In preparation for the upcoming 2017-18 college basketball season, the College of Charleston men’s basketball team will take a 10-day international tour of Ireland with IndiSport on August 6-15.
The preseason favorite to win the Colonial Athletic Association by several preseason publications, the Cougars will depart Charleston during the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 6 and arrive in Dublin, Ireland, the morning of Monday, Aug. 7.
While most teams travel to Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada and France for overseas tours, last year CofC Head Coach Earl Grant had the opportunity to speak to the Hibernian Society of Charleston. There, he spoke to members about traveling to Ireland as he sought a country where his student-athletes would have a great experience. The trip was also made possible with the connection to one of his former players at Winthrop, who is currently the head of the Irish Basketball Federation.
“It gives us a tremendous jump-start to the season,” said Grant on the overseas tour against international competition. “This was part of my vision three years ago to be able to take a foreign tour with our guys after a couple of recruiting classes. We knew it would be a big part of the process as we continue to grow our program.”
The NCAA allows teams to travel on an overseas summer tour once every four years. Teams are also allowed 10 team practices to prepare for the trip and competition. The tour will take CofC through several different cities including the Irish capital of Dublin, Kinsale, Killarney, Bantry, Kenmare, Westport and Leopardstown.
The Cougars will play three games while in Ireland highlighted by a meeting with the Irish National Basketball Team on Saturday, Aug. 12 in Dublin, Ireland. CofC will face the Neptune Basketball Club on Tuesday, Aug. 8 in Cork City, Ireland, and Moycullen Basketball Club on Friday, Aug. 11 in Galway, Ireland.
Aside from basketball, the Cougars will visit historical and notable sites such as the Rock Of Cashel, Blarney Castle, Muckross House, the Cliffs of Moher, Trinity College & Book of Kells and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
“Having a chance to go abroad is a unique experience to see how other people live and their culture,” Grant said. “It’s also a chance for us to really bond as a team and family. While there in Ireland, we will try to lock into our core values of who we are and who we want to be as a program (before the regular season starts). It’s so much bigger than just basketball. I’m really excited that our guys will have a chance to do this.”
CofC returns all five starters from its 25-10 campaign and NIT squad that reached the CAA title game under Grant in 2016-17. All-CAA First Team selection and senior point guard Joe Chealey is the team’s top returning player having averaged 17.8 points per game last season, while All-CAA Second Team and CAA All-Defensive Team selection Jarrell Brantley was the team’s top rebounder (8.4 rpg).
“We have a really good team this year,” Grant said. “We have a young group of guys that will be playing with each other for a few years. This will jumpstart the process, not only for this season, but for the rest of their careers as we continue to build a special program here in Charleston.”
Follow the #CougarsInIreland online at: www.CofCSports.com for game and tour recaps as well as a photo diary and more from junior guard Marquise Pointer on the @CofCBasketball Twitter and Instagram accounts.
2017 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON BASKETBALL IRELAND TOUR SCHEDULE
Sunday, August 6 – Travel from Charleston International Airport (CHS) to Dublin Airport (DUB)
Tuesday, August 8 – Game 1: CofC vs. Neptune Basketball Club
Friday, August 11 – Game 2: CofC vs. Moycullen Basketball Club
Saturday, August 12 – Game 3: CofC vs. Irish National Basketball Team