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Summer travel blog: For Elijah Olaniyi, Barcelona has been a learning experience, on and off the court

The Seawolves finally faced some competition this week.

Stony Brook athletics

While you’re all laying on the beach doing nothing, the Stony Brook Seawolves are in Europe, taking in the sights of Barcelona, Valencia, and Paris, and also competing against some top-flight competition as they prepare for the season ahead. The university is sending Mid-Major Madness regular dispatches on their progress, continuing today with some thoughts from rising junior and all-America East third-teamer Elijah Olaniyi.

STONY BROOK: What were your overall impressions of the three days in Barcelona?

ELIJAH OLANIYI: Barcelona is beautiful in every aspect: the city, the people, the culture… it’s different. If you have a chance, definitely consider this.

SB: There were a bunch of cultural and tourist stops made in the time here. Which one was your favorite?

EO: The bike tour. I know some people didn’t like the biking part but learning about the history was really cool. I was talking to someone in the city one day and even she didn’t know some of it. Especially learning about Cataluña and the pride they have with what has gone on the last couple of years. I’m on the other side of the ocean and it’s good to see things from a different perspective.

SB: Had you been out of the country before this?

EO: Yeah I had been to China twice and that was a big culture shock. It’s a complete 360 from American culture. Here, you see a lot of similarities between here and American cities. There are some parts of this town that look like the boroughs of New York City and there are parts that look like Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills. The small streets look like the city and the big, busy streets look like LA.

SB: On the floor, what was it like to play against someone else for the first time in awhile?

EO: It was good. Coming off not playing for a couple of days, it definitely felt a little weird for the first quarter or so. Once we got into it, though, we all got into the swing of things and it was a lot of fun. The way we are just playing with each other and building chemistry, it was a lot of fun.

SB: There was a little bit of an age gap, playing against professionals. What was that like?

EO: You were almost playing and could evaluate yourself while doing it. Looking at different guys, it was almost like “if this guy can play pro then I can play pro as well” and that is the first thing to run through your head. After that, actually playing, you pray that you can play for that long too. We played against some guys with gray hair.

SB: You finished the night with 19 [points] and 13 [rebounds]. What was your mindset? Were you comfortable in that atmosphere?

EO: I just wanted to go in and have fun. These games, they mean something to us, but they don’t mean anything for our championship in March. We’re coming over here to build chemistry with some new teammates, some old teammates, a new coach and staff… we just want to get a feel for each other on the floor.