Stuart McNair

Alabama men’s basketball will play three August games in Canada

Braxton Key heads list of returning Alabama starters

What were the odds that the first chance to see Coach Avery Johnson’s 2017-18 edition of the Alabama men’s basketball team would come in Montreal in August?
The 2017-18 Alabama men’s basketball team will go on an eight-day trip to Canada in August, which will feature three games against Canadian universities. The Crimson Tide will depart Aug. 4 and return Aug. 11, and will make stops in Montreal and Ottawa.
Per NCAA rules regarding a foreign tour, Alabama will hold 10 days of practices prior to departing Tuscaloosa. The Tide’s trip will begin on Aug. 4 when it departs Tuscaloosa for Atlanta. After spending a night there, Alabama will fly to Montreal on the morning of Aug. 5, where it will spend two days. Following its stay in Montreal, the Tide will travel to Ottawa on Aug. 7 where it will stay for the next three days.
Alabama returns four starters (Braxton Key, Dazon Ingram, Riley Norris, and Donta Hall) and seven letterwinners from last season’s team that reached the National Invitation Tournament. The Crimson Tide will return 74 per cent of its total scoring output, 58 per cent of its rebounding, and 77 per cent of its assist totals from a year ago.
Furthermore, the heralded signing class (Collin Sexton, John Petty, Galin Smith, Alex Reese, and Herb Jones), ranked as high as No. 5 nationally, will be on full display for the first time in an Alabama uniform, as will be 6-11, 240-pound forward/center Daniel Giddens, who sat out last season after transferring to The Capstone after spending one year at Ohio State.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to take our team to Canada this August,” said Johnson. “To have an opportunity to expose our guys to different cultures and historic cities such as Montreal and Ottawa is terrific. It will also allow our team to have practices with our returning players and our new players, which will only better prepare us for next season. We would like to thank our administration, The University of Alabama Board of Trustees, and all of our tip-off clubs for their help with the backing of this trip. There is no doubt that our team will get an educational, social, and basketball experience that will last a lifetime.”
Alabama will play a total of three games against three Canadian Universities over a span of its five days in Montreal and Ottawa. The first game will be played on Aug. 7 against McGill University. The Redmen are coming off a record-setting season in which they ended with a 24-11 overall record and reached the bronze medal game in the ArcelorMittal Dofasco U SPORTS Men's Basketball championship tournament. Despite falling in that contest, McGill’s fourth-place finish was the program’s best result since a runner-up result in 1977.
On Aug. 9, the Tide will play the first of two games in Ottawa when it takes on Carleton University. Last season, the Ravens won their seventh straight USports national championship and 13th title in the last 15 years. Carleton finished the 2016-17 season with a 22-1 record but lost four seniors from last season’s squad. Hosting six NCAA teams prior to last season, Carleton finished a perfect 6-0, including a victory over eventual Missouri Valley Conference champion and NCAA Tournament participant Wichita State.
The next day, the Tide will conclude its game schedule in Canada when it takes on the University of Ottawa. The Gee-Gees are coming off a 16-3 season, finishing runners-up to Carleton in the North Division. Ottawa narrowly missed reaching the USports Final 8, marking the first time since the 2011-12 season it failed to do so.

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