Holton Hunsaker's China diary from Shenzhen

Holton Hunsaker

Aug 19, 2013

I don't think any one on our team, including the coaches, knew the experience China was going to be for us. Playing in Olympic stadiums every night, competing against teams that we will be telling our kids and families about years from now, and feeling the energy that the Chinese fans bring to every game has all been so much more than what we could have hoped.

Each of us have grown and become better basketball players from this opportunity. From Keawe making big shot after big shot to Chad, Mitch, and Zach defending, and holding their own, against men a foot taller than them. Everyone has gained confidence and invaluable game-time experience.

We have started to become a team. It has happened as we've watched each other work. After only having a couple of practices together our team has already begun to build a culture focused around working hard and working together, and fortunately we have witnessed success from it.

As far as just being here in China, we have been well taken care of by our hosts. We have had some pretty unique tastes with the food and interesting interactions with some of the people here, but that is what has made the trip for all of us. Everyone is so eager to meet us, and are always smiling and waving. I have never been asked to be in more pictures, shake more hands, or sign more t-shirts in my life.

Also, not only are we representing Utah Valley University, but we are also representing the U.S.A. From my experience earlier this summer interning in Washington, D.C., I was able to see the sacrifices people make for our country, and now being among a very reserve people who do not enjoy the same luxuries we do at home, I have a much deeper appreciation for what I've been given.

Listening to our national anthem, and all of us on the team singing the lyrics, brings on an entirely different feeling to the routinely performed anthem, when you're the only 15 people in the stadium with your hand over your heart.

I will always remember and cherish the memories that we have built on this trip together, and hopefully it is building the foundation to our season.