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Marcus Schroeder in China.

When I talked with recent Princeton graduate Marcus Schroeder in late August about his NBA-DL tryout for the Reno Bighorns, he surprised me when he revealed that he was headed in the morning on a two week basketball barnstorm through China.

Now Schroeder is back stateside. He was nice enough to share some pictures and recollections in his own words from his experience after the jump. - JS

My trip to China was with the U.S. Basketball Academy led by Bruce O'Neal. Our head coach was Jim Halm. We had guys from Oregon State on the team, a guy from University of Nevada, one from University of Portland, one from UC Santa Barbara and another from a small school in Texas. We made three different stops on the tour and at each stop played three teams.

We played the same three teams at each stop so we traveled with them from stop to stop. We played the Chinese Under 20 National Team, a team of second-division professionals from Australia, and a second-division pro team from Germany.

Our record was 7-2, which was the best record out of all the teams.

The main purpose of the tour was to expand basketball in areas of China that do not get much exposure to basketball or any type of western culture. With that said, the three places we visited were very rural and poor, yet each town had nice stadiums to play in. All the stadiums seated about four thousand people and for every game there were no empty seats. We were like rock stars over there. I must've signed 500 autographs over the nine nights we played and took just as many, if not more, pictures with the townspeople.

Our first stop was in Ya'an, which is close to Chengdu in the Sichuan Province. In Ya'an, we went 2-1, losing only to the Australians. At that stop, we went to a panda preserve which was really neat. We had the chance to see some baby pandas as well as adult pandas very close up. In addition, Ya'an is the beginning point of the Sichuan-Tibet stretch of the Tea-Horse Road so we had lots of tea as you can imagine.

The next stop was Guanling which is close to Guiyang in the Guizhou Province. Our team won all three games at this stop. The highlight of this stop was the Huangguoshu Waterfall, the third largest waterfall in the world.

The third stop was in Pingguou County which is close to Nanning in the Guangxi Province. At this stop, we won two and lost one to the German team. There were no great attractions in this town, although this town was much more like a westernized city with lots of shops and restaurants.

We ended our days in China with a brief stop in Beijing. We visited the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and also went to the market to bargain for some goods. I think I found some pretty good deals.

The tour was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget. I went over there for basketball, but it was so much more than just that. My eyes were opened to the way many people live in this world and it helped me realize how blessed we are. I can tell you this, the first order of business when I got off the plane in the U.S. was to find the biggest cheeseburger around.

Marcus Schroeder

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