Duke Basketball: Importance of Men’s, Women’s Preseason Trips Abroad

Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Duke basketball mascot (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Both Duke Basketball programs will play in exhibition games overseas this summer, and the women’s team is preparing for a trip to Italy.

The NCAA allows college basketball programs to travel internationally every four years, and this summer both Duke Basketball teams will take advantage of that opportunity. Both of trips will be very significant for each program and for Duke overall.

Duke Men’s Basketball will head to the Dominican Republic for two exhibition games against the DR national team. More information about the men’s trip and exhibition games can be found here.

The women’s basketball team recently announced the details for their preseason trip to Italy. Duke Women’s Basketball will compete in three exhibition games. In addition to sight-seeing in Rome, Florence, and Venice, they will face the Netherlands National Team, Italian league All-Star team, and the Slovenian Celje Basketball Club.

First, the main advantage of these trips is that both teams will help spread the Duke brand. The Blue Devils, especially the men’s teams, are one of the most-watched college basketball programs in the country. Women’s coach Joanne P. McCallie adds, “Representing Duke abroad is truly an honor“. These international exhibitions will help increase the popularity of the programs and the school overall.

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For the men’s team, the main benefit will be an early opportunity to integrate the young players. Coach K lost nine players from last year’s team, and will add six talented incoming freshmen. This trip will give them the chance to get used to playing together against an opponent early. Hopefully this will build the confidence for the younger players going into the season, specifically point guard Trevon Duval. Here are a few comments by Krzyzewski on why the Domincan Republic exhibitions will be important for the young players:

"“This is almost an entirely new team. No matter how much you work out or practice, you really don’t know about a team until you see it in competition. This will be an unbelievable bonding experience for our group and we’ll also get to see how they play together before we start practice at the end of September”"

Things will be different for the women’s team heading into the upcoming season. Duke Women’s Basketball will be more experienced and will have higher expectations this year after a surprising ACC championship game appearance and returning two of the top players in the country. While their trip to Italy will be key for building team chemistry adding a very talented freshman class and a graduate transfer, the Blue Devils will be looking to build momentum for the season to set the tone early in the year. The extra practice can help as they look to compete for conference and NCAA titles this year.

Next: 2017 Women's Big Ten-ACC Challenge Matchup Set

The men’s team heads to the Dominican Republic August 17-24 and the women’s team will travel to Italy August 14-23. Be sure to stay tuned for more news and updates for these preseason trips and the upcoming college basketball seasons.