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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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International ballers

Junior%26%23160%3BTyler+Davis%2C+who+has+family+in+Puerto+Rico%2C%26%23160%3Bwas+named+preseason+second+team+All-SEC.
Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Junior Tyler Davis, who has family in Puerto Rico, was named preseason second team All-SEC.

Two and a half years had passed since Tonny Trocha-Morelos set foot in his home country of Colombia.
Stepping off the plane this past August, Trocha-Morelos, Texas A&M senior center, went straight past baggage claim.
He only had one thing on his mind – devouring an authentic plate of Colombian rice and fish.
“I went straight to a restaurant,” Trocha-Morelos said. “Honestly, I love Colombian food so much.”
Trocha-Morelos was also looking forward to the main reason he was returning home: To play for the Colombian men’s basketball national team in the FIBA Americup.
The 12-team tournament was held from Aug. 25-Sept. 3, with Medellin – 400 miles south of Trocha-Morelos’s hometown Cartagena – serving as one of four host sites in South America.
“It felt great to represent the country, especially with the senior team, it’s a privilege,” Trocha-Morelos said.
Trocha-Morelos said it was surreal stepping onto the practice court with professional players he aspired to be like.
“It was pretty cool playing with them and just being on the court with them,” Trocha-Morelos said, thinking to himself in the moment. “I’m really playing with a guy that I grew up watching.”
During his 20-day stay in Colombia, Trocha-Morelos only took four personal days to see local friends and family, spending most of the time focusing on basketball. Those close to him still attended games, except his mother, Betty Morelos, who was afraid he would suffer an injury.
“I’m the baby, so she doesn’t want anyone to touch her baby,” Trocha-Morelos said. “But she was there every day after the games, hugging me, talking to me about anything else but the game because she was worried that I was going to get hurt.”
On the court, the Colombian national team struggled, going 0-3 in the group stage and finishing 11th overall.
“It didn’t go the way we wanted, but it was definitely something different,” Trocha-Morelos said. “[Basketball] is something Colombia is trying to build and to bring other people in the country and make it the best thing from Colombia.”
Joining Trocha-Morelos in Columbia was fellow A&M teammate and junior center Tyler Davis, who was playing for Puerto Rico. Davis’s maternal side of the family hails from the U.S. territory and decided to play for the Puerto Rican team after several years of persuasion from coaches.
“Once you grow up and you know you can go learn a lot from other people,” Davis said. “It makes the opportunity so much better, so I took the opportunity and I had a great time.”
Davis took two trips to the Caribbean island in preparation for the tournament, staying in an apartment complex outside of San Juan. His stint staying near the capital was just before Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, devastated the island.
“It saddens me because I was just there,” Davis said. “I was able to see what a beautiful place it is. I was able to go to the beach and see the water and how clear it is. It’s just saddening to see on the news how flooded it is. The place I stayed in is literally underwater.”
Davis said he enjoyed the different style of play, which he described as having a higher tempo and fielding more dynamic players.
“Everyone can play, so when someone is guarding our team, they have to respect everybody, because in pro-style now even the big guys can shoot,” Davis said.
In game two of group play, the Aggie teammates faced off. A slight ankle injury from game one limited Trocha–Morelos’ minutes against the Puerto Ricans, but he was set on playing no matter what.
“I told my coach, I better play this game or I’m not coming back,” Trocha-Morelos said. “We were still talking a lot of trash even though we weren’t guarding each other.”
Davis showed his dominance, scoring 13 points and had a team-high seven rebounds in Puerto Rico’s 91-72 win.
“[Trocha-Morelos] told me, be ready, I’ve been coaching my guys up, but I wasn’t worried about it,” Davis said. “I did the same thing for my guys, everything they could know to stop him because he was playing well out there and shooting well.”
Off the court, Trocha-Morelos and Davis stayed at the same hotel and were able to spend some time together.
“I got to see him like every day,” Davis said. “We would catch up, ask how practice was.”
Despite the tough tournament for Colombia, Trocha-Morelos’s college coaches took note of the growth he made in his game while playing internationally.
“I was really pleased with how Tonny played,” A&M head coach Billy Kennedy said. “He’s been a good leader for us behind the scenes and he’s

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  • Forward Tonny Trocha-Morelos scored a game-high 19 points off the bench in A&M’s 73-69 loss to Texas.

    Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel
  • Senior forward Tonny Trocha-Morelos played for Colombia’s men national team in the FIBA Americup over the summer.

    Photo by Photo by: C. Morgan Engel
  • Junior center Tyler Davis had 16 points and 7 rebounds in the Aggies exhibition game against the Longhorns. 

    Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel
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