Hoop Vols still headed overseas

The cancellation of the Tennessee basketball teams' May exhibition tour of Australia due to the SARS scare may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

The Vol staff is currently looking into an October exhibition tour of the Caribbean that would include stops in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Although the competition level in the Caribbean may be less than ideal, the timing should be superb. Because freshman signees Major Wingate, Jordan Howell and Dane Bradshaw already will be enrolled at UT, they will be eligible to participate in the exhibition games. Had the Vols gone to Australia in May, none of the freshmen would've been eligible to participate.

Bottom line: Instead of just the returning players touring in May (six months before the 2003-04 season begins), all of the Vols' players -- including the freshmen -- will get to work together as a team just one month before the regular season begins. Given the youth of the 2003-04 Vol squad, that time together so close to the season's start has got to help.

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