BAH - University of Kentucky prove prestigious addition for Nassau tournament
NASSAU - The University of Kentucky's men's basketball team are the latest side to have been snapped up by the Bahamas Basketball Federation for what is looking to be an exciting and eclectic friendly tournament in Nassau (10-17 August).
Kentucky will play the Puerto Rico national reserve team, French Pro-A side Chalons-Reims Basket, and the Dominican Republic national team twice each, with the latter using the event as a tune-up for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which begins in late August.
"We are excited to make the trip to the Bahamas for our foreign tour," said Kentucky coach John Calipari, who will begin his sixth season in charge of the Wildcats after finishing the 2013-2014 as the NCAA Division I national runners-up.
"My goal is for our team to grow together, to learn about one another, to have fun and to compete against teams that will stretch us out.
"These teams should be a challenge that will let us really see where we are at this point.
"But again, learning and having fun will be the emphasis of the trip. It's another opportunity for us to fail fast."
NCAA rules allow for a foreign tour by an intercollegiate team once every four academic years, with Kentucky's 'Big Blue Bahamas' tour a joint venture between Complete Sports Management and the Bahamas Basketball Federation.
"The Bahamas Basketball Federation is delighted to have a team such as Kentucky embrace our shores," said Federation Vice President, Mario Bowleg.
"We know that Kentucky will bring a high level of basketball performance with lots of excitement for our Bahamian basketball fans to experience.
"We take this opportunity to thank Lea Miller and her (Complete Sports Management) team, whom have worked closely with the Federation, to bring such an elite group to our shores - not just to play basketball, but to bond as a unit and experience paradise all at the same time."
The Complete Sports Management President also expressed her delight at landing Kentucky for the tournament and added: "We are thrilled to bring together top basketball teams from all over the world and showcase it in such a beautiful setting.
"It is always a pleasure working with the Bahamas Basketball Federation and we are very appreciative of their support.
"The University of Kentucky is truly one of the most dominant programmes in college basketball, and it will be fun to watch them compete on this global stage against teams from the Dominican Republic, France and Puerto Rico."
The competition will span an eight-day period in Nassau and will be held at the recently renovated 2,500-seat Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.