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PROVO, Utah (Aug. 15, 2007) - Getting an early jump on the 2007-08 season, the BYU men's basketball team departed Wednesday for a five-game tour of France. The Cougars will face professional teams in Paris, Lyon, Cannes and Monaco during the Aug. 15-25 trip along with taking in the local sights.
"This is a really good chance for us to start developing our identity as a team," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "It's a good refresher course for the returning players that will help us later in the fall. We just want to play hard, compete and win."
Per NCAA rules, teams are allowed a foreign tour once every four years along with 10 additional practice days. BYU began practicing on Aug. 2 in preparation for the excursion. The Cougars' last trip abroad came in the summer of 2003 with a 12-day, five-game tour of Australia. BYU advanced to the NCAA Tournament the following season with a 21-9 overall record.
This will be the 11th trip to France for a BYU sports team and the third for the men's basketball team, including a 1988 jaunt to Belgium, England, France, the Netherlands and Germany and a 1994 tour through Slovenia, Italy and France. In all, this will be the ninth foreign tour for the men's basketball program.
The Cougars will see their first action on Aug. 17 against the Paris All-Stars. After spending two days sightseeing, BYU will head to Lyon, France, to take on National 2 level Lyon BBC on the 20th. The Cougars will then make a quick turnaround with a game against St. Etienne, a Pro B level squad, on the 21st.
BYU will play again on the 23rd in Cannes, France, against Golfe-Jean, another National 2 level team. The Cougars will then squeeze in one more game on the 24th against National 2 AS Monaco in Monaco, France, before heading home on the 25th.
All of last year's returning players are allowed to make the trip as well as sophomore forward/center Chris Miles, who played for the Cougars in 2004-05 and recently returned from a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Senior Vuk Ivanovic will not be traveling with the team due to commitments with the Serbian National team. BYU's eight newcomers are not eligible, but practice-squad player Chase Ulicny will accompany the team, making eight total Cougars traveling.
"It's just good to be together again after the spring and summer," said Rose. "Being with the team is something we all look forward to every year. We're excited to get going on the new season."
This year's Cougar team returns five lettermen and two starters from last year's Mountain West Conference Championship team in addition to Miles.
BYU Men's Basketball Foreign Tours Brazil (1950) Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico (1965) Korea, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti (1967) Italy, Yugoslavia (1979) Belgium, England, France, the Netherlands, Germany (1988) Slovenia, Italy, France (1994) England, Croatia, Italy (1999) Australia (2003) France (2007) France Roster Jonathan Tavernari, So., G/F Trent Plaisted, Jr., F/C Lee Cummard, Jr., G Gavin MacGregor, Jr., F/C Chris Miles, So., F/C Sam Burgess, Sr., G Ben Murdock, Sr., G Chase Ulicny, Sr., G