ýƵ basketball players pose for a photo while in Greece.
ýƵ basketball players spent 10 days in Greece. 

When planning the ýƵ men's basketball trip to Greece, head coach Casey Korn had two thoughts, brotherhood and basketball, in that order.
    "We got to do it as a team and one of things we talked about after the last game, yes, it was a basketball trip, but there are going to be very few vacations that you get to do with 10 of your best friends," Korn said.
    The Vikings spent 10 days traveling and played three games in Greece. The team visited Athens, viewed historic icons like the Acropolis, cruised around the Greek isles, and spent countless hours enjoying it all together.
    "After this trip, I feel like we almost have an unbreakable bond now," said sophomore forward Nicholas Gouriotis. "Going into it we were all really good friends, but after this trip, it's like we are brothers. As I said, the games were really fun, and it was nice to see how everyone got better since the season ended. It made me more excited for next year where we will surprise a lot of people."
    The comments from Gouriotis bring a smile to Korn's face. It's exactly what he hoped would happen with the team.
    "It's such a great opportunity for team building and the relationships," Korn said. "You're experiencing something for the first time, you're speaking a language for the first time, first time for one guy on a plane."
    Sophomore guard RJ Gamble remarked on the many enjoyable and humorous experiences during the trip. Gamble said the Vikings had a knack for stopping at every ice cream stand for taste testing, and he was amazed by the picture postcard views, especially on Santorini.
    "This trip will always, always always stick with me," Gamble said. "The memories, the inside jokes, the countless videos of us all at some point catching some zzzz's. The trip has allowed me to put into perspective how much the guys in this group matter to me and how much we all want to be connected."
    While the guys have been introspective after their return, they enjoyed some serious belly laughs on the trip. Korn relayed an anecdote where Gouriotis and assistant coach Jerome Foster were standing near the Greek flag at the cruise ship's stern when a gull did its business on the pair. 
    "That just means good luck," the guys said while breaking up with laughter.
    "There are going to be countless things similar to that that the guys will remember forever," Korn said.

Players, coaches, and parents pose for a photo in a gym in Greece.
The Vikings played three games against teams from Greece while on the 10-day trip.

While the joy of bonding was happening, the business of basketball was also taking place. The Vikings played three very good teams that featured multiple experienced professional players. While ýƵ didn't win any of the games, Korn saw many things to be excited about.
    "It showed us we've made some big-time gains, but there is a lot that we still have to do," Korn said.
    "We don't know exactly what we're going to look like (next season), but it gave these guys the chance to implement things they've been working on."
    Gamble said being able to hang with quality, experienced teams gives all the Vikings a reason to be optimistic.
    "We are just scratching the surface of this group's potential as we bring our experiences in Greece back to the Midwest Conference," Gamble said. "Our group has a lot of confidence coming into next season, and I think playing international competition opened our eyes to the fact that there is always more work to be done."
    The Vikings also picked up an additional team member while in Greece. The group's tour guide became very attached to the Vikings, and the feeling was mutual. The guide, Anastasios, was leading a tour group for the first time, Korn said.
     "It was almost a tearful goodbye because of how close he got to our team," Korn said. "He connected with everybody and sat on the bench with our guys during the games."
    With the memories still fresh, Korn quickly vowed that he plans to do this again.  
    "We're going to try and do it as often as the NCAA allows us to do it," Korn said.
    "It's about how you can grow as a person and program. We had 32-ish people on the trip between players and parents and athletic directors. It brought us and the program closer, from parents to players to coaches to administrators and everyone in between."