NEW YORK - Columbia men's basketball rising sophomore Grant Mullins recently wrapped up a successful trip to China with the Canadian Development Team at the Four Nations Tournament. Canada went a perfect 9-0, defeating Latvia, China, and the United States three times.
Team Canada used the trip as a tune-up for the FISU Summer Universiade, which begins July 6 in Kazan, Russia. Canada will make its final roster selections for the competition this week.
Mullins spoke with gocolumbialions.com to recap his international experience.
Going to China was a great experience. One thing that surprised me about China is how popular basketball is in their country. The stadiums were huge and were packed every game so it made for a pretty exciting atmosphere.
The international game wasn't too hard to adjust to for me. Most of the rules are the same as how we play in Canada. I think the biggest adjustment was not being able to communicate with the referees. Playing with a 24 second shot clock made me, as a point guard, push the ball in transition first and, if not, be very conscious of the time. I think this made both my court awareness and transition game better.
The tour of China involved a great deal of traveling by bus and plane, but it was all worth it to see different parts of the country. We were able to meet the players and coaches from other countries as well as learn from the way they play. Not much sight seeing was done because our schedule was packed with games, practice and travel.
Although our interaction with the people of China was somewhat limited, I feel like we really experienced the country after being there for 16 days, eating their food, traveling the countryside and taking in other parts of their culture.
Coach Smith was at our training camp in Portland right before China and we had a few conversations that I believe really helped in my selection to this team. I want to thank Coach Smith and the whole coaching staff for preparing me for this experience and I think it will only put me in a better position to help Columbia be successful next season.