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Greater Boston All-Stars compete internationally

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Greater Boston All-Stars compete internationally

The Greater Boston All-Stars pose together while in Europe for a basketball tournament.

The Greater Boston All-Stars pose together while in Europe for a basketball tournament.

Contributed by Matt Price

The Greater Boston All-Stars pose together while in Europe for a basketball tournament.

Contributed by Matt Price

Contributed by Matt Price

The Greater Boston All-Stars pose together while in Europe for a basketball tournament.

Dan Friedman, Sports Editor

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The clock hits zero and the buzzer goes off. The Greater-Boston All-Stars have just won against Germany’s AB Baskets and locals have flooded the court to take pictures with the American players.

The Greater Boston All-Stars were in Germany to play competitive basketball and travel the world. The trip provides a chance for basketball players to improve their skill and teamwork, while also giving them a chance to gain lifelong memories.

Social studies teacher and head coach of the All-Stars Michael Normant founded the team and the trip, then coached the team in Europe over the summer.

“It’s a trip I’ve done four of the last five years,” Normant said. “Another coach and I started this trip four years ago, and we take kids to Europe and play teams in Europe and do a bunch of sightseeing.”

According to Normant, the All-Stars played well in Europe, but sometimes it is hard to find the right level of competition for them across the world.

“We went 6-1 on this trip; we were better than the teams we played in Spain,” Normant said. “It’s hard to figure out how good the competition needs to be, but in Germany, there is a league called the NBBL which is their top youth league, and I know that NBBL teams are about the level of competition that we should play. We’ve played in Belgium, we’ve played in Ireland, we’ve played in multiple different cities in Germany. But in general, we’ve had really good competition.”

Junior Matt Price played for the All-Stars in Germany and Spain and said he bonded with his teammates.

“We played 7 games and the first half of the first game was a little bit shaky,” Price said. “But then we clicked and became really close friends. We ended up having great chemistry on and off the court which is important for developing bonds as a group.”

Price said he gained a lot from the trip and took advantage of his time with the team.

“One game we played this really talented German team and won by 13 points,” Price said. “They were really good and gave us a hard fought game but after the coach came up to me and told me that if I ever needed a contract for a club I could always come over. Its stuff like that, gaining experiences, getting my game better, and getting to know other teams and clubs which is really cool.”

But Normant says he believes the trip is about more than playing basketball.

“It’s about giving kids an opportunity to experience culture in another part of the world. The chance to travel, to see the world, and to be exposed to those cultures,” Normant said. “We try to give the players an opportunity to get to see the game in another part of the world and see it from a different perspective.“

The players competed and stayed with host families in Dresden, Germany and Onil, Spain. Normant spent months finding good living situations for the players.

“I work through the clubs over there to find the kids host families. The process takes months and months of emails and phone calls,” Normant said. “In general, the players had really good experiences with their host families. I know most of them stay in touch with those families even though they only stayed with them for a week.”

According to Normant, he lived in the moment during the trip.

“We’re only together as a team for this trip and then we’re done. For us, it’s like ‘this is it’ because we’re only together for these seven games,” Normant said.

Price came into the trip with caution but ended up loving his time with the team.

“At first I was nervous because it was my first time out of the country, but it ended up being the best experience of my life,” Price said. “Playing with guys that are accustomed to European culture and having a host family in Germany and Spain was great. It was fun and I made a lot of good friends. It was just a good experience overall.”

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Greater Boston All-Stars compete internationally