Wolverines depart next week on trip to Europe

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Michigan men’s basketball team departs next week on its summer trip to France and Greece, a spokesperson confirmed.

The Wolverines will visit Paris before traveling to Athens and Mykonos, Greece. The team will play in three exhibition games — one in each location. The program plans to withhold information on dates and opponents until after the games are played, and it doesn’t expect to offer live video or detailed box scores.

Michigan’s trip begins August 16 with their return planned for the 27th.

“I think it’s great to have a chance to go to Europe,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said Thursday. “Not only to use it as an educational trip — because in my opinion, some of the best education is in travel. You go to a place like France and Greece, you get a chance to explore and learn a lot about the culture. But then we also get an opportunity to play three games, which I feel is a wonderful opportunity for our guys to get a chance to measure what we are at this moment as a team and see what areas we can improve on as we look forward to this upcoming season.”

Howard said he expects every healthy player to earn minutes in Europe. That may include Duke transfer Joey Baker, who is recovering from hip surgery. He hasn’t taken a full load at practice yet, but there is a “slight chance” he’ll see game action. He will be evaluated day-by-day.

“Everyone will get a chance to play, and that’s the beauty of this summer,” Howard said. That includes freshman Youssef Khayatwho is joining the program “very soon,” the coach added.

Without naming the club, Howard alluded to their first opponent in France having four former NBA players. That will present a challenge for a Wolverines team that welcomes five freshmen.

“That’s why the summer is a really critical time for us,” Howard said.

The European tour adds to a list of international trips for Michigan and the first under Howard. Under John Beilein, the basketball team went to Spain ahead of the 2018-19 season; to Italy in 2014; and to Belgium in 2010.

The NCAA allows programs to take one foreign trip every four years. In addition to the cultural experience and exhibitions, these trips allow programs to hold up to 10 additional practices during the summer. Michigan has just a handful of practices left before their flight, Howard said.

This won’t be the 2022-23 team’s only journey across the pond. The Wolverines will return to Europe in December when they face Kentucky in London as part of the inaugural Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase. That event was originally scheduled for December 2020 but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. This December’s doubleheader will feature Marist vs. Maine (10:30 am ET), followed by the Wolverines and Wildcats at 6 pm GMT (1 pm ET) on December 4, 2022.

“After all that has transpired over the last few years for us, and even the world, it will be a tremendous opportunity for Michigan, Kentucky and college basketball itself to get the chance to showcase this game,” Howard said previously.

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