Auburn takes part in inaugural “Birthright for College Basketball” Tour
Auburn men’s basketball will be the first Power 5 conference school to take a preseason foreign trip to Israel as part of the inaugural “Birthright for College Basketball” Tour from July 31 to Aug. 10.
The reigning SEC regular-season champion Tigers will compete in three games against Israel’s top teams over the course of the 10-day trip.
In front of traveling and local fans, Auburn will play the Israel U-20 National Team on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at Malha Arena in Jerusalem and back-to-back games against the Israel All-Star Select Team on Sunday, Aug. 7, and Israel National Team on Monday, Aug. 8, at Sport Palace Tel Aviv Yafo in Tel Aviv. The Tigers will play four quarters in each contest using FIBA rules.
All games will be televised live at 1 p.m. (ET) / Noon (CT) on SEC Network. ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas will call the action live alongside play-by-play announcer Roxy Bernstein.
“Grateful to Auburn University and the NCAA for allowing us to take these foreign trips every four years,” said head coach Bruce Pearl. “This experience both academically, historically and religiously, will have a forever effect on our student-athletes. As a Jewish-American college basketball coach, I am honored and blessed to share this experience with our Auburn Basketball Family. Birthright for College Basketball in Israel will become one of the most sought after and impactful foreign trips in the future.”
Auburn is just the second school to have its foreign tour aired on SEC Network next to Kentucky (2014 and 2018). Kansas and several other Division I schools have had its foreign tours streamed online.
Previously the only three known NCAA Division I, II or III schools to travel to the Holy Land for a preseason foreign tour –– UConn Men’s Basketball in 1998, Toledo Women’s Basketball in 2011 and Wheaton (Ill.) College Men’s Basketball in 2016. UConn would go on to win its first national championship title in men’s basketball following their foreign tour to Israel in 1998-99.
The NCAA allows teams to make an international trip every four years. The Tigers previously traveled to Italy in the summer of 2017. They return 11 letterwinners including three of last year’s starters in senior Allen Flanigan (6.3 ppg), graduate senior Zep Jasper (5.1 ppg) and junior K.D. Johnson (12.3 ppg).
Four newcomers will travel and participate in their first games in an Auburn uniform – sophomore transfer Johni Broome, freshman Tre Donaldson, freshman Chance Westry and freshman Yohan Traore.
Off the court, Auburn will visit Bethlehem, Yad Vashem ¬¬–– the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, City of David, the Dead Sea, the Old City and the Sea of Galilee.
The Tigers’ travel and international competition have been a collaboration between Pearl, Complete Sports Management, the Israeli Basketball Association and Athletes for Israel. All parties hope this is the start of annual preseason foreign tours to Israel for Division I men’s basketball programs.
“We believe this trip will be the start of a longstanding relationship with college basketball and Israel,” said Lea Miller-Tooley, CEO of Complete Sports Management. “Coach Pearl’s vision coupled with SEC Network’s coverage will make for an unprecedented trip. Complete Sports Management is proud to be part of history in the making.”
AUBURN MEN’S BASKETBALL ISRAEL 2022 SCHEDULE
Aug. 2 – Auburn vs. Israel U-20 National Team | Malha Arena | Jerusalem, Israel
Aug. 7 – Auburn vs. Israel All-Star Select Team | Sport Palace Tel Aviv Yafo | Tel Aviv, Israel
Aug. 8 – Auburn vs. Israel National Team | Sport Palace Tel Aviv Yafo | Tel Aviv, Israel
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