WAXAHACHIE, Texas — Playing on the road is usually considered a chore for any sort of athletic team. But results seem to indicate that this season's Columbia College men’s basketball team prefers to be on the road.
The Cougars (4-1 overall) played four of their first five games on the road. Instead of struggling with fatigue because of a lot of travel in a short amount of time, the team has built a solid 3-1 record away from the Arena of Southwell Complex.
Missouri Valley (4-3)
at Columbia College (4-1)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Arena of Southwell Complex
One thing that helps to minimize the rigors of travel is the luxurious charter bus that Columbia College rents from the White Knight Bus Company. The bus is a virtual house on wheels, equipped with wireless Internet, electrical outlets and TVs. It helps the team keep busy and entertained on trips such as the 12-hour journey it just made last weekend from Columbia to Waxahachie, Texas, for the Dr Pepper Classic.
Junior forward Darnell Moore said the team is able to stay relaxed on the bus by texting, catching up on sleep and watching movies.
Junior forward Taylor Evans said the team also makes frequent stops on their road trips to pick up snacks and meals.
“Coach definitely keeps us well fed,” Evans said. “We stop a lot and there’s not much of a limit on the amount of money you can spend at a restaurant. So, we make sure to stock up whenever we stop and keep our energy up as much as we can.”
Junior guard Henrique Medeiros said the team even enjoys their time at the hotels, even though they might be at a loss for things to do.
“One thing he does to keep our energy up on the road is always getting us great hotels with big beds,” Medeiros said with a smile.
With a lot of time before games on the road, especially during multiple-day tournaments like the one they just completed in Waxahachie, the Cougars looks for activities in the towns where they are staying to keep them busy. To pass the time, the team likes find places to bowl or play some kind of other game to keep the competition up even when they aren’t on the court.
“We practice in the morning before the games and sometimes coach will take us out to go bowling or eat or something else to keep us busy,” Moore said.
The Cougars players agreed that the activities the coaches plan help with team chemistry and in turn, help their play on the court.
The team had 11 newcomers, so they needed to jell quickly to start the season well. Playing several road games forced the team to spend a lot of time together, helping with the transition.
“It’s a good time for us to just chill with each other,” Mediros said. “We now have a pretty good group that has great chemistry. Everybody is friends with everybody else.”
If the Cougars can continue their strong play on the road, a return trip to the NAIA national tournament could be in order. The Cougars qualified for the tournament in 10 of the previous 11 seasons before missing the tournament last year because of a poor 13-19 record.
The Cougars return home to play Missouri Valley at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The game will kick off a five-game homestand for Columbia College.