Men’s Basketball Makes Summer Trip to Montreal
The Stetson men’s basketball team is traveling next week, but hopefully not on the court. The Hatters are participating in a seven-day foreign tour in Montreal, Quebec, Aug. 3-9.
Under NCAA rules, basketball teams are permitted one preseason tour every four years. Beginning practice on July 25, the Hatters will benefit from 10 days of practice prior to leaving for Montreal, where they play four games against Canadian collegiate squads.
“I’m really excited that we’re able to take a trip like this right now,” head coach Corey Williams said. “It’s a chance to jump start our season. You can work on a lot of stuff before the school year begins. We can get those 10 days of practice in and then go play.”
Stetson reached the finals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament last season, losing 80-78 in overtime to Florida Gulf Coast University. The Hatters return four starters from last season, including ASUN Freshman of the Year Derick Newton and all-conference forward Brian Pegg. Williams says the time is right for the Hatters to get a head start on the 2016-17 campaign.
“We basically have everybody coming back from last year,” he said. “What a trip like this does is get you ahead. We won’t have to wait until the first day of practice in October to get things established. You can work on your team chemistry and begin getting used to being on the road.”
Williams is also excited about what an opportunity like this means for first-year players Larry Dennis and Clay Verk.
“One of the things I hope we can get out of this trip is to insert the two new guys into our system and get a better feel for what they can do against outside competition. It’s one thing to watch them practice against each other and their teammates, but it’s another thing to see them against somebody that doesn’t really know them. That goes for all of our guys,” said Williams.
While the tour will certainly have an important athletic benefit, the Hatters won’t be eschewing their responsibilities as student-athletes. The team will spend time examining the culture, commerce and day-to-day life in one of North America’s most historic cities. With a population of nearly 4 million, Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.
“We want our guys to understand a little bit more about how vital Montreal is to Canada,” Williams said. “Even though Canada is a country that’s familiar to all of us, I think it’s important for our kids to get a complete look at another culture. This is a significant educational opportunity for the team. It’s not just a basketball trip.
“I want to thank Stetson President Dr. Wendy Libby for all of the work she did in assisting our efforts to help arrange this tour. I also want to thank University Associate Provost Rosalie Richards; Paula Hentz, the director of International World Learning; and Cathy Rinehart, Stetson’s Health Services coordinator, for their time and efforts over the last several weeks.”