Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
The Canisius men’s basketball team will head over the Peace Bridge into Canada later this month for a five-day foreign tour which will see the Golden Griffins play five Canadian schools in exhibition action, head coach Reggie Witherspoon announced Wednesday.
College basketball teams are allowed to travel internationally during the summer once every four years. The 2017 trip marks the program’s first since touring Italy in the summer of 2008.
Canisius, which posted an 18-16 record and earned a berth into the 2017 CIT in Witherspoon’s first year, will be one of the youngest teams at the Division I level this season when the schedule opens Nov. 11 at cross-town rival Buffalo. Canisius‘ current roster features two returning starters and seven letterwinners from a season ago, to go along with five newcomers, four of which are true freshmen. The Griffs will start the 114th season in program history with a total of 284 total Division I games worth of experience.
“When you have such a young team, and so many new faces, the ability to take a foreign tour is crucial in so many different facets as we build toward the start of the season in November,” Witherspoon said. “With the current NCAA rules in place, our staff has had the ability to work with guys in different settings on the court, but taking the foreign tour allows us to get the guys together for full practice sessions, which will help everyone get a better understanding of how we do things and the pace at which we are going to work once October rolls around.”
Canisius will open its four-city tour of Ontario Aug. 19 when the Griffs play at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario. The foreign tour will wrap up Aug. 23 in Ottawa where the Blue and Gold will square off with Carleton University. Last summer, Carleton went 4-0 against NCAA Division I teams, highlighted by a 100-75 win over NCAA Tournament participant Wichita State. In addition to games in Kingston and Ottawa, Canisius will also play exhibition contests in Sherbrooke, Ontario and Montreal.
Canada is nothing new to the men’s basketball program, as the Griffs led the nation last season with four Canadian-born players on the roster. Additionally, assistant coach Larry Blunt spent four years coaching basketball in Canada at both the professional and prep school levels.
The Griffs are the only team in the MAAC to return multiple All-MAAC honorees from last season after senior Jermaine Crumpton earned All-MAAC Third-Team honors and sophomore guard Malik Johnson was named to theMAAC All-Rookie Team. The 2017-18 edition of the Blue and Gold will feature the return of two of the team’s top-five scorers from a year ago, with Crumpton (15.9 points per game) and sophomore Isaiah Reese (7.1 points per game) serving as two of the team’s seven returning letterwinners.
#GriffsGoNorth – Canisius Men’s Basketball Canadian Tour Schedule
Aug. 19 at Queen’s University 4 PM
Aug. 20 at Bishop’s University 2 PM
Aug. 21 at Concordia University 7 PM
Aug. 22 at University of Ottawa 7 PM
Aug. 23 at Carleton University 7 PM