Kentucky men's basketball team will play six exhibition games -- including matchups with international teams from the Dominican Republic, France and Puerto Rico -- during the "Big Blue Bahamas" tour in mid-August.
UK will play the Dominican Republic national team, the Puerto Rico national team reserves and French first-division club team Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket, twice each over an eight-day span at Nassau’s 2,500-seat Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, recently renovated in the spring of 2014.
The Dominican Republic team will use the games against Kentucky as a tune-up for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, which begins in late August. The Dominican Republic is No. 26 in the current FIBA World Rankings.
NCAA rules allow for a foreign tour by an intercollegiate team once every four academic years. Kentucky’s Big Blue Bahamas tour is a joint venture between Complete Sports Management and the Bahamas Basketball Federation.
“We are thrilled to bring together top basketball teams from all over the world and showcase it at such a beautiful setting,” said Lea Miller, who is the president of Complete Sports Management. “It is always a pleasure working with the Bahamas Basketball Federation, and we are very appreciative of their support. The University of Kentucky is truly one of the most dominant programs in college basketball, and it will be fun to watch them compete on this global stage against teams from the Dominican Republic, France and Puerto Rico."
The Wildcats, who finished as the 2014 NCAA tournament runner-up with a season record of 29-11, will open the tour on Sunday, August 10 against the Puerto Rico reserves at 5 pm ET. The next day, UK will face Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket at 1 pm ET. On Tuesday, August 12, Kentucky will play the Puerto Rico reserves for the second time at 1 pm ET.
After a day off on Wednesday, Kentucky will face the Dominican Republic on Thursday, August 14 at 5 pm ET. The second game against Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket will be played either August 15 or 16 (date to be determined) at 1 pm ET. Kentucky will finish the tour on Sunday, August 17 against the Dominican Republic at Noon ET.
"We are excited to make the trip to the Bahamas for our foreign tour,” said UK head coach John Calipari, who will begin his sixth season as the Wildcats’ head coach. “Working with Lea and Mason Miller has been a pleasure. My goal is for our team to grow together, to learn about one another, to have fun and to compete against teams that will stretch us out. These teams should be a challenge that will let us really see where we are at this point. But again, learning and having fun will be the emphasis of the trip. It's another opportunity for us to fail fast.”
Said Vice President Mario Bowleg of the Bahamas Basketball Federation, “The Bahamas Basketball Federation is delighted to have a team such as Kentucky embrace our shores. We know that Kentucky will bring a high level of basketball performance with lots of excitement for our Bahamian basketball fans to experience. We take this opportunity to thank Ms. Lea Miller and her team, whom have worked closely with the Federation, to bring such an elite group to our shores, not just to play basketball but to bond as a unit and experience paradise all at the same time.”
Complete Sports Management, by the way, also organizes the Battle 4 Atlantis at Paradise Island, which has become a very successful pre-season college basketball tournament. Also, Complete Sports Management will bring the Bahamas’ first college football FBS postseason bowl game, the inaugural Bahamas Bowl on December 24.
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Fan travel packages for Kentucky’s Big Blue Bahamas tour will be available. For more information, visit ukfantravel.com. To book travel packages, please call 1-855-UKBBALL (1-855-852-2255). Only those who book through the Big Blue Bahamas tour travel company will have access to tickets.
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KENTUCKY BIG BLUE TOUR SCHEDULE
(all games at Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium)
Sunday, August 10 Puerto Rico Reserve Team................. 5 pm ET
Monday, August 11 Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket.......... 1 pm ET
Tuesday, August 12 Puerto Rico Reserve Team................. 1 pm ET
Wednesday, August 13 OFF DAY
Thursday, August 14 Dominican Republic National Team...... 5 pm ET
Friday, August 15 OR Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket........ 1 pm ET
Saturday, August 16
Sunday, August 17 Dominican Republic National Team...... Noon ET