ROMEOVILLE – Before becoming men’s basketball coach at Lewis, Scott Trost enjoyed a successful run in the same capacity at Illinois Wesleyan.
The Titans had two successive Sweet 16 finishes in the NCAA Division III Tournament, followed by a season when they went to the Final Four.
You would suppose the Final Four would rank as the No. 1 memory of the career of the players on that team. But maybe not.
“The best experience they had probably was the summer trip to Costa Rica,” Trost said. “Whenever I get together with any of those guys now, the Costa Rica trip invariably comes up.
“It will be nice to go back.”
Trost, indeed, is going back, this time with the 15 returning players from last year’s Lewis team, which finished 21-16. The Flyers leave Sunday and will return the next Sunday.
While in Central America, they will play four games, one against a professional team and three against different players from Costa Rican national teams.
“When we did this at Wesleyan, the core of the team was entering their senior year, and that’s the year we went to the Final Four,” Trost said. “The trip really helped us get there.
“Some of our guys have never flown before. And this is not something they need to fund. The players are paying very little if anything.”
Trost said the opportunity to see a different culture is a plus.
“Our players hopefully will better appreciate what they have here,” he said.
“There’s a learning component to this, too. They’ll be doing a couple of clinics and maybe have the opportunity to visit an orphanage.”
On the court, the benefit begins with having the team together for 10 extra days of practice. Against the Costa Rican teams, Trost said, “We’ll try new things, maybe a new zone defense and a different transition offense. All the guys will play.”
The Flyers will play one game Monday and the final three games Friday and Saturday. From Tuesday to Thursday, there will be opportunity for beach time and perhaps zip-lining and whitewater rafting.
“It will be a bonding experience,” Trost said.