NORTH CANTON, Ohio - The reigning G-MAC Freshman of the Year and Walsh sophomore forward JT Shumate recently concluded a trip through Brazil with the USA D2 Basketball teams last month. As a part of the ten day trip to Brazil, Shumate competed in four games and developed some lifetime memories.
"I thought it was a great trip to be a part of, I enjoyed it," said Shumate in a phone interview. "To be playing with guys from all over the across the states was a great experience. Playing in Brazil, we did jersey swaps with the players, which was super cool so I was able to bring home jerseys from the players we faced throughout the trip. The little kids loved it, it was they were interacting with celebrities. They were asking for autographs and pictures with the players."
Playing with nine other Division II men's basketball players from across the country, the USA D2 Basketball teams went 4-0 against teams from Sorocaba, Jundiai, Botafogo and Fluminense. Even though no games were close, it was all about the experience for all parties involved.
Over the course of the trip, the teams played in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and see some of the best sights and sounds that Brazil has to offer.
Shumate talked about the time off the court, "The experience was great, to be able to go the different restaurants and beaches. With it being winter in Brazil and still 80 degrees, we were the only ones in the water because it was too cold for the natives of Brazil. The nightlife of Brazil was very similar to a bigger city like Columbus or Akron."
One of JT's favorite parts of the trip was exploring the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. "I was in awe of it when we were near it, it's just so large. The view from up top was incredible. Everyone was trying to what they could to get the perfect picture of it, like laying on the ground or sitting down for that perfect shot."
While in Brazil, the program included camps for the younger kids, an appearance at Sugar Loaf Mountain and other Brazilian landmarks.
When asked about the biggest lesson he learned to take going forward, Shumate spoke about the ability to be a great teammate to his Cavalier teammates in the 2019-20 season. "After playing with guys from different schools on the trip, I definitely picked up the notion of focusing on the other things on the floor when I don't have the ball. We have a lot of guys coming back and a few guys being added to the mix so we will have a great team next season. When I'm on the floor, focus on the other things around me like getting rebounds, helping my teammates and doing the other things right."
Shumate and the defending G-MAC Tournament champion Cavaliers will open the 2019-20 season on November 9th against Maryville at Tiffin.