The Jaguars are going to paradise.
The Southern mens basketball team traveled to the Bahamas this weekend for a weeklong training session. The Jaguars will play three exhibition games against semi-pro teams in Nassau.
The NCAA allows teams to take a foreign trip every four years. The Jaguars visited Canada in 2013.
Over their five days there, the Jaguars will play the CTG Knights on Sunday, the Providence Storm on Monday and the IBA Elite on Tuesday.
It allows the kids to go see different parts of the world and see how the game is played in other areas, new coach Morris Scott said. For us, it gives us a little advantage. We get to come out and get a lot of days of practice before the season. It also gives us a chance to evaluate the team before anyone else can.
For many of the players, this will be the first time they go outside of the United States, but senior Jared Sam is an experienced traveler. Over the past few seasons, he took part in basketball programs that sent him to China and Croatia.
He said he's excited about this trip, because it'll allow the younger players to see a different style of play, which he said is more physical than what's found in the U.S.
Its basically a bonding trip, Sam said. Maybe we can all come together. Itll be a learning experience. Those (younger) guys can learn a little bit more and then just to go out and play basketball, something we love to do."
The Croatia trip, which Sam took last August, also was an important one for Scott, who received his first chance to act as a head coach, even though it was only for a few days. The trip was formed through an outside group, allowing Scott to coach Sam and former Southern teammate Tre'lun Banks.
Scott said this trip is more important, because it gives him a few games to prepare for the rigors that await in his first season as the Jaguars' coach. Scott was promoted to head coach this spring when Roman Banks accepted the full-time athletic director position.
Its huge, Scott said. Hopefully it'll get a little bit of the jitters out, maybe. Itll be the first time coaching a Division I game, and hopefully get a little bit of (the nerves) out and kind of learn the ins and outs of the team and find out which guys can help and which cant.
Unfortunately for the players, Scott said most of their time in the Bahamas will be spent on basketball activities, not at the beach.
Just to get the chance to leave the United States for a little bit and see something different for a change, said senior guard LaQuentin Collins, who has never traveled outside the country. Im somewhat anxious to get over there and see how it is (to play overseas) and see how this team looks.
Follow Mike Gegenheimer on Twitter, @Mike_Gegs.
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