Memphis/Conference USA Team Heads To China Sunday
May 25, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Have basketball, will travel - to the Far East, that is.
This morning, seven players from the University of Memphis - joined by two players from UTEP and Southern Miss and one from Tulsa - began a 20-hour, plane-ride journey to China for a nine-day, three-exhibition game tour.
"This is going to be an interesting trip," said Memphis head coach John Calipari. "Basically, it's two or three different teams, one day of practice, three games in six days and the flight over is probably 20 hours. It's a neat trip, and we are playing the (Chinese) national team.
"The people over in that region of China are anxious for us to get over there, and it's going to be fun."
Joining Calipari on staff for the trip are Tiger assistant John Robic and operations staffer Rod Strickland. UTEP head coach Tony Barbee and Tulsa head coach Doug Wojcik are also assisting Calipari on the trip. Memphis athletic trainer Chris Simmons accompanied the team on the trip.
The squad's first game is scheduled for May 28 at 7:30 pm local time (6:30 a.m. Memphis time; 13-hour difference). The second game is May 30 at 7:30 p.m. local time (6:30 a.m. CT), while the final contest is the same time on June 1.
After the exhibition games, the team returns to the United States, while Calipari and his Memphis staff stay another week in China to conduct basketball clinics.
The games are a part of the Memphis initiative with the Chinese Basketball Association for the next five years. The agreement started in the fall of 2007 when Calipari invited a group of 15 Chinese coaches to observe preseason practices at the Larry O. Finch Center on the University of Memphis campus. One coach - Cui Wanjun - remained with the Tigers throughout the entire 2007-08 campaign.
Memphis/Conference USA Team Exhibition Schedule
May 28 - 7:30 pm local (6:30 am CT)/Dongguan Tangxia (gym) in Dongguan
May 30 -- 7:30 pm local (6:30 am CT)/Yangjiang (gym) in Yangjiang
June 1 -- 7:30 pm local (6:30 am CT)/Huizhou Jiangbei (gym) in Huizhou