The Virginia men’s basketball team will travel to the Netherlands, France and Belgium next summer as part of a preseason overseas trip allowed by the NCAA once every four years, Coach Tony Bennett said Tuesday.
The Cavaliers will play four or five games during the 10-day trip from Aug. 6-16. Additionally, the team will be allowed to conduct 10 practices before the trip, per NCAA rules.
That extra practice and playing time will pay particular dividends to three of the four members of Virginia’s 2012 recruiting class. Unlike guard Teven Jones – who enrolled at the university for the current spring semester – forwards Justin Anderson and Evan Nolte, as well as center Mike Tobey, will have just begun growing accustomed to the team and to Bennett’s system.
Given that the Cavaliers will lose fifth-year forward Mike Scott, fifth-year guard Sammy Zeglinski and senior center Assane Sene to graduation at the conclusion of this season, the August trip will afford what at that point will be a young team extra time to gel.
This isn’t the first time Bennett has taken advantage of such an opportunity as a coach. In the July of 2007, when Bennett was the head coach at Washington State, he took the Cougars on a preseason trip to Australia and New Zealand. Washington State capped its 2007-08 season with the program’s first trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament since 1941.
In August of 2000, when Bennett was an assistant under his father, Dick Bennett, at Wisconsin, the Badgers spent 10 days playing in Italy and Slovenia. Wisconsin earned an NCAA tournament berth following the 2000-01 regular season.