URI basketball heads to Bahamas on working vacation – The Providence Journal

Posted: August 6, 2017 at 3:26 am

Bill Koch Journal Sports Writer BillKoch25

SOUTH KINGSTOWN They were celebrated as Atlantic 10 Tournament champions and NCAA Tournament qualifiers the last time the University of Rhode Islands players and coaches appeared in front of their fans at the Ryan Center in March.

Saturday marked what could be the last time those milestones are publicly discussed by the Rams, who held an open practice prior to their six-day trip to the Bahamas this week. URI is actively attempting to turn the page on the season.

E.C. Matthews will be sidelined for precautionary reasons after having his right knee scoped in April. Jared Terrell will return from Adidas Nations camp in Houston and play limited minutes.

It was such a fun year with so many great memories, but weve got a new season upon us shortly, URI coach Dan Hurley said. This is a good reminder.

The fact that they came out early in the morning to see us practice and see what we look like, it was a blessing, Matthews said of the fans. Were going to need them to make a good run this year.

URI officials generously estimated a crowd of about 1,000 on a rainy Saturday morning, a gathering that witnessed the Rams go through their usual offseason drills. Defensive closeouts, transition offense and halfcourt sets were the areas of emphasis, with reserve big man Andre Berry and junior college forward Ryan Preston among the standouts. Both players will be vying for minutes with sophomore forward Mike Layssard and redshirt freshman center Michael Tertsea in a frontcourt that graduated key pieces in Hassan Martin and Kuran Iverson.

These guys are a huge part of whether we can get back to where we were, Hurley said, also singling out returnees Cyril Langevine and Nicola Akele. So much of our focus on the trip and practice has been just bringing these guys along as much as we can this summer.

Matthews and Terrell will be replaced by a deep group of guards that still includes breakout NCAA star Jeff Dowtin, veteran point man Jarvis Garrett, Stanford Robinson and talented freshman Daron Russell. Christion Thompson (right knee surgery) will be sidelined.

Were really going to work on getting guys a lot of minutes who didnt get a lot last year, Hurley said. Well really focus on our frontcourt.

URIs traveling party leaves early Monday for the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. The Rams are expected to play at least two games, practice at least twice and perform community service at a local school. URI will also enjoy the resorts many amenities, including a formal team dinner and a boat ride before scattering for the final couple of weeks of summer break.

Itll be a nice six-day trip for us, Hurley said. Some sightseeing, some community service, some competition, the chance to practice a couple of times just great team bonding.

We want to do bigger and better things, Matthews said. Obviously what we did last year was good, but we want to set the bar even higher.

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URI basketball heads to Bahamas on working vacation - The Providence Journal

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