Idaho State men’s basketball players on a boat in Panama last week.

The NCAA allows men’s basketball teams to go on a foreign exhibition game tour once every four years. With nine new players on the roster, Idaho State head coach Ryan Looney figured this was as good a year to take advantage of a team-building excursion as any. After a three-game adventure in Panama last week, Looney’s pretty sure he made the right call.

“It was pretty awesome,” Looney said, “not just the basketball, but the ability to spend time together as a group in a unique environment. I think there were so many parts of the trip that helped to bring our group together….I got a lot of comments from people who were on the trip about how much fun the guys are having, and how quickly they came together as a group.”

Brad Bugger has observed athletics in southeastern Idaho for over 40 years, as a sportswriter, broadcaster and fan. He can be reached with comments, suggestions and column ideas at

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