(Hawaii Athletics) - The University of Hawai'i men's basketball team will make its first-ever trip to Australia when it heads Down Under for a goodwill tour this summer.
The 10-day tour, running August 8-18, will include visits to Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney with the Rainbow Warriors playing an exhibition game in each city. It will mark UH's first foreign tour since going to China in 2011.
"This tour is huge for us as we continue to build our program," head coach Eran Ganot said. "Most elite programs do foreign tours every four years, and we hope this trip begins a similar process for us. It certainly isn't easy to put together a tour like this and there are so many people that stepped up to make this happen. We can't thank them enough."
Per NCAA rules, UH will be allowed 10 extra practices starting toward the end of July to help prepare for the tour. The entire UH roster, including incoming recruits Dawson Carper, Owen Hulland, and Eddie Stansberry are expected to make the trip.
"To be able to have 10 days of practice in addition to the opportunity to play against some of the best teams in a Australia is something we're all looking forward to," Ganot said. "It's a great way to get our newcomers integrated and should give us plenty of momentum going into our 2018-19 season."
UH boasts a trio of Aussies on its 2018-19 roster—Hulland (Adelaide), redshirt freshman Mate Colina (Melbourne), and senior-to-be Jack Purchase (Melbourne). Hulland and Colina previously trained and competed together in Canberra for the Centre of Excellence.
"There is a natural synergy between Australia and Hawai'i" Ganot said. "Beside UH being the closest Division I school to Australia, there are also the cultural similarities—the terrific people and the tremendous value we place on team and family. To bring our current Aussies back home, particularly a senior in Jack Purchase, is all the more special for them and their loved ones."
Aside from basketball, the Rainbow Warrior will also immerse themselves in cultural activities, including visits to the Sydney Zoo and an Australian Rules football game.
"This is such a rare opportunity," Ganot said. "We'll be visiting some of the best cities in the world and it will be an exciting and memorable experience for our players, staff, families, and friends. Australia has been such a big part of my life and my family's life, so to be able to share this incredible country with everybody is going to be awesome."
Those interested in joining the team on the tour can contact David Loboja of Aussie Basketball Travellers at firstname.lastname@example.org.