Usually, high school basketball coaches focus on observing their teams in summer league action and monitoring future opponents. Those are activities which traditionally take place in a team's backyard, yet one Indiana coach went practically as far from his backyard as possible: He went to coach in Iceland.
The coach in question is Henryville (Ind.) High head man Perry Hunter -- he's the one on the far right in the photo above -- the longtime Hornets coach who has a penchant for heading to foreign lands during his summer breaks. After a stints in Macedonia and Serbia last summer, Hunter took the opportunity to coach at the Tindastoll basketball coaching clinic and camp in Saodarkrokur, Iceland for two weeks in June, focusing on trying to help teach the fundamentals of a motion offense.
Hunter wasn't the only foreign coach at the Icelandic camp, but he was certainly the only one from Indiana. According to the Evening News and Tribune, Hunter represented the state alongside basketball minds from Spain, Italy, Macedonia and Croatia at the two week camp, alternating between analyzing play on the court and scouring his relatively small knowledge of Serbian to help translate between coach Goran Miljevic and the campers, who spoke in English.
"[Croatian coach Goran Miljevic] would send the kids to me -- 'tell him' -- and I would be able to figure out what they wanted," Hunter said. "And the same thing, the kids couldn't understand what he was saying, but I could understand enough, and then tell him."
While Hunter came away with more cultural enhancement than improved basketball strategy, he told the News and Tribune that Icelandic basketball did help open Hunter's eyes to more European basketball, leaving him with the feeling that stateside hoops could use a few European innovations, too.
Unlike the sport in the U.S., Icelandic basketball uses a 24-second shot clock at all levels, which speeds up the flow of games and -- when combined with a stronger focus on fundamentals -- leads to a more fluid style of play.
Yet, at the end of the day, the entire experience was inspiring for Hunter because of the window it opened into another culture, one which he hopes he can take advantage of again in the future.
"You see a lot of similiarities when you work with kids, young people," Hunter told the News and Tribune. "I've worked in Serbia, Macedonia and Iceland. They all want to learn. …
"I'm a history and geography teacher, and when you can go and experience the culture instead of reading about it in a book, that is -- to me, that's great."