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    Pack In Spain: Next Stop Madrid
    The lighthouse near the team's hotel.
    The lighthouse near the team's hotel.

    Aug. 13, 2012

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    The games portion of the Spanish exhibition tour is over for the NC State men's basketball team. Over the course of four and half games, the team showed improvement in each game and finished undefeated.

    Coach Gottfried and his staff were pleased by the progress made by the team during the trip, but realistically they know there still is lots of work to due once October gets here and preparation for the regular season begins. The trip achieved its main objective, which was to help the team grow closer. It was encouraging to see veterans Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell, C.J. Leslie and Scott Wood working hard as well as the younger players, like Tyler Lewis and T.J. Warren, giving glimpses their potential. Thomas de Thaey and Jordan Vandenberg gained valuable court time during the Spain trip as did walk-ons Jay Lewis and Staats Battle.

    Gran Canaria, which has hosted the Wolfpack men's basketball team for the last week, has been incredible. The weather every day has been ideal. Every member of the travel party has had the opportunity to enjoy walks along the boardwalk, stroll through the shops of the seaside mall and dine on great food.

    All would agree the highlight of this trip segment was the sea cruise. The travel party got to see the island by boat and was amazed by the beautiful coastline and blue waters. Even more enjoyable was the fun had swimming.  Getting into the water felt like getting a river in the mountains. Once you got over the initial shock of the cold, it felt great. It was so different than the warm ocean water off the North Carolina coast.

    When riding around Gran Canaria, one never has to look too far to see the ocean, as the major highways are located just inland from the coast, making for fantastic views. The unique thing about the island when you think of it being in a tropical climate, the geography of it is quite rocky and dry. Think Arizona without the heat and you have a fairly accurate picture of what the inland looks like.

    Tuesday morning, the travel party begins its long trip home. First is a two-hour flight to Madrid for a night's stay, followed by the flight back to North Carolina on Wednesday. The group lands in Charlotte about 1 p.m. Once the bags are loaded on the buses, it's back to Raleigh.

    Next stop Madrid.




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