The George Washington Colonials announced Tuesday they'll take a preseason trip to Italy from Aug. 15-26, 2012 "to serve as ambassadors of the sport of basketball and to play five games against Italian professional competition." The 12-day trip features stops in Rome, Florence, Siena, and Cernobbio.
Though the Colonials will indeed play against Italian teams during their stay in Italy, the purpose of th trip is greater than basketball. "A mission of this University is to provide an environment where knowledge is acquired for the enrichment of our students and the global society," Patrick Nero, George Washington's director of athletics and recreation, said Tuesday in a written statement, "and there is no better way to do that than to take these student-athletes on a foreign tour."
The Colonials invite fans and alumni to travel with them. Interested parties should contact Brian Hamluk (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the university's Department of Athletics and Recreation for more details.
GW becomes the latest D.C. team to travel overseas during the preseason. In Aug. 2011, the Georgetown Hoyas visited China for a 10-day trip that an ugly brawl with the Bayi Rockets marred; Mike Prada, SB Nation DC's senior editor, named the Georgetown/Bayi brawl the No. 10 story in D.C. sports from 2011.
The George Mason Patriots visited Italy in 2010 and, if this photo of Patriots players posing with gladiators outside The Colosseum is any indication, had a fantastic time. Certainly a less stressful one than the Hoyas would go on to have in China.