Fresh off a trip to the NCAA Tournament this past spring, the Virginia men's basketball team will again hit the road.
Only this time, the Cavaliers will be visiting another country instead of another state.
The Wahoos depart Monday for a 10-day trip to Europe where they will play five games against the teams from the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
"We want to go over there and play well. Of course that's important. But it's kind of instilling some things with a lot of newer faces that will put us ahead when we start our practices come mid October," Tony Bennett said.
The Cavaliers open the trip in Amsterdam August 8 against the Netherlands B team. They will square off again the next day as well.
It's then a day off to travel to Belgium, where the Cavs will take on club team Gembo on August 11.
They conclude the trip with two games against a French All-Star team August 13th and 14th.
"I think this European trip gets a step ahead of teams that aren't taking the trip," junior Joe Harris stated. "Being able to practice and then being able to compete and get some games under your belt especially with the young group that we have."
Virginia's roster for the trip will include eight returners from last season's team and seven newcomers.
They will be facing teams with much older competitors and Bennett believes that will help toughen up the team for the season.
"When you're 25-30 (years old) you're just stronger and they know how to play," he explained. "They understand how to hold, how to grab, and that's always been the biggest adjustment when we've taken our teams over there."
Still, Virginia is choosing to view this trip as an opportunity to bond and improve the team.
"It really is cool getting this opportunity to go overseas. A lot of people don't get that and I just want to take advantage of it and just bond with my teammates and coaches and just enjoy the experience," senior guard Jontel Evans said.
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