HOLLAND -- The Hope College men's basketball team will combine their love for the game with a desire to be of service when it takes a 10-day trip to Mexico beginning Friday, June 8.
Coach Glenn Van Wieren will be taking a team on an international trip for the fifth time in his 25-year career. In 1980 the men's basketball squad became the first Hope athletic team to travel abroad when Van Wieren took his players to Mexico. This year's trip will be the team's third venture to Mexico. He has also taken his teams to Sweden (1994) and the Netherlands (1998).
"The beauty of these experiences is that while they revolve around basketball, it is much more than basketball," said Van Wieren.
This year's trip, which concludes on Monday, June 18, is multi-faceted. The trip will provide an opportunity to continue a partnership between Hope College and the Autonomous University of Queretaro, Mexico. The two schools established a formal agreement in 1996 which allows the institutions to send students and faculty to each other's campus. Since 1995 the cities of Holland and Santiago de Queretaro have enjoyed a relationship that spans political, cultural, education, athletic and economic bonds. A year ago the Hope football team traveled to Mexico for a "friendship" game against the Wildcats of the Autonomous University of Queretaro.
The basketball team is scheduled to play games in Queretaro on Friday and Saturday (June 8-9) against a select team of college-age players. The Hope delegation will hold a clinic for young players prior to Saturday's game.
They will move on to Chiapas, Mexico where they'll remain for the balance of their trip. In addition to playing games over several days against the Chiapas Allstars, the Hope players and coaches will be involved in a outreach projects with missionaries of the Reformed Church in America. Their host will be the Rev. Vern Sterk, a Hope alumnus who is an RCA missionary in Chiapas. Rev. Sterk was also the team's host for their previous trips to Mexico.
The team will provide clinics for coaches and players throughout the week. One day will be spent assisting in the maintenance at the Tzotzil Bible Center, including the construction of an outdoor basketball court.
The Hope contingent traveling to Mexico consists of players from last year's team who will be returning next season. They include Josh Bauman of Manistee (Manistee HS), Brandon Bosscher of Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Central HS), Brad Burgtorf of Cheboygan (Cheboygan HS), Chad Carlson of Holland (Holland HS), Cody Fleming of Ames, Iowa (Gilbert HS), Tim Hoogewind of Wyoming (Wyoming Park HS), Charlie Kleinheksel of Zeeland (Zeeland HS), Don Overbeek of Wyoming (Calvin Christian HS), Matt Taylor of Pinckney (Pinckney HS) and Mike Van Hekken of Holland (Holland HS). Van Wieren will be joined by his three assistant coaches, Tom Davelaar, Matt Neil and Kyle Plank.