African Journey: SMU Basketball Team Learns About Teammates, Culture

Aaron Chimbel, WFAA (Dallas-Ft. Worth), July 16,\ 2008

As members of the SMU men’s basketball team workout and prepare for the upcoming season, they do so with a new perspective on three teammates and their team as a whole.

“I think now they really know like where we came from,” said senior center Bamba Fall.

“It was very eye-opening,” says sophomore guard Mike Walker. “You get to know the guys on the team and everything, but to be able to see where they come from and why they act the way they act . . . is very enlightening.”

The team returned last month after a 12-day trip across Africa to play and teach basketball and to learn about teammates like Fall, Papa Dia and Mouhammad Faye, all from Senegal.

“What they have to go through just to play the game on an everyday basis just makes you think twice and appreciate what you have a lot more, a lot more,” says Walker, who grew up Iowa City, Iowa.

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And both before the trip and during they took an anthropology class, Peoples of Africa, with a professor along for the journey. They had daily class meetings and kept journals about their experiences on the trip.

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