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Friday, August 24, 2012 - Page updated at 09:00 p.m.
Seattle U men's basketball set for five-game trip to China
By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter
Dressed in red polo shirts and khakis on a bright sunny afternoon, the Seattle University men's basketball team posed for pictures in front of its team bus before its two-week tour of China.
"This is a trip of a lifetime," said junior guard Sterling Carter. "We'll never forget this. None of us. So yeah, it's pretty special."
During its five-game trip beginning Saturday in Beijing, the Redhawks will also visit Fuxin, Qianjiang and Heze.
The international exhibitions will give coach Cameron Dollar a glimpse of the team he will take into its first Western Athletic Conference season.
It's also the first time Seattle U will play a game following the departure of star forward Aaron Broussard, its leading scorer the past two years.
"You don't replace him," Dollar said. "You build your whole new team. You build your own identity. We have guys who can score. Guys who can lead.
"The neat thing about it every year there's a new guy to emerge and you kind of sit back and watch them emerge and you enjoy it as they're doing it."
After 10 summer practices, Seattle U's rotation is starting to take shape.
Four veterans — guards Carter and Prince Obasi, forward Clarence Trent and center Louis Green — are slated to start.
Carter, a junior, is the leading returning scorer and averaged 10.1 points last season. Trent, a junior, started 26 of 27 games while Green and Obasi — both seniors — have been impressive in offseason workouts.
The Redhawks are taking 12 players on the trip, and Dollar plans to experiment with the lineups and rotations against what is believed to be midlevel professional teams.
"The goal is to always to win games," Carter said. "We want to be competitive at all times, but I feel like this trip is more to get us unified and have us grow more and to be more of a family and get us together."
It remains to be seen if any of the four newcomers can make a significant impact this season.
Redshirt freshman Luiz Bidart, a guard from São Paulo, Brazil, has made major strides, Dollar said.
He also applauded the efforts of freshman guards D'Vonne Pickett Jr. and David Trimble while Jack Crook, a 7-foot center from England, has shown versatility.
"He's good on the perimeter, and we've probably learned more about him than anyone else," Dollar said. "But for all these new guys, it's been fun learning them as well as them learning our stuff."
In his first year, Dollar led Seattle U to a surprising 17-14 record in 2009-10 during its first Division I season. The next year the Redhawks fell to 11-20.
Last season, they started 3-12 before winning nine of their last 12 games and finishing with a 12-15 record.
Dollar hopes the China trip will help the Redhawks get off to a better start, but he believes tougher challenges are ahead.
"You can use this to grow and learn, but I don't really put too much stock into this like that," he said. "It's a long season.
"It's most important for us to handle the rigors of our season, but then be ready to go in March. We want to be peaking at the end."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @percyallen
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