Men's Basketball Team Travels to Costa Rica

Bearcats to Play Five Games and Run Two Clinics over Eight Days

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- While the Willamette University men's basketball team won't officially begin play until November, the Bearcats are staying busy this offseason with an eight-day trip to Costa Rica.

Nearly the entire Bearcat roster will make the trip, which was arranged through Beyond, an international education and service learning organization founded by Willamette alumni Josh Erickson '07, MBA '10 and Grant Leslie '09, MBA '10.

"We couldn't be more excited for this opportunity for a once in a lifetime experience," Bearcat Head Coach Kip Ioane said.

The Bearcats left Salem on May 13 and will return on May 21. During their eight days in Central America, Willamette will play five games, facing the Costa Rican national team and various professional teams. The Bearcats will also put on two basketball clinics for impoverished youth.

But the team will also have the opportunity to engage in some non-basketball activities, including tours of the Costa Rican jungle, zip lining and visiting a number of beaches.

"On the court, we get the unique chance to get a jump start on the 2014-15 season and compete against great competition over five games," Ioane said. "Off the court, we get the chance as a family to impact lives in a foreign country through the clinics and the chance to experience a completely different culture."

Erickson and Leslie founded Beyond in 2010 as a study abroad program designed to cater to the unique needs of student-athletes. Four years later, Beyond has expanded its year-round offerings to include team trips, service trips and invitation tours in addition to its study abroad offerings.

"[I am] very proud that the trip has been arranged and chaperoned by two of our family members in Josh and Grant," Ioane said. "They get a chance to show our young guys what success off the court looks like."

Kyle McNally and the rest of the Bearcats are in the middle of an eight-day trip to Costa Rica.

Kyle McNally and the rest of the Bearcats are in the middle of an eight-day trip to Costa Rica.

Willamette alum Josh Erickson founded Beyond, the organization coordinating the Bearcats' trip.

Willamette alum Josh Erickson founded Beyond, the organization coordinating the Bearcats' trip.