MBB Australia Blog: Day 5

Aug. 12, 2009


Editor's Note: Vanderbilt assistant coach Brad Frederick filed his daily blog after the team traveled to Canberra to visit A.J.'s high school, the Australian Institute of Sport, which included some interesting pregame meal choices by the guys.

By Brad Frederick

Cheers. Today has been a travel day on both ends, so there was no sightseeing or activities today. As anybody who has been on a team knows, however, lots of good times can be had together on the road. The guys continue to be having fun and the excitement level for our arrival in Sydney is high.

With an early morning flight to Canberra, we had a 6 AM wake-up call today. Two or three days ago that would have been no trouble for our entire group, but after two straight night games it felt early. The Marriott restaurant opened at 6:30 and they were clearly not thrilled to see our party of 31 waiting for them to open the doors. We did our usual damage to the buffet and headed off to the Melbourne airport.

From there, we took a Qantas flight to Canberra, the capital city of Australia. Whenever I feel bad for myself about cramped flight conditions, I can always think about Festus Ezeli. Our plane was a turbo prop with smaller than normal seats. His knees left a permanent indentation in the tray table. Fortunately, it was only an hour and twenty minute flight and Fes always keeps a smile.

We faced some cool and rainy weather in Melbourne, but Canberra felt down right chilly on our arrival. As AJ Ogilvy would probably tell you, there is not a lot happening in Canberra outside of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and a bunch of government buildings. It was definitely worth the stop though, to give the team a chance to see where AJ went to high school.

With an hour or so to kill before we needed to arrive at AIS, we headed to the Belconnen Mall to grab lunch/pregame meal. A couple days ago I mentioned how we are not operating under our normal game day routine and the mall food court two and a half hours before the game was interesting. Guys who wanted to play it safe hit Subway, while others rolled the dice with sushi, Chinese, or pizza. We all continue to wonder why the rest of the world outside the US hasn't caught on to free refills. And why so stingy with the ketchup packets? One packet per order is not gettin' it done.

Anyway, after lunch we headed over to the impressive AIS facilities. AIS was formed to help Australia develop Olympians in 26 sports and has been an incredible success. Their campus includes everything an athlete could need to train. AJ is a member of the AIS Hall of Fame and we certainly hope and expect him to be a member of their 2010 World Championship and 2012 Olympic teams.

Onto Game #3... Vanderbilt defeated AIS 118-106 to improve to 3-0 on the tour. They did not keep stats this afternoon, just scoring, so I can't give you as much information as you are probably hoping for. Leading 26-19 after the first quarter, we extended the lead to 65-45 at half. We had five players in double figures for the second straight game, led by Jermaine Beal with 25. Jeffrey Taylor (20), Brad Tinsley (18), Festus Ezeli (17), and AJ Ogilvy (13). Charles Hinkle had 7 points, while Darshawn McClellan added 6 points.

Coach Stallings Quotes:

"Unfortunately this afternoon was easily our worst performance of the trip. I was not pleased with our defensive intensity. It was a step back from the first two games. Hopefully we will make up for our performance on Friday night."

"On the bright side, Festus was outstanding. He played perhaps his best game ever and his effort on the boards was impressive."

Some final thoughts from today: AJ has been phenomenal the first two games and wanted to play so well today that he probably put too much pressure on himself in the first half. He had a much better second half...Brad Tinsley's 18 points came from six 3 pointers, including a deep corner 3 that hit a basket cable and still went in...We played a 48-minute game tonight, as we did in our first game against Dandenong...AIS featured three players (Matthew Dellavedova, Jordan Paige, and Mitchell Young) on their way to St. Mary's. We will see them again when we play at St. Mary's on Nov. 20, in our second game...Unlike the first two games where we had crowds, it was a strictly friends and family group today. The Ogilvy clan led the way with about 15 strong...We are off tomorrow for our first day in Sydney before returning to action Friday night...Our last two opponents are NBL teams and should provide much tougher competition. We can't wait! Until then, goodnight from somewhere on the highway between Canberra and Sydney.



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