Times Staff Report
July 1, 2014
MOREHEAD - The Morehead State University men’s basketball program has finalized a preseason trip to the Bahamas, which includes three exhibition games against international competition. The Eagles are scheduled to depart the morning of Aug. 8 and return to campus the evening of Aug. 13.
Betsy Layne High School graduate Preston Spradlin joined the MSU coaching staff in June. Spradlin spent the past five seasons on the men’s basketball staff at Kentucky. His time at MSU will be spent in a variety of areas, including recruiting, scouting, practice/game preparation and academics monitoring.
Spradlin spent two seasons (2009-11) as a graduate assistant with the Wildcats before three years as the assistant director of basketball operations (2011-14). His duties included film breakdown, creating and maintaining playbooks, assisting with opponent scouting and day-to-day operations.
Morehead State is slated to face the Grand Bahamas All-Stars (Aug. 9), Real Deal Shockers (Aug. 10) and Pyramid Food Rockets (Aug. 11). All contests will be played at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium in Nassau. Opposing teams will include former NCAA Division I and II players.
“Our coaches and student-athletes are looking forward to this trip,” Head Coach Sean Woods said. “The Bahamas will be a great way to wrap up the summer and head into the fall semester. We will treat this like a business trip, but there will also be some time to relax and have fun.”
Alabama State, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, North Carolina, Northern Arizona, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Portland State and Samford will join MSU in the Bahamas for exhibition games, but NCAA rules do not allow U.S. teams to play each other at this time.
“There will be some terrific teams in the Bahamas during the month of August,” Woods said. “When you talk about Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State, you talk about programs that have been to the Final Four in recent years. It should be really enjoyable for the fans in attendance.”
Morehead State is expected to begin its summer practice schedule on July 28. Per NCAA rules, Division I programs are allowed a maximum of 10 workouts prior to leaving for foreign trips. The Eagles have not been abroad since the summer of 2007 when they visited Canada.
“This trip should really help our team chemistry,” Woods said. “I’m also glad that we get 10 practices before leaving. Most of our young men have been away from Morehead during the first summer session, so the workouts will be a good opportunity to see where we’re at as a program.”
The Bahamas is a chain of islands, southeast of Florida and northeast of Cuba in the Caribbean. Average temperatures during the month of August are 83 degrees, with highs typically climbing into the low 90s. Precipitation in the Bahamas occurs more than 50 percent of the time.
English is the official language of the Bahamas, while sloop sailing is its national sport. Currency is the Bahamian dollar, although United States dollars are widely accepted. The islands are on Eastern Time (ET) and have a population of approximately 320,000.
Morehead State is coming off a 20-win campaign for the fourth time in the past six years. The 2013-14 Eagles also earned a spot in the College Basketball Invitational, which marked their fourth postseason berth in six seasons and ninth in school history.
“The expectations are pretty high heading into the 2014-15 season,” Woods added. “We have a really good group of returning players and add several high-level transfers who will help us. We will take one day at a time, but our goal is to win an Ohio Valley Conference championship.”
The trip is being coordinated by Sport Tours International. For more information, visit SportTours.net.