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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Congolese Basketball Players and Coaches Visit Campus

SALISBURY, MD---As part of the U.S. State Department’s SportsUnited program, some 10 male and female basketball players from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa visited Salisbury University today.

While on campus they participated in a skills clinic with Coach Josh Merkel and members of the SU men’s basketball team, and received instruction from SU Health and Sport Sciences faculty.

Their visit, which also included two Congolese coaches, is part of a 10-day international people-to-people exchange. The SU portion of the trip was coordinated by Dr. Dean Ravizza of the Health and Sport Sciences Department, whose sports and conflict resolution programs and studies in Africa have earned national attention.

At SU, the players learned about injuries, hydration, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and conflict resolution strategies for sports from faculty including Ravizza and Drs. Kelly Fiala, Scott Mazzetti and Donna Ritenour, and Matthew Nein.

The exchange helps the students engage in team building, conflict resolution, physical conditioning and disability awareness in sports. The program builds on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s vision of “smart power,” bringing individuals together to foster a greater understanding of social norms and cultures.

During their U.S. tour, the Congolese players also meet with athletes from the NBA and WNBA, and visit Howard University, among other stops. Participants in the SportsUnited program have included NBA players Juwan Howard and Dikembe Mutombo, and WNBA player Nikki McCray.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at

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