What UConn hopes to gain from its European trip

Basketball will only play a partial role during the Huskies' 10-day tour.

Photo: Ian Bethune

When UConn jets across the Atlantic on Monday for its European Tour, basketball will play only a partial role in the trip. The Huskies have four exhibition contests across Croatia, Slovenia and Italy but outside of those days, they won’t pick up a basketball. Instead, the focus will shift to team-building, exploration and relaxation.

By the time UConn returns home, Geno Auriemma is confident he’ll know a lot more about his team — he just doesn’t know if it’ll be good or bad.

“I tell the team every time we've gone over there, we found out something about somebody on our team that helps us going forward, or they find out something about themselves and their teammates,” he said. “Who's a good teammate? You find out on these trips. Who’s selfish? Who’s unselfish? Who cares about other people? Who doesn't care about other people? Who communicates?“

Of course, some of that will be learned on the basketball court. If nothing else, the trip allows UConn to get a few additional practices and four games in earlier than usual. The Huskies’ main focus is building chemistry, especially since they have a unique group that includes true freshmen (KK Arnold, Qadence Samuels, Ashlynn Shade), players coming off season-ending injuries (Paige Bueckers, Ice Brady) and the rest of the returners.

UConn’s roster might not look all that different from last year, but there’s very little continuity entering the new season.

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