Cuba has never once hosted a college basketball program before and this summer, they will be doing so. The NCAA allows schools to make an overseas trip once every four years and Coastal Carolina will be taking theirs in August.
According to College Basketball Talk, the Chanticleers will travel to Cuba from August 6-14. During their visit, they will play the Cuban national team in three separate games. The Cuban team will use these games as preparations for the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.
The Chanticleers have made the last two NCAA Tournaments and will return four starters from last season. The team was led by guards Elijah Wilson and Shivaughn Wiggins.
“This foreign tour to Cuba is a great honor for our program as the United States begins to open its relationship with Cuba,” coach Cliff Ellis said in the release. “For us to be the first team to travel to Cuba is a testament to our success over the past several years. We will rely on NCAA tournament experiences to play competitive basketball against the Cuban’s top-notch national team.”
The relationship between the United States and Cuba have been strained ever since the Cold War, but things have gotten better in recent months. A bill was passed in February to lift the trade embargo between the two countries. Travel restrictions were also lifted and this has opened up the New York Cosmos being able to play a game against the Cuba national team and will allow the Chanticleers to travel there in August.
Things are looking up and this may just be the beginning of lots of tournaments and events being held in Cuba.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports