While many athletes are completing their vacations and preparing for a new year, the Howard University and De Matha High School basketball teams are packing their bags for a two-week tour of Brazel.
The trip, sponsored by the Organization of American States and the Brazilian government, is the first international tour ever undertaken by either Howard or De Matha. Most of the cost is being paid by private concerns.
The teams will depart Aug. 17 and aer scheduled to return Sept. 5. Howard will play in the Trophy of the Americas Tournament, which will be televised nationally in Brazil. The Bison will also visit six other cities, giving clinics, seminars and playing games.
"This will be a great experience for all of us," said Howard coach A.B Williamson. "The cultural and educational exchanges are excellent. I hope we can show them some of our culture as well as win a few games."
De Matha coach Morgan Wotten echoed Williamson's sentiment.
"It's an excellent opportunity for the young fellows to see another culture," said Wootten. "The educational experience wil be invaluable. It's a thrill of a lifetime."
Like Howard, De matha will take 11 players. The Stags will play against 20-and-under club teams throughout the South American country, as well as conduct clinics and show films.
All games will be governed by international basketball rules. The Braziliam teams will have another advantage in that they are in the middle of their basketball season.
Most of the players seemed eager to make the trip, although several said they weren't exactly looking forward to the 9 1/2-hour nonstop flight.
"I plan to sleep most of the way," said Howard's 6-foot-10 center, Dorian Dent.
"I don't know about flying over all that water."
Howard's 6-7 Gerald (Dr. G) Glover, is especially anxious to face Brazil's finest players.
"I can't wait. It'll be interesting to see the style and playing ability of the Brazilian temas and players," said Glover, who needs 455 points to become the school's top career score: "I've also made it a personal project to find out any new dunking styles I can learn or teach them."
The topflight competition should also be a tremendous advantage to De Matha, expected to be ranked among the top three high schools in the nation.
"These games and the competition will help us because we have a tough schedule again," said junior guard Sidney Lowe. "I heard De Matha was a good school when I was in junior high but I never expected to be going to play in Brazil."