K-State likely post­pon­ing sum­mer trip to Europe

The Kansas City Star - - Sports - BY KEL­LIS ROBI­NETT krobi­nett@wi­chi­taea­gle.com

When Bruce We­ber orig­i­nally ar­ranged for the Kansas State men’s bas­ket­ball team to take a trip to Europe for a string of ex­hi­bi­tion games this sum­mer, the tim­ing felt per­fect.

The Wild­cats are bring­ing in a large re­cruit­ing class of at least five fresh­men and one trans­fer. We­ber wanted to in­tro­duce them to K-State’s re­turn­ing play­ers and then have them spend valu­able time to­gether on a for­eign ex­cur­sion that teams are per­mit­ted to take once ev­ery four years. It sounded like an ideal way to get a head start on the 2020-21 col­lege bas­ket­ball sea­son.

As good as that all sounds, the trip will likely be post­poned a year be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

“It is prob­a­bly a long­shot,” We­ber said in a phone in­ter­view. “It’s dis­ap­point­ing, be­cause we thought it would be a per­fect year with a lot of new guys com­ing. We have just got to deal with it the best we can.”

K-State was sup­posed to travel to Ger­many, Den­mark and Nor­way over the sum­mer, al­low­ing the Wild­cats to do a lit­tle sight­see­ing and play five ex­hi­bi­tion games against for­eign com­pe­ti­tion.

But those plans are al­most cer­tainly go­ing to change as sports across the world are on hold and in­ter­na­tional travel is re­stricted.

It’s un­clear when or if KS­tate bas­ket­ball play­ers will be per­mit­ted on cam­pus for sum­mer prac­tices at the team’s train­ing fa­cil­ity.

In­ter­na­tional travel is also cur­rently banned or lim­ited to

only es­sen­tial trav­el­ers in many coun­tries.

“We have been talk­ing with a (travel agent) for about a month about it,” We­ber said. “I called him when this stuff started in Italy. We were sup­posed to head to Den­mark, Nor­way and Ger­many and there was noth­ing there.

But Ger­many has a lot of cases and the other coun­tries are get­ting it. It has spread ev­ery­where.

“I haven’t can­celed it yet. We are look­ing into some al­ter­na­tives, even Canada, but now the bor­ders are closed there, so it’s not look­ing good.”

We­ber grasps the sever­ity of the sit­u­a­tion, so he won’t com­plain if the Wild­cats ul­ti­mately have to ad­just their sum­mer plans. Be­fore the Big 12 Tour­na­ment can­celed the fi­nal three rounds of its bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment ear­lier this month, We­ber said he un­der­stood the rea­son­ing.

He went so far as to say “I don’t want to die” from over­ex­po­sure to oth­ers.

As­sum­ing things calm down by the time sum­mer 2021 rolls around, We­ber said the Wild­cats will most likely post­pone their next for­eign trip un­til then.

“It would have been a nice trip this sum­mer,” We­ber said. “If we can’t go, we will push it back to next year. That will be fine, be­cause we will have quite a few guys that will be re­turn­ing.”

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