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International trip still on summer calendar for CU Buffs men’s basketball

Buffs tentatively planning exhibition trip to Costa Rica or Canada

BOULDER, CO - Dec. 16, 2020: ...
BOULDER, CO – December 16, 2020: Colorado head coach, Tad Boyle, during the Nebraska-Omaha game. The Colorado Buffaloes played the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in Boulder on December 16, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Barring complications, of which certainly there could be many between April and August, the Colorado men’s basketball team finally will get a welcome reprieve from quarantine life.

Not only are the Buffaloes planning to roam off campus, but if all goes well the Buffs are expecting to get out of the country on a business trip.

CU head coach Tad Boyle confirmed to BuffZone his program is expecting to take an exhibition tour abroad in August. Boyle said the Buffs are planning to travel to either Costa Rica or Canada for four exhibition games.

The NCAA allows basketball programs to take international exhibition trip every four years, but the Buffs’ eligibility for an international trip this summer was in doubt due to coronavirus restrictions. Yet Boyle said the Buffs are proceeding as if they will have a competitive August.

Boyle said he hopes to have the destination and itinerary set by June 1.

“We’re planning on it,” Boyle said. “We’re down to the two possible locations. A lot of it will depend on where are with COVID and all the travel restrictions. There’s all kinds of things that need to happen between now and August that hopefully will happen. But we’re planning on it and moving forward with it.”

Two weeks ago, athletic director Rick George said COVID-19 vaccinations would not be required of CU athletes but would be encouraged. Asked if an international trip will mean his team and traveling party will have to be vaccinated, Boyle said he wasn’t certain.

“I don’t know the answer to that yet,” Boyle said. “There’s all kinds of unknowns in terms of what is going to be required versus recommended, and what are the restrictions going be. Those are the things we’re going to have to work through between now and August. My guess would be if vaccinations are not required then testing will be required, but I don’t know that. We’ll navigate those waters as we go.”

Assuming the trip unfolds as planned, it will be a timely venture for a Buffs team bracing for a youthful overhaul of its roster. The last time the Buffs took a summer trip overseas, a four-game trip in Italy in 2017, CU had just welcomed to campus a highly-touted recruiting class that included Tyler Bey, McKinley Wright IV, D’Shawn Schwartz, and Evan Battey (Battey traveled to Italy but couldn’t compete due to the same NCAA eligibility matter that forced him to redshirt during the 2017-18 season).

The same will be the case this year. CU is set two welcome a 2021 recruiting class slotted at 15th in the latest national rankings by The extra workouts also could be a boon to youngsters expecting to play larger roles next season, like Keeshawn Barthelemy, Jabari Walker, Tristan da Silva, Nique Clifford, and Luke O’Brien. In addition to the four games, teams traveling overseas are allowed 10 additional summer practices ahead of the trip, giving an opportunity for those young players to get a competitive head-start on the 2021-22 season.

“This is a major, major offseason for our coaching staff in the gym with these guys, given the restrictions we’ve had, and with (strength coach) Steve Englehart in the weight room,” Boyle said. “That’s why we’re taking a foreign trip this year. We’ll get 10 practices in this summer and we’ll get four games in August, and that’s going to be much-needed.”

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