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Overseas trip for Rutgers men’s basketball comes at a perfect time



Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

On Monday, Rutgers men’s basketball officially announced its trip to Senegal and Portugal later this summer. From August 8 through August 19, the program will visit Dakar, Senegal, Algarve, Portugal, and Lisbon, Portugal.

Rutgers last went on an international trip to Spain in 2019. It was one of several catalysts that helped the team achieve breakout 20 win campaign in the 2019-2020 season.

In visiting West Africa, Rutgers becomes one of just a few college basketball programs to ever visit the region.

“We are excited to give our student-athletes this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “This foreign tour will give our team the opportunity to prepare for the challenge of the upcoming season against great international competition, as well as proving an unbelievable cultural experience of three great cities.”

The press release highlights some of the tours and activities the program will take part in aside from playing several exhibition games.

“The program will also get the opportunity to take in the cultural experience of each of the three cities. From Aug. 9-13th the team will stay in Dakar, Senegal. Plans include a city tour, and visits to Goree Island, Bandia Safari Wildlife Park, and Pink Lake.”

“In Algarve, Portugal from August 13-16th, the team will be taking part in local sightseeing, including a catamaran and kayak tour of the beach town.”

“From August 16-19th the Scarlet Knights will be in Lisbon, Portugal. Sightseeing in Lisbon will include a Belem Bike Tour with a Belem Tower entry as well as a tour of the Palacio Nacional.”

Last month, Pikiell spoke about the benefit of the experience for the student-athletes on his podcast.

“Getting a chance to touring some of the most historic places in the world.  A great learning experience. A great basketball experience. It’s great team bonding.”

From a basketball standpoint, this trip provides a lot of opportunities for the players and the coaches to get a jump start on next season.

“We’re going to practice ten times before we leave,” Pikiell said on his May podcast. “We’re going to play four or five high level games. For our players, just a great trip,” Pikiell said.

As great as a trip it is for the program on many levels, the basketball experience they get is invaluable in preparing for next season. Pikiell explained the benefits and his approach.

“Try some different lineups. Get a real chance to see the improvement of our veteran guys who have returned. Our young guys (too),” Pikiell said. “Great practice opportunities before the season starts. Gives us a little snapshot going into the season. I like (that) the most, trying to figure your team out a little bit in August.”

With Rutgers needing to replace three starters entering next season, this trip comes at the perfect time for the program. It’s an opportunity to acclimate the newcomers to the program: Noah Fernandes, Gavin Griffiths, Jamichael Davis, Emmanuel Ogbole.

With three open scholarships for next season, Rutgers is expected to add one to two more players to the roster. Ideally, additional players for next season will be part of the trip as well.

In addition, the NIL opportunities on the trip for international players like Cliff Omoruyi are extremely important as well

As programs are only allowed to take an overseas trip once every four years, Rutgers couldn’t have asked for better timing. Hopefully, the extra practice time, exhibitions and life experiences will help kickstart this team’s journey towards a successful season.

Editor’s note: The program will put out plenty of content during its trip and I’ll cover as much of the exhibitions as I can including box scores, any highlights or footage available and more. 

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  1. BataliBoli98

    June 19, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    Aaron, I’ve heard you say on a few occasions that you don’t expect RU to use all three remaining scholarships and I wonder why they wouldn’t. Mag will almost certainly start the season on the injury list so they will be without at least one player and, who knows, maybe others (you can’t rule out a preseason injury like with McConnell last year.) Also, there are guys who are completely unproven. What if Chol is just an end of the bench player? Maybe the leap for Ogbole is too much this season and he is only used when Cliff gets into major foul trouble. Giving the scholarship to a walk-on is a nice story, but adds zero value. So, I sort of understand the logic in a typical season but with Mag already out it seems to me that they need guys who can contribute in some way.

    • Aaron Breitman

      June 20, 2023 at 2:38 pm

      I don’t disagree with you. But Pikiell has stuck with a philosophy of leaving that last scholarship open and I expect him to do the same this time as well.

  2. RUinChiTown

    June 20, 2023 at 12:58 pm


    For your week’s end sports summary, all NIL:

    1. Do we know how much money has been raised by Geo’s Knight Society?

    2. Are KS funds only for mbb?

    3. Do we know how much income (in total) has been raised by the Rutgers’ Edge?

    4. Are there other, less well known, NIL initiatives?



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