Great food, sightseeing, history, and of course, hoops.

The men’s basketball team is currently on a 10-day cultural and athletic tour of Italy, honing their skills for the upcoming season by playing three games against Italian professional teams. They trounced Stella Azzurra 84-39 last Saturday in Rome, with everyone getting court time and four players scoring in double figures. The Saints will face Pallacanestro Crema tonight in Crema, and UCC Assigeco Piacenza tomorrow night in Piacenza.

Learning how to bond together on and off the court is the key goal of the Italian trip, allowed by the NCAA every four years. Local guides have shared their expertise and love of their homeland with the players and staff, who have been all over the map, including stops in Rome, Florence, Milan, Siena, Assisi and Lake Como. 

Coach Carm Maciariello ’01 has his own wealth of experience to share with his players when it comes to the country. He played professionally in Italy after graduating from Siena, and still maintains an Italian passport and a few phrases of the lingo.

“I have a great appreciation for this country, and this trip has been a great way for us to grow our collective unity,” he said. “It’s about more than basketball, though. Basketball was the vehicle that provided our athletes the opportunity for this trip, but it’s also about treating people with respect, and learning to handle themselves the right way, that is most important. This trip has been priceless in that regard; they’re just a great group of young men.”

Grad student Jackson Stormo ’22 said it’s always a blessing to be able to travel out of the country and see new places.

“It’s been amazing to experience this with my brothers and new teammates,” he said. “It’s been a great chance for us to grow our bonds together and enjoy each other’s company.”

After sightseeing at churches, monuments and museums – and taking over Instagram to share their impressions – the athletes hit the court for practice.

“It’s so crucial to integrate all the new players on the court and start building that chemistry.”

Rookie Brendan Coyle ’26 celebrated his birthday Italian-style on August 24 and agreed with his teammate’s rave review about the trip.

“All the guided tours have really given us a feel for Italy, and spending a lot of time together is a great way to bond before the season,” he said. “People have been so nice, and all the sites have been so beautiful.”

Maciariello said the team practices and games have given them a head start for the season.

“We have the chance to figure out some things, see guys in different situations, and try some different line-ups before the season begins. Any time they can play against someone who isn’t wearing the green and gold is a great opportunity,” he said. “We can see how the guys have been able to take in the coaching and have it translate to the floor. Being able to have that kind of data will help as we take on a top-notch conference slate.”

Andiamo, Saints!