RICHMOND, Va. – Classes at VCU have only been in session for a couple days, but juniors Troy Daniels and Darius Theus of the men’s basketball team have already been through quite a learning experience.

That learning experience came when the duo joined a group of eight other collegiate basketball standouts in a 10-day excursion through four European countries.

The team, assembled through Global Sports Academy, played five games under the tutelage of California University (Pa.) Head Coach Bill Brown. Brown is one of VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart’s mentors and was the one who gave Smart his first job in college basketball as a graduate assistant at California University (Pa.).

Theus and Daniels were key members of Brown’s squad that went 4-1 on the trip, with the only loss coming by just six points to the Netherlands U23 National Team.

“I was really impressed by the level of competition that we faced,” Theus said. “Every game was really tight and hard fought. We definitely had a lot of fun.”

Stats were only kept for the final three games of the trip, but it was obvious to everyone on the trip that the duo from the Black & Gold was vital to the success of the GSA squad.

Final 3 Games
with GSA

FG-FGA Pct. 3FG-ATT Pct. FT-FTA Pct. Off-Def-Tot Avg. Ast. TO Stl. Pts.-Avg.
Troy Daniels
Darius Theus
8 14

“I’ll tell you, both Darius and Troy were huge parts of the success, both on and off the court,” Founder of Global Sports Academy Roy Blumenthal said. “Darius’ leadership and control of the game were really impressive and Troy put on a shooting display every time he stepped on the court.”

For the final three games of the trip, all wins for the GSA team, Daniels averaged 23.3 points and 3.0 rebounds, while shooting 51.1% from the field and 47.2% from beyond the arc.Theus was the floor general, dishing out 24 assists over the final three games to go along with his 12.7 points and 4.7 steals per outing, while shooting 53.3% from the floor.

“I just wanted to focus on being the best leader for the team that I could be,” Theus said. “I know that I have to step up big time this season here at VCU and that’s why I really wanted to focus on being the best leader I could be while I was over there.”

Daniels, who missed the latter half of last season due to a broken foot, finished the trip with a bang. The Roanoke, Va. native connected on nine three-pointers en route to 41 points in a decisive victory over a professional team from Belgium.

“It felt really good to get back in game action and have success shooting,” Daniels said. “I just want to help this team any way I can next year and I know in order to do that I have to shoot with confidence. This trip definitely helped me get back in rhythm.”

While the five games were extremely memorable for the Black & Gold guards, it was the off court memories from the trip that will last the longest.

“I really enjoyed getting out and seeing places that I’ve only seen on TV,” Theus said. “There were so many beautiful cities and seeing different cultures makes you really appreciate what you have back at home.”

During their 10-day trip, the group traveled to Belgium, the Netherlands, England and Germany.  Landmarks visited during the excursion included Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Buckingham Palace, downtown Amsterdam, a concentration camp and many more.

“Appreciation is the biggest thing that I’ll take away from this trip,” Daniels said. “Seeing all the places that we did and taking in all the cultures makes me really thankful for all the things that I’ve been blessed with.”