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Basketball: Irish to practice in Barbados over fall break

Andrew Soukup | Friday, October 17, 2003

Some students are going home for fall break. Others are heading to Boston for the Irish-Eagles football game next Saturday.

The Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team is heading to Barbados.

“We thought this would be a good thing to do,” Irish coach Mike Brey said of the foreign trip. “They’re good workers, but I see a little bit more bounce in their step knowing they’re going to Barbados.”

NCAA regulations stipulate that a team may take a foreign tour once every four years and practice up to 10 extra times before the traditional start of practice to prepare for that tour. And normally, most basketball teams take their trip in the summer.

But unlike many schools, the Irish have a week-long fall break. So Brey decided to take the team’s foreign tour then so the freshmen could participate. Had the Irish left for Barbados in the summer, freshmen Colin Falls, Omari Israel and Russell Carter couldn’t have come along because they weren’t technically college students yet.

The Irish leave for Barbados Saturday morning and return a week later. While in the tiny Caribbean island nation, the team will play three games and practice at least once a day. The final full day the squad is in Barbados, next Friday, will be basketball-free. Instead, the Irish will take a day-long cruise.

“Great weather alone, it’s going to be a great time,” Jordan Cornette said. “I think it will be good for this team, because I think it will be a great advantage. We get to go down there and see what the young guys can do. We can get a feel for our lineup before we even actually get into exhibition play.”

Brey has said he’ll use the foreign tour to tinker to help the younger members of the Irish gain valuable experience. He also wants to experiment with unique lineups to try to find combinations that work well together even before the Irish play their first exhibition game.

“There’s not a lot riding on it, so to speak,” Brey said. “You can’t experiment against [Notre Dame’s first opponent] Northern Illinois. Hopefully, that gives us a head

start.”

For the Irish, who have been scrimmaging against each other non-stop in their 10 practices since the team began working out Sept. 4, the Barbados tour offers them an opportunity to play against other opponents in game-like conditions.

“Every time we go out there, it’s a game-like intensity in practice. I expect

the same out of these scrimmages,” Cornette said. “I think it will be more of a game-type

preparation having the scoreboard and having the refs out there.”

In Barbados, the Irish will play the Barbados national team as well as a team from London. A reporter from ESPN planned to follow the Irish around during their week-long trip to provide a behind-the-scenes look at preseason basketball preparation.

The only Notre Dame player not making the trip is transfer Dennis Latimore who, because he is sitting out this season per NCAA regulations, cannot begin practicing with the team until later this month.

“I like the fact that we get to go to one place and stay there,” Brey said. “It’s going to be a retreat atmosphere.”