With nine newcomers on his roster, foreign tour gives Jim Hayford an added opportunity to see his team in action
If there was a year to go on a foreign trip, this is the year to do it.
The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team will depart Sept. 6 for a week-long trip to British Columbia to play six games against Canadian universities.
NCAA Division I schools are allowed to make one preseason foreign trip every four years, including up to 10 practices and six games. Hayford must blend together six returning letterwinners with three 2011-12 redshirts and six newcomers who have not played in an Eastern uniform.
“If you look at our team, the ingredient we need the most is experience,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “This trip will help address that need.”
The team departs on Sept. 6 and plays its first game the next day in Kamloops against Thompson Rivers University. Eastern heads west after that and plays the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. on Sept. 8, the University of Victoria on Sept. 9 and the University of The Fraser Valley on Sept. 10 in Abbotsford. Eastern concludes its tour by taking on Quest University in Squamish on Sept. 11 and Trinity Western on Sept. 12 in Langley. The Eagles return to Cheney on Sept. 13, with classes at EWU beginning on Sept. 26.
The Eagles open the season Nov. 10 at Washington State, but won’t play at home until Nov. 30 when Cal State Fullerton visits. Although the Eagles officially don’t open at home until Nov. 30, they will host an exhibition game versus Concordia (Oregon) on Sunday, Nov. 4 at approximately 3:30 p.m. at Reese Court, following an exhibition game for the Eastern women’s squad.
After losing four seniors to graduation from his first Eastern team, Hayford’s 2012-13 squad will return two starters and four other returning letterwinners. His team also includes three players who redshirted last season – featuring a pair of NCAA Division I transfers – with six newcomers rounding out his squad.
Eastern finished 15-17 overall and was 8-8 in Big Sky Conference play to finish fourth, and the Eagles won their first Big Sky Conference Tournament game since 2006. Eastern improved by five victories from the year before, as the Eagles equaled their most wins since Eastern made its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004.