jordan or Magic Johnsoi
"As a coach, we all want what's
best for our players. I can yt
imagine a better way to further
their education than the
experience we had."
"I also was surprised at the level of
coaching in The Netherlands and the level
of play. These teams played excellent defense. I would say the teams were equivalent to mid-level to high-level Division I
Tom Duddleston, the assistant sports information director at Arizona, was surprised at how many people in Europe
"Almost everyone in West Germany
speaks English," Duddleston said. "It's
the second language there."
All in all, it was a learning experience
these Americans never will forget.
"As a coach, we all want what's best for
our players," Hunsaker said. "I can't
imagine a better way to further their education than the experience we had." $)