MAY 31 :: CLINIC 2/TOUR OF PRETORIA
The SMU men's basketball spent its first full day in South Africa on Saturday. The team started with a basketball clinic Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Centre, which will be the site of the team's exhibition against the South African National Team on June 1. The team then had lunch and boarded the bus for a trip to Pretoria, the capital of South Africa.
Blog - May 31
Today we woke up in the Holiday Inn Soweto, just outside Johannesburg. This full service hotel is brand new and is located on the grounds of Freedom Square. Freedom Square is an area seeking an economic rebirth and this hotel is the "anchor tenant". This area is an historic site as the Freedom Charter was declared here at the Congress of the People in June of 1955. African National Congress (ANC) leaders Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu were restricted from this meeting, but observed from the rooftop of a local hardware store. The Freedom Charter was the blueprint for the democracy of South Africa, which finally developed their constitution in 1996.
Pretty powerful stuff!!!
After breakfast we went to the Vodacom Mandeville Indoor Centre to give a clinic to about 30 young men. We basically went through a two hour practice with four young men participating. It was good for our guys to practice and it was fun to see them teach the youngsters from involved in the clinic. I think it is great to see our players teaching young men our drills and skills. Our guys were great and it reinforces good habits in their own games as they teach. It hits me, "They actually do listen sometimes!!!!"
Back to the hotel for lunch and then a tour of Pretoria. Pretoria is the capitol city of South Africa. Joe, our tour guide, did a terrific job of explaining the sights. We saw the President's residence, courthouses and beautiful government buildings. This area reminded me of Northern California with the trees, hills and the climate. As we enter winter here the sun went down about 5:45pm and there was a chill in the air.....a beautiful evening.
We ended up at a nice restaurant for dinner. The players gathered at one table and laughed heartedly for most of the meal. It was great to see our team bonding like that. Jon Killen is usually the center of the jokes as I think he is "decompressing" after his four years of hard work on the court and in the classroom. By the way, Jon has been accepted into the MBA School at SMU's Cox School of Business!!! He may defer admission so he can play ball overseas for a year or two. He continues to make us proud.