The Cowboys did some old school bonding, too. Due to the exorbitant costs of cellphone use overseas, players only used their devices to surf the web or engage on Twitter when wifi was available.
No calls. No texts. No modern communication.
Instead, they went knocking on their teammates’ doors to chat or plan an activity or cut up.
“We couldn’t talk on the cellphone, so we had to talk to each other,” Nash said. “Watch TV together. Play around with each other. Do things with each other.
“I think that’s what led us to having a great season. I thank coach Ford for letting us go on that trip.”
It was all part of the coach’s plan.
“It allowed us to get a step ahead,” Ford said, “because we brought in a freshman point guard and literally handed him the ball. It helped X-and-O wise, system wise, but probably more importantly it allowed everybody to get used to each other. It was very, very valuable for us.
“This is one of the closest teams I’ve been around, they’re extremely close. And I think that really helped develop that bond.”
The Cowboys won their four games, mostly with ease.
“We got to know one another, got to know one another’s game,” said Markel Brown. “And it started working right away.”
And it worked in every way.
The Cowboys claim a closeness that sees them sticking together regularly, playing video games at one house or another, eating at Nash’s house, where he sometimes serves up spaghetti and steaks.
“That’s another thing that shows character, how well you can get along with your teammate,” Smart said. “If you don’t like somebody, you’re not going to play well with them.
“You need that chemistry off the court, but also on the court. And when you have it off the court, it’s going to show on the court.”