Tiny, but mighty, St. Mary's

December 7, 2007 8:45:53 PM PST
When you think Australian sports you don't think basketball. The thunder from down under has hit the East Bay with gael force winds and the eyes of the college basketball world are starting to take notice of tiny, but mighty St. Mary's.

There's an invasion happening on a small campus in Moraga that has students speaking in a foreign different tongue.

The Gaels basketball team is 6-0 for the first time in 19 years, with the help of four Australians. Ben Allen, Lucas Walker, Carlin Hughes and WCC player of the month, freshman Patty Mills, are part of the quartet from down under that often have teammates wondering, 'what did he say?'

"I live with two of them so it's a lot of fun and we just have a good time listening to them with their little accents," says Omar Samhan, St. Mary's center.

"Get off the blower means get off the phone. Just normal stuff like that. Give us the sauce means the ketchup. Just normal everyday things that we don't recognize, but these guys seem to find it hard to understand us at times," says Carlin Hughes, St. Mary's guard.

One language these players all relate to is basketball. After big wins against undefeated Oregon and Seton Hall, the fans of St. Mary's basketball have adopted Aussies as their own.

"Kind of special because it is a reminder of where you're from, because not only me, but the other guys too, we represent not only St. Mary's, but Australia as well" says Patty Mills, St. Mary's guard.

The team oriented style the Aussies play has the team on the cusp of being nationally ranked for the first time since 1989.

"A lot of people appreciate the way these guys play. They're fun to watch, they share the ball and they're sharing their culture with our culture and it really does make it fun," says Randy Bennett, St. Mary's head coach.

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