BYU Basketball Will Have Foreign Tour Before First Big 12 Season

May 16, 2023, 3:19 PM

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball is going overseas this off-season. They will take a foreign tour this August in Italy and Croatia. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported the exact dates from August 18-27.

It will be the second foreign tour for BYU basketball since Mark Pope became the head coach. The last time the Cougars had a trip overseas was in the summer of 2019, months before Pope’s first season as head coach. That year BYU also had a trip to Italy.

Pope would probably love nothing more than to have similar results this season as the one that also included a foreign trip. In the 2019-20 season, BYU soared up the Top 25 rankings and produced the number one three-point shooting team in the land. They were slated to be a single-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament before COVID wiped away the tournament.

Some of the valuable aspects of a foreign trip are the opportunity to play games and hold full practices. Once August hits, BYU will have the chance to practice two to three hours daily to prepare for their travels overseas.

It’s an excellent opportunity for a team looking to create chemistry with transfer portal newcomers Aly Khalifa, Ques Glover, and Dawson Baker.

Trevin Knell sees the foreign tour as a chance to build chemistry

BYU guard/forward Trevin Knell is the lone carryover from that foreign trip four years ago. He spoke with KSL Sports’ Cougar Sports Saturday over the weekend and discussed the upcoming tour of Italy and Croatia.

“I think this foreign trip and just getting ready for it will bring us a little bit different aspect to the team,” Knell said to KSL Sports. “In terms of chemistry and being with the guys every single day.”

BYU basketball is preparing for life in the Big 12

The chance to create chemistry will be valuable for a BYU team about to enter America’s toughest league, the Big 12. Pope, who is entering his fifth year as BYU’s headman, has even referred to it as “climbing Mount Everest.” With the Big 12 looming, the summer tour becomes even more valuable.

Knell sees this summer trip as an opportunity to lay the foundation for a turnaround.

“We’re hungry. We’re a young team, but we’re going to be more experienced because we have a whole year under our belt playing together. Just all of these components combined, I think we’re really gonna surprise people,” said Knell. “I remember Yoeli (Childs) [in 2019] just said, ‘Hey! Just get your popcorn ready because it’s gonna be a movie.’ So I’m just gonna quote that and say the same thing to just get excited for this upcoming season.”

The trip to Italy will also be a homecoming of sorts for Spencer Johnson, who served his Latter-day Saint mission in Italy after graduating from American Fork High School.

BYU finished last season with a 19-15 record and a fifth-place finish in the West Coast Conference.

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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Basketball Will Have Foreign Tour Before First Big 12 Season