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June 25, 2010

Pitt's Ireland Itinerary (pdf) | Story on Basketball Ireland | Odyssey Basketball Festival | Cork Basketball | 2010-11 Pitt Basketball Prospectus | 2010-11 Pitt MBB Roster |

PITTSBURGH--In preparation for its 2010-11 season, the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball team will travel overseas to Ireland for a six-game, 12-day foreign competition trip in late July, Head Coach Jamie Dixon announced on Friday. The Panthers will depart for Ireland on July 29 and return to Pittsburgh on August 9.


Pitt will play six games on the tour including two contests in Cork at Neptune Stadium (July 31 and Aug. 1), two in Dublin at the Dublin City University (Aug. 3 and Aug. 4) and two in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the Odyssey Arena (Aug. 6 and Aug. 7). Pitt will face Australia's oldest and most respected basketball club, the Melbourne Tigers, on August 6 in Belfast. The Tigers, which feature former Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf and former Utah center Luke Nevill, have claimed four Australian NBL championships including two recent titles in both 2006 and 2008. The Panthers will take on the English National Team the following day on August 7 in Belfast and the Irish National Team two times (July 31 and Aug. 3) in Dublin. Pitt will also face the Dart Kilester Basketball Club team in Dublin on August 4. Dart Kilester won the Irish national title in 2007.

In addition, Pitt has been invited to join Pittsburgh Steelers owner and United States Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney for a reception on Monday, Aug. 2. Rooney was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ireland by President Barack Obama on March 17, 2009.


"As a lifelong Pittsburgher, it will be very special for me personally to host the Pitt Basketball team here in Dublin during its tour to Ireland," Rooney said in a statement. "Coach Dixon, his staff and players will also visit the UPMC Children's Hospital here in Dublin as well as spend time with the Peace Players, who have used the game of basketball as a vehicle toward achieving peace and understanding in Belfast and universally. It is an honor to represent President Obama and the American people here in Ireland. It will be such a pleasure having these fine young men from Pittsburgh and all of their traveling party be a part of all things `Irish.'"


Pitt's staff and players will meet with the local Peace Players International, an organization which uses the game of basketball to promote peace and togetherness between Protestant and Catholic youth between the ages of 10-14 in Northern Ireland. Organized in August, 2002, the Peace Players work with over 7,500 Irish children, coordinate leagues, tournaments and clinics, develop links between Protestant and Catholic primary schools and train and employ local coaches as part of its successful purpose. The Peace Players have been featured in various media reports on ESPN and CBS, as well as internationally. The organization earned an ESPY Award in 2007.


Pitt is also scheduled to visit the Children's Hospital branch of the Beacon Hospital in Dublin, which is managed by UPMC. As part of its mission to bring the most advanced health care to patients worldwide, UPMC owns and operates both the Beacon Hospital and the UPMC Whitfield Cancer Centre in Waterford, Ireland. At both locations, UPMC offers cancer facilities and the most advanced radiation therapy. The 183-bed Beacon Hospital offers services in oncology, orthopaedics, cardiology, neurology and dermatology.


Other highlights for the Panthers' trip will include two tour days in Dublin on Thursday, August 5 and Sunday, August 8. Pitt will continue to practice and follow its normal pre-game procedures each day in Ireland. The Panthers will stay in hotels in three different cities: Dublin, Cork and Belfast.


"From a basketball perspective, this is an outstanding opportunity for our team to get an early start on the season," Dixon said. "It is also a chance for the players, coaches, support staff, administration and families to experience Ireland."


The NCAA allows member institutions to take one foreign tour every four years and permits 10 practice days prior to the date of departure. Pitt began team practices for its foreign tour on Friday, June 25. Incoming student-athletes must be certified as meeting all NCAA Division I initial-eligibility requirements, must have been enrolled in a previous summer term and must have passed at least three credit hours during that summer term prior to departure.


Pitt Director of Operations Brian Regan has been instrumental in arranging the trip. Regan has visited Ireland five times with his family and father Bernard "Baldy" Regan, who served as a Pittsburgh city councilman.


This will be the second foreign tour for the Pitt Basketball team since Dixon became head coach. In 2004, Pitt traveled to Toronto, Ontario, Canada for a competition road swing over Labor Day. Pitt played three games at the Toronto Raptors' practice facility, located within the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto.


For the 2010-11 season, Pitt returns four of five starters, seven of its top eight scorers, 86 percent of its scoring and 91 percent of its rebounding. In preseason rankings, Pitt is already listed as a consensus top-10 nationally ranked team.


Pitt concluded its 2009-10 season with a 25-9 overall record, a second consecutive second place finish in the Big East with a 13-5 slate, the school's ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a No. 3 seed upon entering the tourney. Prior to the season, Pitt was unranked and picked to finish ninth in the Big East by league coaches.







Saturday, July 31

Irish National Team

Cork, Ireland/Neptune Stadium

7 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 1

South Conference All-Stars

Cork, Ireland/Neptune Stadium

2 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 3

Irish National Team

Dublin, Ireland/DCU

7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 4

Dart Kilester Club Team

Dublin, Ireland/DCU

7:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 6

Melbourne Tigers (Australian pro team)

Belfast, Northern Ireland/Odyssey Arena

8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 7

English National Team

Belfast, Northern Ireland/Odyssey Arena

5 p.m.





Pitt Basketball Team Will Travel to Ireland for 12-day, Six-game Tour

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