The Virginia Men’s Basketball team arrived in Spain yesterday to begin their foreign tour where they will compete in exhibition games against local teams.
The ten-day tour extends from August 8 to August 18 and will allow the young team to play competitively before the start of the regular season.
NCAA provisions allow foreign competitive tours once every four years, and this trip will allow coach Bennett and the team to develop chemistry and try out new line-ups with the numerous new additions to the program. The tour also permits the Cavaliers to host 10 additional days of preseason practice.
While an official itinerary of events has not been released to the public, Mark Barber from the Richmond Times Dispatch claimed the team will play five games and travel to Barcelona, Madrid, and Costa Blanca.
Coach Bennett has not made any changes to his coaching staff for this upcoming season; however, the Hoos add four true freshmen, Kyle Guy, Jay Huff, De’Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome to their line-up. Redshirt freshman Mamadi Diakite and redshirt junior Austin Nichols will also be eligible to play this year.
With 13 players and three walk-ons, Senior leader London Perrantes says that he is excited and that the extra games provided by the Spanish tour will be huge for the team.
After the first preseason practice in late June, Perrantes stated: “We’ve got a lot of skilled pieces. Thirteen guys that can all play. We’re going to have a lot of people fighting for minutes. Everybody’s going to be going hard, getting after it, and it’s going to make us better.”
The last foreign tour for Bennett and the Cavaliers took place in August 2012, where the team played games in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The roster also included a large first year class and allowed Justin Anderson, Evan Nolte, and Mike Tobey to make their debut appearances as Wahoos.
“The tour itself is really good for just growing your team chemistry and experiencing an unbelievable culture from an educational standpoint… and then seeing some guys in competitive settings,” Coach Bennett stated back in June.
When asked what he hoped his team would get out of the trip, Bennett replied: “of course the opportunity to give the guys an opportunity to see another culture, there’s the bonding that takes place and the team-building stuff with all the new faces. And to play in competition because we haven’t seen a lot of the new guys. I think that will be important. We’ll see how guys perform and we’ll get a feel for at least the beginnings of what you have heading into the preseason.”
While limited details have been released about the Spanish tour, fans can stay updated by following the Virginia Men’s Basketball team on Twitter, @UVAMensHoops. WUVA Sports will also keep readers up to date with the latest released game reports.