Pioneer men’s hoops are headed to Spain.
Coach Rodney Billups is rewarding his squad with a 4-game, 10-day trip to Madrid and Barcelona. The team departs this Friday, August 25th and returns September 4th. The trip came together quickly said Dwight Thorne, Director of Basketball Operations for Denver.
The NCAA allows team travel oversees once every four years. The last Pioneers international trip was under former head coach Joe Scott in 2010 when DU traveled to Spain to face six professional teams during a 13-day trip.
This year’s team will be playing two games in Barcelona and two games in Madrid with a 3-day break to relax in San Sabastian. In Barcelona, the Pioneers will be playing Europa Basketball Academy – Spain’s top basketball school. In Madrid, the Pioneers will be facing Real Conoe, a second division team and a top league team to-be-determined.
The team has also scheduled tourist activities on top of practices, meals, and free time to allow the team some time together to build the strongest of bonds. This trip will be especially useful for DU freshmen Donoven Carlisle, Elijah Blake and Elvin Rodriguez as they get to better know their teammates and the Denver Pioneer culture.
There will be a contingent of 32 players, coaches, staff, and support on the trip. Thirteen scholarship athletes and two walk-ons comprise the on-court contingent. A travel company, Temposs Sports, is coordinating the trip for DU and Thorne is managing the trip details for Denver.
Expect to see live reports from Spain on social media and DU basketball twitter (@DU_MHOOPS).
In other news, the 2017-18 schedule is not finalized yet, especially with the untimely exit of IUPUI from the Summit League. However, Denver may soon pick up another high-profile Pac-12 program in addition to the CU Buffaloes. DU is also likely to fill in an opening or two with some Division II programs – not all that unusual as mid-majors often face non-D1 foes in nonconference tilts.