NASHVILLE – Coming off an ASUN Conference championship and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, the Lipscomb men’s basketball team looks to get a step ahead leading into the 2018-19 season with a bonding experience of a lifetime.
The Bisons jump on a plane Tuesday morning to embark on a unique 10-day tour of Italy. Not only will the squad have some unforgettable eats and visit a number of world-renowned landmarks, but it will also take to hardwoods across the country for three games against professional Italian and Lithuanian clubs.
“This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many and I want our players to soak in the experience,” Casey Alexander, the 2018 Skip Prosser Man of the Year, said. “It’s a great opportunity for personal growth in a culture that is different than anything we know. To be able to go and play in places you’ve never been before is a special opportunity.”
This will mark the first trip overseas for the program in Alexander’s tenure.
The journey will first take the Bisons to Italy’s capital city of Rome where they will arrive Wednesday morning. Over the next two days they will tour Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel and the Roman Colosseum before suiting up for the first time on Friday, August 10 for a game against Stella Azzura (11:30 a.m. CT) out of Italy’s third division, Serie B.
A notable alum of Stella Azzura is Andrea Bargnani, the first overall selection of the 2006 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors.
“We are taking this trip to enhance our team’s educational experience at Lipscomb. The basketball part of it – the practices, games and time together – will also prove beneficial for our team.”
Saturday morning the Bisons are scheduled to depart by bus to the Tuscany region of Florence with a stop on the way in Siena to visit a local farm and tour the city. Sunday’s itinerary will offer the team a walking tour of the city, including a stop at the Accademia Gallery for a viewing of Michelangelo’s David.
On Monday, August 13 the team will tour the city of Lucca by bike in the morning and then play Italian Select (1:30 p.m. CT) in their second game of the trip that evening.
The last leg of the journey will see Alexander and company make their way to the northern part of the country for Milan on Tuesday, August 14 with a scheduled pit stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The group will tour the Duomo, also known as the Cathedral of Milan, before entering the Santa Maria delle Grazie to view Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece - The Last Supper.
Later Wednesday night, the team will play its final game of the trip against Lithuanian LCC International (11:30 a.m. CT).
The Bisons will get to enjoy their last day in Italy with a boat tour of scenic Lake Como. Included in the day on the water is a stop for lunch in the village of Bellagio. They will head for the airport on Friday, August 17 and spend nearly 12 hours in the air before arriving back in Nashville that evening.
For the Purple and Gold, who welcome three new faces to the roster this season, the extended bonding time is a welcomed opportunity.
“This is a great chance for our players and coaching staff to get some extra practices in and a feel for each other before school and the season starts,” Alexander said. “This trip will give us a chance to bond and play together, but most of all, it’s going to be a lot of fun spending time out of the country with our guys. I expect there to be some lifelong memories for all.”
Fans can follow along with the team’s journey through LipscombSports.com where a blog from team will be posted daily, or keep up with their movements through social media on Twitter (@LipscombMBB) and Instagram (@LipscombMBB).