Tide Basketball Team Will Play Canadian Teams in Ottawa Labor Day
TUSCALOOSA - For the first time in school history, Crimson Tide basketball will take its game to Canada. Alabama will travel to Ottawa on Labor Day weekend to play four exhibition games, all against Canadian university teams.
"This will be a great learning experience," said University of Alabama head basketball coach Mark Gottfried whose team returns four starters from its 2006-07 squad. "Having this opportunity to take the incoming freshmen and allow them to get playing experience will be a great team-builder. The opportunity to look at our older players along with the younger players together should give us a very good perspective on our team."
The NCAA allows basketball programs to go on international trips once every four years. They are allowed a total of 10 team practices within a specific time frame leading up to the trip.
Alabama will play four exhibition games within three days in Ottawa. It will play two games on Saturday, September 1 with a noon EDT game against McGill University and an 8 p.m. EDT game against the University of Ottawa. Game three will be played on Sunday, September 2 at 7 p.m. EDT against Carleton University, and Alabama plays its fourth and final game on Labor Day, Monday, September 3 at noon EDT against Queens University. The team will return to Tuscaloosa that night.
"On Saturday, with two games, we potentially may split our team into two separate groups to give each individual more playing time on that day," said Gottfried.
Alabama's last international exhibition trip was to Nassau, Bahamas in August 2003 to play games against teams from the Bahamian islands, including the Bahamian national team. The Tide won all five of those games.
All-Southeastern Conference point guard Ronald Steele, who is recovering from April 3 surgery on both knees is expected to play in Canada, however, his playing status will be determined at a later date as the team gets closer to the trip. The Birmingham native is expected to have made a full recovery from the arthroscopic procedures by the start of the season.