Roos' Fitch Reflects on Team USA Select Summer Tour in Brazil
CANTON – Andrew Fitch, who is entering his junior season on the SUNY Canton men’s basketball team this fall, recently participated on a USA Select team made up of NCAA Division III men’s basketball student-athletes who competed on a summer tour in Brazil.
The team flew out of Orlando, Florida and stayed in Jundiai, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero for a combined eight nights on their trip that spans from July 9th through July 17th.
The USA D-III basketball teams played four doubleheaders (women & men) on July 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th. The teams will square off with Jundiai, Sao Paulo, Queimados and Fluminese.
The Australian native reflected on his experiences on the 11-day trip and how that will help him moving forward with the Roos in a Q & A.
FITCH Q & A
Q: Talk about the opportunity to be able to combine traveling overseas with also being able to play basketball with a group of top D-III players.
A: The opportunity to play overseas in Brazil first arose after my freshman season and I was instantly intrigued. I knew that alumni Romario Fletcher and Sam Annorh both had the opportunity to play for team USA and I was honored to have been selected as well. To play with and be considered as one of the top players in Division III, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Q: What were some of your favorite cultural experiences you were able to take part in/places you got to visit?
A: During the 11 days I spent in Brazil I saw Sugar Loaf, Christ the Redeemer Statue, Copacabana Beach, and rode on a subway and shopped in local markets. Amongst these, I had some of the best food Brazil has to offer. I will always remember the word “troca”, which means “to exchange”. After each game I had the opportunity to trade jerseys or college gear with players of the other teams.
Q: How did the styles of play differ between the USA team and some of the Brazilian teams that you played against?
A: In my opinion, the Brazil teams were very aggressive and utilized screens in almost every offensive possession. Team USA used its strengths of shooting and speed to succeed in most scenarios. The hardest part was getting used to FIBA rules, including 24 second shot clock, four 10-minute quarters and farther three-point lines.
Q: What did you learn about your individual game and/or how did it develop more during this trip?
A: Playing in Brazil’s “basketball capital”, Sao Paolo, against some of the best players was an honor, but being able to play well showed me I can have a future in basketball. I developed my basketball IQ, learning from every play and situation I could.
Q: What was the experience like playing with and learning from other top players after only having a few practices together to get ready for games?
A: Just a day after an eight hour flight from Orlando, we had one practice and two games the following days. As a team, we had no choice but to play to our strengths and trust each other to play our best and not for ourselves. Knowing this, we struggled to adjust at first, but quickly gained confidence and succeeded. Having Coach Mitchell (Head Coach Greg Mitchell) as a leader and influencing the team kept us together and focused. When all was said and done, together we went home with four wins.
Q: Anything else you would like to add about your experience during the trip?
A: Two highlights that will last forever; the first was when I gave up a jersey and jacket to Moses, a 7-2 opponent, not expecting anything in return. He quickly came back with his jacket he wore to the game and put it on me. The other highlight, as seen in the highlights and memories video, is a boy who I helped dunk and also gave a jersey. He gave me a high-five then chased me down to hug me. I will never forget these moments, among many others.
FROM THE COACH
“It was a great pleasure coaching Andrew and seeing him adapt to the style of play and really show some dynamic gains within just one week! He had moments where he dominated the game by protecting the rim and being a huge impact in help defensive situations. His size is obviously advantageous, but it’s even more imposing when he plays with confidence and purpose, which he really did in our final 3 games. I would expect that he will take what he learned this week in Brazil and make a significant jump this coming season! He has a very high ceiling... I will be following his season closely this winter, anticipating that he will put his stamp on every game that he plays.”
Head Coach Team USA D-III Select Team
Head Coach Hope College
ALREADY IN THE RECORD BOOKS
Fitch already owns SUNY Canton's NCAA D-III era single-season blocks (98) and career blocks (170) records. He was named the NAC Defensive Player of the Year and Second Team All-Conference. Fitch's 98 blocks led all of NCAA D-III in total blocks while his 3.63 blocks per outing ranked second. He spearheaded a defensive effort that help SUNY Canton earn its first NCAA D-III statistical champion as they led the nation with 6.5 blocks per game. That mark ranked second across all divisions to only Duke University (6.8). Fitch was also recognized with SUNY Canton's Outstanding Associate Graduate Award at 2019 Commencement.
SUNY Canton men’s basketball alums Sam Annorh ’17 and Romario Fletcher ’17 both competed on the USA D-III team during the summer of 2015 prior to their junior seasons.
About SUNY Canton SUNY Canton is Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 16 online degree programs. The college placed first in 14 categories in a SUNY-Wide Student Opinion Survey, most notably in career services, tutoring, library resources, and classroom facilities. The college's 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity eSports and cheerleading. For more information, visit www.canton.edu.