GREESNBORO, N.C. – The UNCG men's basketball team, fresh off its Southern Conference regular season championship and appearance in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), will take part in a foreign tour in August as the Spartans will travel to Spain for nine days.
The Spartans will travel to Madrid on arrival into Spain before making their way south to their primary base for the trip, Malaga, the hometown of junior guard Francis Alonso (Malaga, Spain/Cushing Academy). UNCG will play one game in Malaga, while also playing games during trips to the cities of Grenada and Sevilla in the Andalusia region.
"This trip is a great opportunity for our program to grow,” head coach Wes Miller said. “In terms of basketball, we'll get 10 extra practices this summer along with 3 games while we're on the trip. This will be beneficial to us as returning players step into new roles and incoming players join our team for the first time.”
The Spartans will get 10 practices to prepare for the foreign tour, which will take place August 5-13. Game dates, opponents and a full itinerary are still being finalized. All returning student-athletes and incoming student-athletes that have completed at least three summer credits will be eligible to play in the foreign tour.
“Beyond basketball, it will be a special and unique experience for everyone,” Miller said. “We'll spend some time in each city touring around and learning about the history and culture of the places we visit. It's also a unique opportunity for our team to get to know each other better on a personal level. Point blank, this will be great trip and we're thankful to our Athletic Director, Kim Record for providing this opportunity!”
The Spartans return 13 members from last year's record-setting team that won the Southern Conference regular season championship. UNCG posted a program-record 25-10 overall record last year and a 14-4 SoCon mark as it advanced to the postseason for the second-straight year and fifth time overall with its appearance in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
Alonso returns for his third year after earning All-Southern Conference honors last season. He led the team in scoring with 14.9 points per game and set the UNCG single-season record with 102 made 3-pointers. Senior forward Marvin Smith (Richmond, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) returns after starting 34 games last year, averaging 9.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Senior forward Jordy Kuiper (Groningen, Netherlands/Canaries Basketball Academy) is back for his final season after starting 24 games last year. Kuiper averaging 5.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 53.1 percent (78-of-147) from the field. Sophomore forward James Dickey (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) earned SoCon All-Freshman Team honors last season after averaging 6.3 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game.
Junior guard Demetrius Troy (Raleigh, N.C./Word of God) returns after playing in 34 games last year, averaging 6.9 points and dishing out 117 assists. Sophomores Malik Massey (Charlotte, N.C./New Hampton) and Kyrin Galloway (Milton, Ga./Milton) are back for their second years with the program after playing 35 and 29 games, respectively. Seniors Justin Jordan (Davidson, N.C./Milwaukee) and Garrett Collins (Asheville, N.C./Fishburne Military Academy) round out the senior class for the Spartans on the trip.
The foreign trip will also allow for redshirt freshman Kylia Sykes (Washington, D.C./St. John's College) to make his first appearances in a Spartan uniform. Freshmen Isaiah Miller (Covington, Ga./Newton) and Kaleb Hunter (Raleigh, N.C./Neuse Catholic), along with junior transfer Eric Hamilton (Atlanta, Ga./Wichita State), will also be making their first appearances on the court by taking part in practices.
The NCAA allows teams to take a foreign trip every four years as this year's trip will mark the third time in program history UNCG has taken part and the first since going to Spain in 2013. Prior to the 2007-08 season, the Spartans spent time in Italy on a foreign tour.
Follow the official website, www.uncgspartans.com, throughout the summer for updates leading up to the Spain trip and for information throughout the nine-day trip. Additionally, follow on Twitter @UNCGBasketball and @UNCGsports.
-- UNCG --