CHICAGO, Illinois — Chicago State University men’s basketball is getting an early opportunity to prepare for the 2017-18 season this month as it heads out of the country next week for a five-day trip to the Bahamas where it will play three exhibition games from August 10-15.

The trip will be the second for the Cougars as they traveled to Costa Rica in the summer of 2013 before posting an 8-8 record to finish third in their first season in the Western Athletic Conference in 2013-14.

“I think we are going to have a great experience when we take the team to the Bahamas for our summer tour next month. I feel that we will see a lot of bonding (between the players) and to have a chance to battle against older players in the Caribbean,” said CSU head coach Tracy Dildy. “Our guys are going to have to accept that challenge and it should help us as a team just like it did four years ago in Costa Rica.”

The Green and White will travel to Nassau on Thursday, Aug. 10 before opening its exhibition slate at Sir Kendal Isaacs National Gymnasium against IBA Elite on Friday, Aug. 11 (6 p.m., central). CSU then takes on the NBPA All-Stars on Saturday, Aug. 12 (3 p.m., central) and the CTG Knights on Sunday, Aug. 13 (3 p.m., central) before returning to Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

NCAA basketball teams are allowed per NCAA rules to participate in an international tour over the summer once every four seasons to play in exhibition games. CSU will have 10 days of practice in preparation for the trip which began this past Tuesday at the Jacoby Dickens Center.

Seven players return for the Green and White from last season’s team which includes two returning starters in Second Team All-WAC junior guard Fred Sims, Jr. (Chicago, Ill./North Lawndale) and sophomore forward/center Patrick Szpir (Wheeling, Ill./Wheeling).

The trip also serves as the inaugural appearance in a CSU uniform for seven newcomers – redshirts Travon Bell (Chicago, Ill/Mather), Ken Odiase (Glenwood, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) and Jelani Pruitt (Gary, Ind./Merrillville), junior college transfers Anthony Harris (Gary, Ind./Griffith (Ind.)) and John Joyce (Chicago, Ill./Taft), and freshmen Cameron Bowles (Chicago, Ill./Kenwood
) and Simeon Henton (North Chicago, Ill./North Chicago).

Fans can follow the Cougars during their Bahamian trip via updates on GoCSUCougars.com and @ChicagoStateMBB on Twitter.


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