Aug. 11, 2013
Senior guard Keawe Enos chronicles the first part of UVU men's basketball's trip throughout China. The team landed in Shangai on Thursday evening before taking a bus to Hangzhou for a game on Friday. The team played Saturday in Shaoxing and is prepping for game three in Jinhua.
We’ve only been in China for a couple of days but it’s safe to say that things are much different here than they are back home in Utah. But before I talk about that I have to talk about the trip here. It was LONG! I think it was especially long for me since I’ve never even been out of the country before. We left Orem on Wednesday morning, August 7, at about 8 am, flew out of Salt Lake at 11 am, and after a two hour flight we landed in Seattle.
After a two-hour layover there in the Seattle Airport we would begin the longest flight (by far) of the trip, an 11 hour flight to Seoul, Korea. Man was that long! Fortunately I was able to sleep for about half of it, and they had movies on the plane to help pass the time, but still, by the end I never wanted to be on a plane again.
Then as soon as we got off and began to look around, it was pretty obvious that we weren’t in America anymore. All the people around us were speaking different languages, and as we walked through the airport everyone just stared at us, especially the tall guys one the team. It was also at this time we began to realize how big the time difference really was. It was about four in the afternoon there in Korea, but back in Utah it was three in the morning! That was definitely going to be a huge adjustment. When we got to our gate we found out that had a two hour layover, which after delays really ended up being three hours. Now all we had left was a two hour trip to Shanghai, China. After that flight which by now felt very short to us, we were finally in China. But, we would have one more 3 hour bus ride before we would reach our hotel in Hangzhou. Finally, after over 24 hours we had made it.
Now that we were here, we quickly noticed there were going to be many things that we had to get used to. The biggest difference probably has to be the food. Our first experience with the food was our bus ride to Hangzhou. After hours without food we were starving, and when we got on the bus we saw that our hosts had gotten us KFC, which we were excited about. They gave us all what we thought were chicken sandwiches, but after looking closer, it definitely wasn’t chicken. I later found out that it was a shrimp burger. I usually like shrimp but this was not great. I went to bed that night hoping that I wouldn’t have the same experience with all of the foods in China. It turns out that, at least for me, the food isn’t that bad.
There are some things that I don’t like at all, but most of the food here just has a lot less flavor than back home, especially the desserts. So most of it isn’t bad, it’s just okay. Other things like milk and some juices and other things, you expect to taste like things back home, but most of the time they just don’t. There are things that I actually like though. My favorites are the rice, most of the meats, and the fruit. Other than the food there are many other things that are different. A few examples: the T.V. is obviously in Chinese, they don’t use ice for their drinks so they’re usually warm, the traffic is crazy, our beds are extremely hard, and oh yeah they don’t always have toilet paper. I’ve definitely become more thankful for some of the simple things we have back home.
The highlight of the trip so far has to be our games. Even though everything else had been so different, when got out there on the court, we were in our comfort zone. Unfortunately, we didn’t play as well as we wanted to and we lost a close one to the Zhejiang Lions, a professional team here, but the overall experience of playing a game in China was awesome. The fans were amazing. They almost packed the arena with about 4,000 people, and they were loud from the start. But what we didn’t realize was most of them weren’t there to cheer for their home country team, the Lions, they were there to cheer for us!
As each one of our players were announced there was a huge round of applause. Then throughout the game each time we made a good play, everyone erupted. After the game fans crowded around the tunnel wanting high fives and autographs. It was an experience that I will never forget, and we get to do it 8 more times. If that was all we did, the whole trip would still be worth it. We’re just hoping we can get a few W’s along the way.
Game 1 Recap: Zhejiang Lions 66, UVU Wolverines 60
Keawe Enos led UVU with 13 points and Hayes Garrity added 12 while Zach Nelson hauled in 10 rebounds for UVU in a narrow 66-60 loss to the Zhejiang Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). The Wolverines, who arrived in China less than 24 hours before taking the court, trailed by eight in the fourth quarter before a pair of Enos 3-pointers and a Garrity bucket tied the game at 51.
Game 2 Recap: Zhejiang Lions 71, UVU Wolverines 58
UVU built a 29-21 lead at the half but the Lions caught fire, connect on a barrage of 3-pointers over the final two 10-minute quarters. Holton Hunsaker had 16 for the Wolverines and Zach Nelson finished with 11.