ASU Football, Men’s Hoops Getting Away to Bolster Relationships

While one is heading on a once-in-a-lifetime European excursion and the other is taking a two hour bus ride to escape the heat, Arizona State men’s hoops and football are both escaping the Valley…and their cellphones.

Bobby Hurley is taking his team to France and Greece over the course of a week to play some basketball and build relationships within a roster that has nine newcomers. Hurley cites a similar trip being crucial to the 2017 Sun Devil squad that started the season 12-0 and made it all the way to No. 3 in the country. 

“Not to say that’s the entire reason, but I felt like that foreign trip certainly played a role in how quickly we were able to start that season,” Hurley said. “Our chemistry was outstanding and all the additional practice time and all the time we spent together on the trip paid dividends.”

The football team returns to Camp Tontozona in Payson, AZ. It’s like Field of Dreams up there, but a football field appears in the pine trees instead of a baseball diamond in a cornfield. But that’s not to say there aren’t challenges that come with going up there. 

Past Sun Devil teams have had to combat rainy weather, out of date cabins and even players losing weight while away from their Tempe routine. 

Dillingham has started to look ahead to some of those problems by bringing in portable showers and bathroom facilities. He’s met with the team nutritionists to ensure the Devils maintain their size.

But he’s not trying to solve every problem for them.

“You go on the road at Washington State, Oregon State, those aren’t comfortable games,” Dillingham said. “They’re very uncomfortable games. You stay 45 minutes away. You drive. It’s cold, it’s raining. It’s uncomfortable. That’s why no one has gone undefeated in Pac-12 play. It’s because the league is so diverse in the different places you play. So I think you need to put your players in adverse situations to wake up and their back hurts because they slept on a (single bed) but they still have to go practice. That’s part of life, that’s part of football. That’s Week 9.”

The Sun Devils will also have practice in the morning, a brief film session and then…nothing. The time is for the players to spend together and bond over playing cards or swapping stories, and the cell coverage is particularly thin in that area.

While the majority of both rosters are new to Tempe, these programs are hoping that getting away from the place they call home will bring them closer together for their upcoming seasons.