By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Fairmont State basketball player Brendan Cooper traveled this offseason, but not the kind that results in a turnover and an earful from a coach.
In fact, coach Jerrod Calhoun encouraged Cooper to travel after Joe Mazulla, a point guard who helped lead WVU to the Final Four in 2010, contacted Calhoun looking for an athletic big man for a team he was helping coach internationally.
So Cooper picked up his pivot foot and put it on a plane to Spain.
For 13 days in May, he visited the Canary Islands and Real Madrid with a team of players primarily from the Big 12 to play against teams from the lower Spanish leagues.
“It showed me what European basketball is all about,” Cooper said. “Up until then, I never played (abroad.) It really opened my eyes to how different it is than basketball here.”
Cooper said international leagues play more of a motion, free-flowing style with ball screens and movement away from the ball. In addition, “goal tending” apparently doesn’t translate to Spanish.
“If the ball is bouncing on the hoop, you can just go up and swat it off,” Cooper said. “That took some getting used to.”