By Steven Hoover, USAG Humphreys Public AffairsNovember 12, 2013
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea (Nov. 12, 2013) -- Approximately 2,000 military personnel and family members were on hand for the second installment of the ESPN Armed Forces Classic, featuring the men's basketball teams from the University of Oregon and Georgetown University, in the Humphreys Community Fitness Center here, Nov. 9.
To the delight of many, and the chagrin of just about as many, Oregon won the game, 82-75.
The game, which tipped-off around 10 a.m. locally and was broadcast by ESPN to a worldwide audience, is part of ESPN's Veteran's Week initiative, honoring the men and women who serve and have served in the United States military, both at home and abroad.
"I just wanted to say thank you," said Dana Altman, coach of the Oregon Ducks, while accepting the ESPN trophy for the game. "Everyone here has been so unbelievably kind to us and generous and we really appreciate how well we've been treated. We would like to thank you for all you do for the USA. For all you do, thank you."
Altman, whose father served in the Navy, added "I've always respected the service and I wanted our players to see these men and women in action, so that they have a great appreciation for what they're doing for our country."
Oregon forward Mike Moser said that they were glad they could get their first win at their "home away from home." Oregon was designated the home team for this game.
"Man, it feels good," he said. "We came a long way, so we really didn't want to lose this one. It definitely feels really good to go home, a 12-hour ride, with a win. We had a lot of fun (during the trip). Getting a chance to hang out with the troops for a couple of days inspired us to try and come out here and win this game."
Cassie Gaudette, wife of Capt. Brian Gaudette, who is assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4-2 Aviation Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, said she was happy about the Oregon win and the chance to see her team in person.
"It's such a blessing," she said. "I don't think that they (the teams) can truly understand how exciting and wonderful it is to have a little piece of home and have the teams come here to South Korea. We're originally from Eugene (Ore.), so this was really exciting to see our Ducks in person."
Besides the game, each team participated in a variety of activities, including serving and eating lunch with the troops at a dining facility, conducting youth clinics for children, holding open practices and touring the installation. The youth clinics proved to be very popular.
Led by Georgetown coach John Thompson III and Altman, the players for both teams put more than 100 youth through various drills at both the MP Hill and Zoeckler Fitness Centers, Nov. 7. The players and coaches worked with the children in groups, emphasizing ball-handling skills, dribbling, passing, defense and shooting layups.
"I think this was good," said nine-year-old David Spielman, who attended the Hoya clinic. "I liked that they talked about defense and offense. The drills they taught us will be very helpful, especially when shooting layups and getting in a defensive stance."
Another participant at the Hoya clinic, 10-year-old Adam Spreitzer, said that the instruction he received from the players will "definitely" help him during the upcoming youth basketball season.
Hoyas senior captain Nate Lubick said that he and the other players enjoy doing stuff like this with the younger kids, especially in this environment.
"It's great," he said. "We've done some stuff like this before, but getting to come to Korea and do this on such a big military base, and to be able give back something (to the children of) those who allow us to be able to play basketball, a game we love, is unbelievable."
Earlier in the day, both schools had the opportunity to visit with Soldiers and view static displays of helicopters assigned to the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, in their hangar.
Last year, ESPN began the season with a game at Ramstein Air Base, in Germany, with the Michigan State Spartans and the Connecticut Huskies. It was the first regular-season college basketball game played on European soil.
The Humphreys' game was the second of a five-year rotation between the services. With the Air Force hosting last year and the Army this year, the Coast Guard, Marines and Navy are on the docket for years three through five of the series.
"Camp Humphreys is extremely proud to have hosted this year's Armed Forces Classic," said Col. Darin S. Conkright, Humphreys garrison commander. "I can't think of a better way to provide the Soldiers and families stationed here, on Freedom's Frontier, a taste of home than through a sporting event of this magnitude."