Don Showalter has coached basketball all over the world during his career.
Even so, his latest international basketball opportunity caught the City High head coach slightly off guard.
Showalter, who has gone on multiple international trips as a coach with USA Basketball, is participating in the first joint basketball development camp between the NBA and FIBA this week in Havana, Cuba.
“It was kind of a surprise to me when they approached me about it,” Showalter said. “Of course I said you bet. I’m not going to pass up that chance. It’s a great opportunity.”
Showalter departed on Monday for the four-day camp in Havana that is a cooperative venture with the Cuban men’s and women’s national teams and Cuban Basketball Federation.
The camps will feature both boys and girls from ages approximately 13 to 17.
A six-time USA Basketball developmental coach of the year, Showalter said he will work mostly with the younger kids at the camp.
“I enjoy working with the kids and I think the fun part is meeting people around the world that have a passion for the game of basketball,” Showalter said. “You get a good feel for not only how they feel about basketball but how they feel about the United States and you hopefully create a goodwill there between the two countries.”
Showalter joins an impressive list of coaches attending the camp.
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo, and WNBA legend Ticha Penicheiro will all take part along with current NBA head coaches James Borrego and Quin Snyder.
“Steve Nash and Quinn Snyder are going to do the senior teams work so it should be a great experience,” Showalter said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The international camp experience is something new for Showalter.
The longtime prep coach has coached USA Basketball teams in international tournaments, including leading the U17 team to a title at the 2014 FIBA World Championship in Dubai last August.
“Most of my experience has been coaching clinics in places like Cairo, Egypt and Moscow,” Showalter said. “I’ve done some coaching clinics but never a camp.”
The trip to Havana is only the start of a busy offseason for Showalter.
He leaves the end of May for the USA Basketball U16 training camp, and then heads to Argentina with the team in the middle of June.
Showalter will travel to South American in the fall.
“That little round ball has taken me so many places,” Showalter said. “I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.com.