Aug. 10, 2012
Tulane and Tulsa men's basketball teams are getting in a little pre-preseason action with international trips scheduled this month. The NCAA allows 10 days of practice before making their respective trips.
Tulane men's basketball head coach Ed Conroy and his Green Wave will travel to Nassau, Bahamas, on Sunday for a five-day trip that includes three games. First-year Tulsa head coach Danny Manning will lead the Golden Hurricane in a six-day summer exhibition tour of Canada, Aug. 14-19.
"We are excited about the opportunity to travel together to a foreign country and represent Tulane University in athletic competition," Conroy said, who enters his third season as head coach. "This is the right time for our program to take the trip and it will help make us a better basketball team. It is also the first opportunity for many of our players to travel abroad and that is a unique experience that we are excited to share together."
Upon arrival, the team will face the PJ Stingers at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium at 8:30 p.m. CT on the first day. The Green Wave will then face the Cybots on Monday at 8:30 p.m. CT in the same gym. The final game of the trip is Tuesday at 4 p.m. CT against the Bahamas All-Stars in Isaacs Gym.
"There are numerous benefits to taking an off-season trip including the extra practice time and team building that takes place," Conroy added. "The extra time on the court is extremely valuable, especially with our freshman and redshirts. The off-court portion of the trip will be equally beneficial as we continue to develop a championship culture within our program."
Among the returning players for Conroy is the 2012 Conference USA Freshman of the Year Ricky Tarrant. The sophomore guard is joined by junior forward Josh Davis and senior guard Jordan Callahan, who started all 31 games during the 2011-12 campaign. Also back is senior forward and former all-conference player Kendall Timmons, who started 16 games last season before suffering a season-ending injury.
Other letterwinners returning include senior guard Ben Cherry, junior center Kevin Thomas, redshirt junior center Tomas Bruha, and sophomores Jay Hook, Lotanna Nwogbo and Tre Drye. Last season's redshirts Nick Latzke (Fr., G), Max Keenan (Jr., G) and Josh Birchfield (So., F/C) will make the trip and participate for the first time as members of the Tulane Basketball team.
All four of Tulane's incoming freshmen, including Louis Dabney, Marc Eddy Norelia, RaAnthony Sanders and Kajon Mack should see their first action as college players as they travel for the first time with the Green Wave.
Tulsa will play four games in four days in and around Toronto. TU will face Brock University in Niagara Falls, Ontario on Aug. 15, before returning to Toronto for games against Ryerson University on Aug. 16, Seneca College on Aug. 17, and A-Game Hoops on Aug. 18.
Manning spoke about his team's summer workouts and August practices gearing up for the exhibition tour, as well as the excitement about making the trip and getting to see his players in action against outside competition.
"We're a work in progress, but we're trying and we're getting better each and every day, each and every practice," Manning said. "That's the goal. Hopefully when we get to Canada, we will be able to play a few good stretches of basketball throughout our tour. One thing that is very beneficial is the ability to see our team in game action. That's very beneficial."
Tulsa returns senior guards Scottie Haralson and Jamie Booker, junior guard Tim Peete, sophomore guard Rashad Smith, sophomore forward Blondy Baruti and redshirt freshman forward Brandon Swannegan to the team in 2012-13. The Hurricane welcomed senior transfer forward Kauri Black, junior college transfer guard Pat Swilling, Jr., and freshman guards Shaquille Harrison, Rashad Ray and James Woodard, and freshman forwards Zeldric King and D'Andre Wright to the squad this year.
"It's a learning process for all of us to be honest with you," Manning said. "It's a learning process for our coaching staff because it's the first time we've worked with this group. We're all feeling each other out, but we're all working hard to get better each and every day. The upperclassmen are starting to take a little bit more ownership in what's going on and showing some leadership. So that's always encouraging. From there, we'll just see what we have when we get to Canada. This trip is going to be good. It's good that we have a chance to see our team play."