By Jeremy McDonald
SCIO, Ore.– There’s roughly 8,100 miles separating Scio, Oregon in the United States of America and Copenhagen, Denmark.
For Lukas Binau, he traveled that in coming to America on August 10, 2017 as part of the exchange student program. Back home, the 17-year-old played year-round basketball and was entering his tenth-year of playing the sport when he decided to try something new along with his natural sport of basketball:
Not like European Football (soccer to us here in the State), but American Football with the pads and the helmets.
“That was a great experience to try that out,” said Binau who played offensive and defensive line for the Loggers team that went to the State Semi-Final round this season. “It’s and awesome sport, we don’t really have football in Denmark. It was totally new for me but it was awesome to tackle people and make plays, it was awesome.”
With football season ending, the Denmark-sophomore traded in his shoulder pads, helmet and cleats for some more comfortable basketball shoes as he transited from the physicality of European basketball to the passionate crowds of American basketball.
“I think basketball over in Europe is a lot more physical, but it’s a way bigger crowd here so there’s more pressure. It’s more intense.” said Binau. “I like it here. The crowd, it gets you pumped.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play High School basketball here in America and it was a dream come true.”
The difference between where Binau plays with Club basketball, he said that the season started earlier for them and lasted longer and it wasn’t surprising it reached 35 games in a single season.
Consider this, the two team’s playing in the State Championship game in 3A in 2017, Dayton played 29, De La Salle Catholic played 28 after the championship game. Chemawa played 18, Plesant Hill had 20 and Rouge River played 21 games in 2017 in 3A. And the average for some teams could fall between 20 to 25 typically on average here in Oregon depending on league playoffs and State Playoffs.
With that team Binau had last season, the playoff atomsphere is no unfamiliar territory for the Denmark-native, but he knows it’s going to be fun and unique walking into Colton Wednesday Night in a win-or-go-home game.
“It’s definitely going to be different crowd but I’ve played tournaments in Berlin (Germany) where we went far into the playoffs and there was a pretty big crowd and intense. But it’s going to be more intense here,” smiled Binau.
Speaking of Germany, Binau is multilingual in speaking his native language of Danish, he speaks English and has been taking German through schooling for three-years now. Where he’s from to Germany is about a two-three hour drive, which is probably equivalent to driving from Salem to Roseburg (about two hours) or Salem to the Bend-area (a little under three hour drive).
But going to those kind of tournaments, those big and crazy tournaments, was something that Binau loved as Scio prepares for their own little tournament run on the road here shortly.
“Oh I love it, I love going to those kind of tournaments,” said Binau. “We went down there without a coach last year and we had a parent stepped up as a coach because our coach couldn’t come, but that was a fun experience.”
With Binau, there’s something about traveling to play ball. He’s gone to Sweden, he’s gone to Lithuania with his younger brother before coming to the States. Traveling and seeing new places and cultures is something he likes to do said Binau.
“It’s really cool to play, play teams you haven’t played against yet. Completely new teams and especially in America its really cool to represent a lot of people. In Denmark we just represent our club,” starts Binau on that cultural adventure thanks to basketball or the exchange program.
“National pride like singing the National Anthem, we don’t normally do that in other countries in Europe. So I think that’s something really great, stand there sing the National Anthem and play. I feel like I’m part of something bigger.”
Recently, in the days leading up to Binau playing a factor in the Logger’s 48-45 victory over Chemawa on Senior Night back on Thursday, he made a quick little trip to Palm Springs, California to see his twin sister Clara who’s an exchange student out at Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“It was definitely a highlight of my trip seeing her again, I feel like I’ve been away from her for about five months. So it was really cool to see her again,” said Binau of his sister, who too is playing basketball out in Minnesota.