LINCOLN, Neb. - The Big Red heads to Europe later this summer, as the Husker basketball team will travel to Italy from Aug. 3-13.
Hoiberg coaching at practice Credit: Dan Corey
The Huskers will spend nine days in Italy, visiting Rome, Florence and Como while balancing sightseeing and basketball on the trip. Nebraska will play four games on the trip, facing Stella Azzurra Academy (Aug. 5) and Italian Select (Aug. 12), as well as two games against Silute BC, a club based out of Lithuania (Aug. 7-8).
For Nebraska Coach Fred Hoiberg, the trip has numerous benefits for the Huskers, who will be taking their first foreign trip since 2015.
“We are fortunate to have a foreign trip this year with the number of new faces we have in our program,” Hoiberg said. “It will be a valuable experience for our players because it helps to build chemistry both on and off the court. We will have a lot of team activities where they will have time to be together and learn more about each other. For our staff, the 10 practices before we leave will give us a head start on installing our system, and the chance to play four games provides an opportunity to experiment with different lineups and combinations.”
The trip begins with three days in Rome, where team will visit many of the main attractions, including Vatican City and the Colosseum before heading to Florence. While in Florence, the Huskers will visit the Accademia Gallery, which features sculptures of Michelangelo and other famous Italian artists, and other sights in the Tuscany region, including the cities of Lucca and Pisa. The trip concludes with a visit to the Ferrari Museum and three days in Como, including a boat tour of Lake Como and a guided tour of Lugano, Switzerland.
To prepare for the trip, the Huskers will begin practice the week of July 15, and will have 10 practices prior to departing for Italy. The only member of the team that won’t be at practice will be incoming freshman Yvan Ouedraogo, who will be playing with the French U-18 team this summer at the European Championships.
The Huskers will look to replace all five starters, including All-Big Ten performer James Palmer Jr. and second-round NBA draft pick Isaiah Roby, from last year’s team that reached the second round of the NIT. In all, 12 of the 13 scholarship players have not played a game at Nebraska. The only returnee who saw playing time a year ago is junior Thorir Thorbjarnarson, who played in 25 games and made seven starts. The summer trip will also mark the Husker debut of Dachon Burke, who earned all-conference honors at Robert Morris in 2017-18 by averaging 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game before sitting out last season.
Most of Hoiberg’s first recruiting class will make their debut on the Huskers’ Italian Tour. The group, which was NU’s second-highest recruiting class in the Big Ten era by 247Sports, features junior college guards Cam Mack and Jervay Green, who both were rated among the top 10 junior college players in the country by JUCOrecruiting.com, and senior grad transfers Haanif Cheatham and Matej Kavas. The incoming freshmen are led by Samari Curtis, who was Mr. Basketball in Ohio last year after averaging 34 points per game, Akol Arop, who was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Nebraska last season, and Kevin Cross, who was a two-time all-state performer in Arkansas.