Camels embark on South American tour

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For the second time in five seasons, Campbell University embarked on an international men’s basketball tour beginning Thursday when the Camels left for South America for an 11-day, three-game trip.

Made possible through private funding, the event began on Thursday, Aug. 8, and stretches through Monday, Aug.19. Along the way, head coach Kevin McGeehan’s team will travel to Argentina and Uruguay to compete, but also to experience a different way of life.

“We get a chance to be together,” said McGeehan. “With six new scholarship players in our program, we’ll be able to build some chemistry and continuity in our program. For some guys who have never been on an international flight, it’ll be a cool cultural experience. It’s going to be important with a new group for our guys to be able to learn on the court. Then, we’ll have a body of work to look back on and make adjustments to improve as a team and individually.”

NCAA guidelines permit the team to have 10 official practices heading into the tour. With seven newcomers, joining nine returning players, those 10 practices provide a head start to the 2019-20 campaign for the defending Big South Conference regular season champions.

In the wake of an August 2015 tour of Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland, the team reeled off three-straight post-season appearances in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

“Any time you are able to do something that’s so unique — obviously the basketball is a huge part of it — but the cultural experience is nearly as valuable. It’s incredible that we are able to provide this opportunity.”

The travel party will arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Friday and have the opportunity to tour the capital city. After a sight-seeing day on Saturday, which also includes a practice session, the Camels will visit the Recoleta neighborhood Sunday morning.

The first game in the three-contest tour is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 11 when the Camels meet the Buenos Aires Select Team.

The following morning, the Camels will depart for Tigre Town, where team-building activities will take place, including zip-lining, rock climbing and free fall.

On Tuesday, Aug. 13, the Camels will travel to the grass plains of Las Pamas, which lie south of Buenos Aires, for “Gaucho Day” — which will include horseback riding, a traditional asado barbecue lunch, gaucho music and dance.

A high-speed catamaran trip to Colonia, Uruguay is set for Wednesday, Aug. 14. A tour of the capital city of Montevideo is included on the itinerary.

The Camels will meet Uruguayan Club Trouville at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 15 before returning to Buenos Aires.

Activities on Aug. 16 include a visit to the Palermo district and attending a professional soccer match.

The final game of the trip is scheduled for Aug. 17 when the Camels will meet the Liga Nacional Select Team at 6 p.m. One last day of sightseeing is scheduled before the Camels board an overnight flight to Raleigh-Durham International Airport via Miami.

The Fighting Camels are coming off a Big South Conference regular season championship and three-straight post-season appearances, including a trip to the 2019 NIT. Campbell finished the 2018-19 campaign with a 20-13 mark and 12-4 record in the league.

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