August 27, 2010

Santos Enjoys Time Playing in Europe

Senior basketball player Michael Santos (MS) was in Europe mid-August playing on a college team through Global Sports Academy.  He was the third Bronco basketball player to play internationally this summer.  Santos is second from the left in the photo to the right. (See more photos from Santos' trip here!)

Global Sports Academy is a non-profit organization created to arrange athletic competition between equally matched teams at all levels.  To "Promote International Goodwill" and a better understanding between nations through sports is our major goal.  With Global Sports Academy you will experience the thrill of international sports competition, attend cultural events and see the historical sites in the world.

Last season, Santos averaged 6.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.0 spg per game, and 26.8 mpg for the Broncos.  He played in every game, starting the last 18 games of the season.  He was third on the team with 859 minutes played as a junior in 2009-10.

Santos is back at Santa Clara, healthy and excited about the upcoming season.  The following is an expanded question and answer session with Santos.

SCU: Have you been to Europe before?

MS: No. I have never been out of the United States.

SCU: What countries did you go to on this trip?

MS: Belgium first, and then Germany and England.

SCU: What was the best part of the trip?

MS: The best part of the trip was experiencing the different cultures in Europe and being in a country where they don't speak English. We had to adapt to that.  Also playing internationally – it's a different experience from playing NCAA basketball. We played a number of professional team and playing with five other guys on a team that I didn't know more than a few days was a real challenge at time.  But we really got along well and hit it off, hanging out quite a bit off the court.  We stuck together.

SCU: What did learn about traveling with a team like this?

MS: I learned I needed to get on the plane early to get an Exit row (smiles). I learned how you have to adjust playing with new teammates. In college you are with the guys all summer and so when you start playing or practicing, you know what they will do. This was just one week where had to learn on the fly and adjust in a foreign atmosphere. 

SCU: What position did you play?

MS: We had four guards and two bigs.  When our big guy, Steve Moore (Missouri), subbed out we kind of had a five guard line-up.  Playing with a five-guard line-up is challenging, especially because we were going up against bigger, older men. Being undersized, you really had to concentrate on rebounding. 

I played a little bit of point guard, but mostly shooting guard and small forward.

SCU: Do you want to play professionally?

MS: Yes.  It's been my goal since fourth grade so this was a good experience to see what professional basketball was like in Europe. We played professional teams in Germany and Belgium. International play is different and experiencing it was helpful and it may be educational for the future. 

SCU: You had a chance to sight-see every day.  What was your favorite site or is it too hard to pick just one?

MS: They were all beautiful. Every city. London was the one that I really enjoyed – it was the best.  All the history as well as the fact it is just such a big city with so much going on.  It's so big and modern, but it has castles, Buckingham Palace, so much architecture – just so many places of historical significance.

SCU: What do you feel like you have to work on in your game?

MS: I need to continue to get stronger.  Not that I will ever play five games in five days again, but that was really challenging. You have to play solid and not have a let down.  Also, I will continue to work to improve my outside shooting and my strength.

SCU: How will you do both of those?

MS: I'll take the next two months before the season begins to continue to work with our strength and conditioning coach, Joe Siara.  Joe is really good – he's a huge help.  And I'll also continue to go in the gym and get shots up.

SCU: Overall, what did you learn that you can bring to the team this year?

MS: The importance of our chemistry. What we've built over this summer; now that we are playing together and working out together for so long and we need to use that to our advantage once the season starts.  It's a huge asset having that.  The freshmen, who are new and been here most of the summer, will help. As a senior, leadership will be big because we lacked it last year with no seniors on the team.  This year we have four seniors and we should be better in that area.

SCU: When you returned from Europe, Santa Clara's entire men's basketball team was here in summer school. What were your general first impressions after being gone almost 10 days?

MS: I had seen everybody before, except for Marc Trasolini.  Everyone looks good. I have only had one meeting with them – weights on Thursday morning. Everyone looks motivated and anxious for the season to start.

SCU: What are your thoughts in regards to team chemistry this season? 

MS: I think we have a really good foundation for our team chemistry based on the fact that 12 of us are returning from last year's team. We like each other.  The guys we brought in are all committed to our team philosophy and have fit in well so far. 

SCU: There will be a lot of competition in practice – will that be a positive come game time?

MS: Certainly. Having 17 guys will benefit us because there will always be someone pushing you.  It will only make us better come game time and we are able to compete against someone besides ourselves. Having 17 guys will allow us to have better practices based on the numbers and so we will be able to prepare better for games.

SCU: How will you handle this competition as a senior leader?  Keeping it as a positive? Have you thought about that?

MS: Competition will be good because in the end the best will win out.  Competition is good.  No one will feel like they have a lock on their position.

SCU: Anything else?

MS: I am really glad I had the opportunity to go on this trip and play basketball in Europe for 10 days. I am glad to be back now, can get back into workouts with our team here and continue to build for the upcoming season.

Go Broncos!