Although they will play a number of professional teams in cities like Barcelona, Rome and Paris, they will have to do it without veteran starters Phil Greene IV, out with a torn left hip labrum; Felix Balamou, who is dealing with a sprained left ankle; and freshman Rysheed Jordan, recently out with back spasms.
Jordan, a Philadelphia native and only newcomer to the team this season, put up 24.8 points per game at Robert Vaux High School and was awarded the five-star recruit as the highest-rated prospect in the new Big East.
“It’s been a good preseason for me, but I’m a little banged up right now,” Jordan said. “Obviously I want to be able to play, but as coach and staff told me, it’s my job to get healthy right now and ready for our season.”
The NCAA allows teams to take an international trip every four years with 10 practices prior to departure. The Red Storm took their last international trip in 2009 when they traveled to Canada for four days.
During one of the final practices last Friday, Coach Steve Lavin said his boys have managed to get a lot done.
“It’s been very productive, but the only frustrating part has been the injuries because we’re banged up,” Lavin said. “In addition to Felix and Rasheed and Phil Greene, there is also Max Hooper coming back from an ankle injury and Jamal (Branch) coming back yesterday as well.”
Lavin said he is confident the trip will provide a good platform for the team to condition and prepare.
“In spite of the rash or outbreak of injuries, it’s been a positive week-and-a-half just getting a jumpstart on our season and giving us the ability to evaluate the kids,” Lavin added. “This gives us valuable feedback and an early report card before we get back.”
The team is returning 14 players with one newcomer. Other top returning players this season include junior top-scoring guard D’Angelo Harrison, sophomore forward and Big East Rookie of the Year JaKarr Sampson, and the 6'9” sophomore center and 2013 NCAA blocked shots leader Chris Obekpa.