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Bulls Begin Practice for European tour

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Courtesy USF SID Office



Tampa, Fla. (July 27, 2006) – The University of South Florida men’s basketball team, which will embark on the program’s first-ever European tour this August, begins preparations for the trip with a practice session on Monday, July 31.

The team will workout from 6-9 p.m. Monday night in the Sun Dome.  Practice sessions will continue until the team’s departure on August 12.

“We are excited by the opportunity to get an early jump on preparations for 2006-07,” head coach Robert McCullum said.  Ã¢â‚¬Å“We really want to thank the administration, boosters and fans for the commitment that enabled us to take advantage of the opportunity.”

The USF travel party, which will include team personnel and guests, departs Tampa on Aug. 12 for a 12-day tour of Italy.  The Bulls will make stops in Rome, Florence, Venice and Como and will compete in a total of five or six games during the trip.

“This tour will help us to overcome the inexperience, lack of confidence and injuries we encountered last season,” McCullum said.  Ã¢â‚¬Å“Historically, programs have seen the foreign tours benefit the team’s regular season competitiveness on the court and we certainly hope that to be the case as well.”

Along with gaining international game experience, the players making the trip will also further their academic efforts by completing course work through the study abroad office.  Each player will receive three credits toward graduation because of the program.

Transfers Kentrell Gransberry (LSU) and Jesus Verdejo (Arizona), who enrolled at USF last year, will be able to participate in the practices, but are not allowed to make the trip.  USF’s freshman class (Solomon Bozeman, Dante Curry, Amu Saaka) is not allowed to participate in any practice or make the trip due to NCAA regulations.

The tour is believed to be the first by any program at USF and is organized by Basketball Travelers Inc.  The NCAA allows one foreign tour every four years.

“The practices, games and opportunity to bond and improve team chemistry are the specific benefits of foreign tours,” McCullum said.  Ã¢â‚¬Å“Perhaps equally important are the opportunities for our players to experience and learn first hand about other cultures.”

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Can we hang with the high school teams we'll be playing?

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