Matt Short/Athletes In Action Embark on Tour

XENIA, Ohio --- A combination of 12 current and former collegiate basketball players from across the United States will come together to embark on a two-week competitive tour of the Philippines as one of 11 Athletes In Action international-touring basketball teams this summer.

Among those participating on this team will be Patrick Britton (Rice), John Chappell (South Carolina), Kyle Cruze (Holy Cross), Trent Drafts (Charleston Southern), Tim Lyle (James Madison), Beau Muhlbach (Texas A&M), Luke Murphy (Cleveland State), Gabe Norwood (George Mason), Yuliyan Radionov (Bulgarian National Team), Reed Rawlings (Samford), Larry Sharrett (King), and Matt Short (Oregon). Morris Michalski, the former head coach at Bryan College, will coach the team.

The team will gather in Dayton, Ohio on June 18 for a five-day training camp before heading overseas on June 23. A dozen games are slated over a 14-day span there along with conducting basketball clinics for children. The goals of this tour are to provide a rich cross-cultural experience for each team member, serve and love all the people they meet, provide worthy competition for some of the best teams in Asia, help birth a Philippines AIA basketball touring team, bring honor to Jesus Christ through sharing God's love and truth, and prompt good spiritual movements within that part of the world.

"We fully expect the personal growth and cultural exchange to be rich and life-changing," stated Michalski. "We are looking for victories both in and beyond competition and pray that we will receive them. This will be a whirlwind experience that I believe everyone on our team will embrace with arms wide open. The tour is looking for great battles to fight, great adventures to live, and great opportunities for personal growth, making better men not just better players."

The team will play an array of teams during its two-week excursion, including major Filipino collegiate and professional squads as well as the country's national team and other high-level Asian professional teams. Many of the exhibition games will be tournament formatted and nationally televised. Most countries are using such exhibition games to tune up for the 2006 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Championships to be played in Tokyo, Japan in August. AIA has sent touring teams to the Philippines for over 20 years.

Athletes in Action is the sports branch of Campus Crusade for Christ International. Dave Hannah, who desired to capitalize on society's great love of sports and utilize the platform given to athletes to reach the world for Jesus Christ, founded AIA in 1966. AIA's outreach range includes ministry to college and professional athletes and coaches globally across a great number of sports. International competing teams partner with in-country staff and other mission organizations to resource Christian ministry around the world.

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