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USC men's hoops plans European tour

The USC men's basketball team is planning a European tour that will take them to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria in early August.

The foreign tour, which is being coordinated through Basketball Travelers, Inc. (BTI), will leave from Columbia on Aug. 6, arriving in Prague, Czech Republic. The team will then travel to Bratislava, Slovakia before finishing the tour in Vienna, Austria. The squad will return to Columbia on Aug. 14.

The team will be allowed to participate in 10 days of practice prior to departure. While in Europe, the Gamecocks will play three or four exhibition games against either local professional or club teams.

"This is a great opportunity for our staff and the players to spend time together and really get to know each other, both on and off the court," said head coach Darrin Horn. "It is not only a great opportunity for us to have additional practices and games from a purely basketball standpoint, but it is a great educational opportunity for our players to visit countries that they otherwise would most likely never see."

BTI has organized three previous trips for the University of South Carolina. They handled foreign tours for the women's basketball team in both 2001 and 2005 and a foreign tour for the men's basketball team in 2004. Additionally, they put together a tour for Coach Horn during his tenure at Western Kentucky.

"Our trip to Spain was a great experience, both in preparing us for the upcoming season and in giving our young men a unique opportunity to visit a foreign country," said Horn. "The tour was extremely well-planned and organized and exceeded my expectations. I expect the same to be true this time."