COPENHAGEN, Denmark — For the third year in a row, a select group of SCIAC men’s basketball players participated in an international All-Star tour in Europe.
11 players representing six schools played four games in Iceland and Denmark during a nine-day trip to the two countries at the beginning of June.
The group of graduated seniors went 3-1 overall against local professional competition.
Whittier head coach Mark Jensen led the group with Occidental associate head coach Michael Wells as his assistant.
The SCIAC All-Stars spent the first three days in Reykjavik, Iceland where they defeated Stjarnan 83-69 and fell to Haukar 101-88. In their down time, the group visited the famous Blue Lagoon, explored Rekjavik and did the Golden Circle Tour of the national park Thingvellir, hot spouting geyser, Gullfoss waterfall and geothermal lagoon.
In Denmark, the group beat Stevnsgade 73-65 and Verlose 89-80. When they weren’t on the court they explored Copenhagen’s many sights on biking and boat tours, visited the Christiansborg Palace and squatter’s colony of Christiania, climbed up the Church of Our Savior and spent time at Copenhagen’s Street Food Market. “It was another memorable trip for all of these young men. The competition was really tough as usual, and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly these guys from rival SCIAC programs, gel in such a short time to work together on the court and become friends through this trip. There is a palpable sense of pride in our conference from these players that manifests itself each year this all-star team is formed – pretty special."
2017 SCIAC All-Star Roster
Nasser Al-Rayes, Caltech
Hakim Arnold, La Verne
Jordan Bickerstaff, Whittier
Josh Cohan, Chapman
Mitchell Finkel, Pomona-Pitzer
Adrian Francis, Cal Lutheran
Ricky Galliani, Caltech
James Griffin, Chapman
Chris Kapano, Whittier
Cruz Mertens, La Verne
Wolfgang Wood, Cal Lutheran
Head Coach: Mark Jensen, Whittier
Assistant Coach: Michael Wells, Occidental
Game 1: SCIAC 83, Stjarnan 69
Adrian Francis led the group with 23 points, Hakim Arnold chipped in 19 and Wolfgang Wood added 13 as the group overcame a rusty start to win their first contest easily. Chirs Kapano and Josh Cohan each added six points.
Game 2: Haukar 101, SCIAC 88
Francis got hot in the second half, scoring 26 of his team high 32 points in the third and fourth quarters, and Arnold added 23 points, but the SCIAC found itself playing from behind for most of the game. Haukar made a run to start the second quarter and another late in the fourth to pull away.
Game 3: SCIAC 73, Stevnsgade 65
The SCIAC overcame a poor shooting night to comeback from a double-digit first half deficit for the victory. They played a 2-3 zone that exposed Stevnsgade’s poor passing, forcing more than 25 turnovers. Arnold scored 16 points, Francis had 15 and Kapano and Cohan each scored nine. Wood and Ricky Galliani each added eight.
Game 4: SCIAC 89, Verlose 80
The SCIAC finished its trip with its most impressive victory against Verlose, which had NCAA Division I players from Drake, Florida International and Marist. Nassar Al-Rayes played his best basketball of the trip, with excellent defense at the rim, while cleaning up the defensive glass. Galliani was also crucial in the win scoring a team-high 15 points to go along with excellent defense against Verlose’s best player. Cruz Mertens got hot in the first half, hitting three threes and finishing with 11 points. Francis added 15 points, Arnold had 14 and Wood scored 10.