BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo talked about their recent nine-day trip to China with Reach USA, where they played nine games and got a chance to sightsee a couple of well-known landmarks.
Watch the video below to hear Jordan Hulls remarks on the trip.
See the full transcription below of what both Victor and Jordan had to say about the experience.
On what the trip meant to him as a college athlete:
"Going over to China, not many people get the chance to go over there and see the Great Wall and those kinds of things was great. Reach USA picked myself, Victor (Oladipo) and some other college basketball players from across the country to go and it was a very humbling experience for sure. We were able to travel around to 8-10 different cities in China and play basketball in front of thousands of fans. People really love their basketball over there. It was a really good experience, even in the small cities over there. But a small city in China is still one million people so that was interesting to me.
"It was important to me spiritually and physically as well. We held bible studies as a team every night. That was a pretty cool experience for me to take notes and try to learn and become closer with God. That was the biggest thing for me."
On the competition:
"We played nine games total. We played a team from Lithuania seven times in a row and then we played a team from Brazil the last two games. The Lithuanians could really shoot the ball. All they really did was run around in circles and run you off screens and then shoot three's. I think one game we had 27 combined 3-pointers made or something like that. But they were a really good team and they had a lot of players that were our age. It was fun to play against those guys, and although we played them seven times, they didn't know coming in that they were going to play us seven times so they were not too happy about that towards the end.
"It was fun to build some relationships with those guys (from Lithuania), and some of those guys are really good and could probably play college ball here in the United States if they wanted to. The Brazilian team that we played was a little bit older. They had some players that actually played college basketball here in the U.S. They were good and they were more mature - some of them were 28-years old or 29-years old - so they were more physical. The whole European style of play is just so much different that it took us a couple games to get used to that. But we were able to figure it out and go 6-2-1."
On what he took from the trip on the court:
"Definitely some more leadership skills. Getting a group of 10 guys from different colleges to go out and play together is tough. I learned that you have to take what you can get and try to direct guys in the right spot on the court even if they don't want to run the play.
"Playing against different styles of play was good for me too. Having to play against some of the bigger guards and they were definitely quick and crafty and, of course, you get an extra step over there as well as the continuation calls."
On some of the sightseeing trips the team went on:
"I was able to see the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Soldiers, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. We were not able to stay at each place for all that long - for example we were only able to be at the Great Wall for two hours. But myself, Victor, Austin Hollins and Marcus Thornton all made it to the highest point of the wall that we were able to get to there and it took us a hour and a half because the stairs were so steep.
"The Forbidden City was pretty cool to see as well. It was neat to see how they designed it to protect the emperor and those kinds of things. The Terracotta Soldiers was a amazing. I have never seen anything like that before. They discovered 7,000 little soldier statues and they have three buildings full of them and they are still looking for more."
On having a friend go there with you:
"Having (Victor) over there with me that I already knew certainly helped. I knew Malik Story from when he was here and me having grown up here in Bloomington. Having Victor there, he is a fun guy to be around and he can talk to anybody. He is always fun and he mingled with all the people over there so it was fun for them too.
"We had slam dunk contests at halftime of each game so he was in those with Garland Greene. He played well in the games. He played defense and got the rim and even hit the game-winning 3-pointer and shot the ball well in a couple of the games."
On the improvement in Victor's game:
"Just in the time that he and Will Sheehey have been here have developed well - getting bigger and stronger. But Victor going over there helped him because they call a lot of touch fouls so he could not play as physical. He had to learn to play with his feet and not his hands. He was a really good defender the way it is so that's only going to help him when we get to the Big Ten. So I felt like he got better defensively and then also offensively as well he gained a lot of confidence."
On playing point guard for the team over there:
"I just played point guard and brought the ball up the court and passed off to other guys. We tried to run plays but not everyone wanted to run the plays but it was still a lot of fun to play my natural position."
What did the trip mean to you personally?
"It means a lot to me. A lot of people where I'm from don't really get the opportunity, a big opportunity like that, to travel across the world and be able to play in competition like that, and also experience a new ethnicity and new ethnic backgrounds. So, it was very special for me and I am glad that I was a part of it."
From a basketball sense, what did you take out of the trip?
"Definitely being a leader. You know, making the right play, doing whatever it takes for my team to win. Definitely shooting a little bit more and you know, just trying to get my teammates involved."
Was going to China fulfilling a dream for you?
"Yeah, I mean I have always wanted to go out of the country and that was my first time. My dad always wanted me to go there too, so it was a good thing for me and my parents as well."
What did you get out of playing a different kind of basketball?
"Playing overseas is really different. They move a lot. They backdoor cut to the basket a lot. They screen a lot. So, it definitely helped me on defense. You know, getting over screens and definitely helped me with my conditioning and just making sure my head is on the swivel. So, it helped me with my all-around game."
On having to play the same team over and over again there:
"It was interesting. After playing them a couple of times you kind of knew what to expect. But they were really good teams, so it was tough."
On making the game winning shot:
"All I remember is that, I know I had changed out and I had passed it to one of our bigs and he got a lay-up, and I believe we had gone up two and then they came down and made a tough lay-up and we were tied. One of our point guards had driven to the basket and I was sitting on the ring, and he committed to me and I mean he just made a good pass. I just knew I was going to shoot this before I even caught it, and when I shot it, it went in. Luckily I got back on defense, because they tried to get a quick long pass in."
On how Jordan did and going with a guy he knew:
"Yeah, it was definitely fun going with someone I knew. It made it a lot easier; someone to talk to; someone I knew. And it was a great experience for both of us. We built a lot of chemistry and we became closer also."
On half-time dunk competitions:
"I just tried to give something to the people that haven't seen before, and they really like it. You know, they were really excited and were thankful for us coming out there and playing, and doing it at halftime, so it was fun."
What made you interested in going on the trip?
"Definitely when they talked about how we were going to be traveling overseas, and we are going to be playing good competition over there. That definitely was a big reason why I went over there and then knowing that Jordan was going with me made it even better. It just seemed like an opportunity I had to go after."
What places did you most enjoy seeing out there?
"We saw the Great Wall, that was the greatest thing. Me and Jordan and a couple of the other players got to go to the highest point of that area of the Great Wall, so that was very interesting. We got to go see the Terracotta Soldiers. There were seven thousand soldiers buried. We got to go see different sites at a time and it was just an overwhelming experience. It was different. It was fun."