Blue Raiders counting down to Canada

Men's basketball to play four games in Calgary

July 4, 2011 · Athletic Communications
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Blue Raider men's basketball team is getting an early start on preparations for the 2011-12 season with a trip to Canada Aug. 15-19. Middle Tennessee will squeeze in 10 practice sessions prior to departing and four games during the stint in Calgary, Alberta.

"I really think it's a great opportunity for our team to take a foreign trip to Canada," head coach Kermit Davis said. "The hope is that it will jumpstart the team to play better early in the season, especially against a difficult non-conference schedule.

"Obviously, it will be good for our returning players, particularly for LaRon Dendy and Torin Walker after sitting out last season. It also will give our five newcomers a chance to get acclimated to the pace of practice, speed of game day and playing with their teammates."

Junior forward J.T. Sulton also recognizes the importance of this trip in preparing the team for the 2011-12 season.

"It'll be a good opportunity for us to play teams abroad because I know some of my teammates have never had the chance to go to Canada," Sulton said. "This will help our team get organized, find our faults and figure out our strengths and weaknesses. We've been in the weight room this summer without the coaches around, so now they'll get a chance to see how hard we've worked. We lost a good leader in James Washington, so this also will give the coaches a chance to figure out who's going to step up into that leadership role."

The Blue Raiders will hold their first of 10 practice sessions on July 27 with the final session on Aug. 14. The team opens the trip against the University of Calgary on Aug. 16 followed by the University of Alberta on Aug. 17. MT wraps up the trip with a pair of contests on Aug. 18 against Mount Royal University and the University of Alberta.

"Calgary is a wonderful city and it will be a great learning experience for our players that have never been to that part of North America," Davis said. "It gives us a chance to travel as a team, but with minimal cost and time away from home."

Stay tuned to GoBlueRaiders.com throughout the trip for blogs and photos documenting the team's experiences in Calgary.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.