Florida International men’s basketball team will tour Spain

A 10-day tour of Spain will give the Panthers an opportunity to jell and work on their games in an international setting.

08/14/2013 12:01 AM

08/14/2013 12:17 AM

Guard Marco Porcher Jimenez wants to see homeland friends, father and mother.

Senior guard Tymell Murphy’s mother wants him to see everything and shoot — not just the basketball, but his camera. FIU coach Anthony Evans just wants to bond with his team.

They will all have a chance to achieve their goals during the FIU men’s basketball team’s 10-day, three-game tour of Spain, the first such overseas summer jaunt for the South Florida school with “international” in its name.

FIU, which left Tuesday, plays Colegio Casvi in Madrid on Friday, C.B. Lilria in Valencia on Monday and C.E. Palamos in Barcelona on Aug. 21.

“It’ll be great to get on the court early to see how much they’ve picked up in a live situation,” Evans said. “But also being away and them not having their phones so much is going to bring them closer as a team.”

For redshirt junior Jimenez, the trip brings him closer to his native Malaga, Spain, where he hasn’t been for more than a year. He stayed at FIU during the summer. Parents Inmaculada Jimenez and Vincent Porcher plan to follow the team to all three games.

While Jimenez reconnects with his family, he wants his U.S. people to connect with the differences in life and basketball.

“The laid-back lifestyle, experience the food, maybe even taste some wine, enjoy the weather, the people and just relax and get away from the fast life over here in America,” Jimenez said.

On the court, “It’s a completely different style of basketball,” he said. “The reality is a lot of my teammates that do go on to play professionally will probably play in Europe. So, it’ll be a great experience for them to get exposure and, secondly, to get a feel for how the game is over in Europe.”

Murphy might be a season from playing overseas. The Brooklyn native never has left the country and said what he knows about Spain comes from movies and watching clips of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Murphy said his mother, who also never has traveled outside the United States, has prepared to live the trip vicariously.

The games also give everyone involved a first look at FIU’s new look.

Last year’s three-point marksman, Malik Smith, followed last year’s coach, Richard Pitino, to the University of Minnesota. The turbo in FIU’s pick-pocketing defense, walk-on point guard Deric Hill, transferred to Barry.

A pair of transfer guards from FAU, senior Raymond Taylor and junior Dennis Mavin, assume similar roles.

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