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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball to play exhibition games in Israel, Abu Dhabi


for as much travel as possible tommy lloyd Never in his coaching (and brief playing) career has he done anything like this with a first team of players.

That will change later this summer, as Arizona plays an exhibition game in the Middle East. Lloyd confirmed the trip in a meeting with reporters on Friday.

“I’ve never done a foreign tour, so I’m excited about it,” he said. “As you all know, I love to travel and visit different places.”

Details are still being worked out but Lloyd believes his side will play at least three games between Israel and the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi. The trip is expected to take place in August and wrap up in time for the start of UA’s fall semester on August 21st.

It will be Arizona’s first exhibition game abroad since 2017, when it traveled to Spain and won two games before the third was canceled due to the terrorist attack in Barcelona. UA has also visited the Bahamas (2012), Canada (2006), Australia (1993, 1997 and 2002) and throughout Europe (1985 and 1989).

“I think the competition is going to be tough,” Lloyd said. “I don’t think you’re going to see us play against a bunch of all-star makeshift teams. We’ll be playing real teams and real games on real venues. I think that’s going to be very valuable to us.”

Arizona added seven new players for the 2023-24 season, some of whom have yet to join the team. Lloyd said the whole squad will get together in late July when they will have the opportunity to train ahead of the trip to the Middle East, but he lowered expectations for the exhibition game.

“We’re not going to try to keep the game in perfect shape and try to polish it perfectly when he’s traveling overseas,” he said. “We’re going to go out there and play a lot of guys and get some experience. We’re going to learn from the good and from the bad.”

While the trip will give Lloyd and his staff an early look at the new team they’ve assembled, it’s not what he’s most looking forward to about the trip.

“What I’m looking forward to is the life experience of our players,” he said. “I haven’t been to Abu Dhabi yet. It’s a very unique place and I think for our players, going there and getting that experience will be more memorable than the game for the rest of their lives. I still think the university needs to focus These things. You show men, young people what travel is, and maybe they get a little screwed up. I think the more people travel, the better, more well-rounded people they become and the more perspectives they see . If I can pass that on to my players, I’d be happy to do so.”

In Lloyd’s more than 20 years on the coaching staff, Gonzaga has never traveled abroad.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Spokane, but it’s really nice in the summer … and not in the winter, so you might want to stay close to home when the weather is good,” Lloyd said. “Here, a trip or two out of town in the summer might not be a bad idea.”

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