For the second time in four years (and in program history), the Tennessee Tech men’s basketball team will make a summer trip to the Dominican Republic. The Golden Eagles will depart on August 12th and return on the 19th, traveling to a few different locations on the island while abroad.
“The great thing about going on these trips, are the connections we make there with the community,” Tennessee Tech head coach Steve Payne said. “We’ll play very good competition, which will only help to prepare us for the upcoming season. We will also get the opportunity to give back to the community while we are down there, and that’s always important.”
From Aug. 12-14, the Tech squad will perform community work in the city of Santiago and compete with a few different professional teams from the area. For the remainder of the trip, the team will compete in La Romana.
“Most importantly, even more so than the games, will be our team-building programs and the practices we are allotted leading up to the trip,” Payne added. ” Having that extra time to work out is a huge advantage for our squad and it gives the guys even more time to really come together and get to know each other.”
NCAA rules allow teams a maximum of 10 days of practice before leaving for a foreign trip.
Play for the Golden Eagle squad will commence with a morning contest on Wednesday, Aug. 13 against the Metros de Santiago, the local professional squad. Later in the evening, Tech will face off against the U-18 Dominican Republic National Selection Team.
“This will be a good opportunity for our younger players, particularly our guards,” Payne explained. “It is a great chance for them to get some game experience at a high level of competition and really grow.”
On Thursday, the team will play another double-header, taking on the Metros for the second straight day. That contest is also set for the morning. Tech’s evening contest will pit the squad against the Puerto Plata Selection Team.
A contest against the Santo Domingo Selection Team is set for Friday and then a Sunday contest against the Caneros de La Romana will conclude the contests slated for the Golden Eagles.
“We’re really excited as a coaching staff,” Payne said, “but we’re also really excited for our guys. Everyone who went on this trip four years ago talked about how great a trip it was and how it was the trip of their lives. We’re just looking forward to going and being together as a unit.”