Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams will be taking an abbreviated Christmas break this season to allow for extra practices and scheduled games. Both teams have games scheduled for Dec. 15, which is the first weekend of Christmas break for most BJU students. Some students who choose to stay or already live in the Greenville area plan to attend the game.
The teams also have games scheduled for the week following Dec. 30, so they will be returning from Christmas break about a week earlier than the rest of the student body.
On Dec. 30, the teams will stay at the University for a few days for morning and afternoon practices, and then they will go on a weeklong trip. This schedule has been traditional for the Bruins basketball teams. In previous years they have traveled to Florida, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
This year, the teams will be traveling to Florida again for two games. Between games, the players will also have time for some purely recreational activities. Previously, teams have gone to Sea World or Disney World.
The men’s team, coached by Burton Uwarow, is made up of 14 players and the women’s team, coached by Mike Leviere, is made up of 13 players. Each team will stay in a house, giving teammates a relaxed opportunity to get to know each other better.
Sarah Thomsen, a senior health science major and forward on the team, said the trip is a major bonding experience. “It’s a time that coach uses so that we can grow closer, and it’s definitely been beneficial in the past,” Thomsen said.
Kylie Leffew, a junior middle-school math and science education major and Bruins basketball player, added her input. “I’ve definitely loved how you get to know the other teammates and you get to travel and experience a lot of cool opportunities that the student body doesn’t normally get to have unless you’re on a team,” Leffew said.
Even though the players give up a week of their three-week Christmas break, they agree that the experience is worth it. “It’s not like we’re coming back to do class,” Leffew said. “We’re coming back to do basketball, which is something we enjoy, and while it’s different because we’re not with our family, we’re with our basketball family.”