The UNCW men’s basketball team gets a jumpstart on the 2015-16 season when second-year head coach Kevin Keatts carries his new-look club to Nassau, Bahamas this week to appear in the BTC Summer of Thunder 2015.
Keatts and his staff will be joined by 14 players – six returnees and eight newcomers – on the two-game, five-day trip being hosted by the Bahamas Basketball Federation. The Seahawks will embark on their first foreign trip since 2011 and are scheduled to play two games at Nassau’s Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Made possible through private funding, BTC Summer of Thunder 2015 is a three-week round robin tournament that features 15 NCAA Division I programs. The gym is about five miles from the team’s headquarters at the Atlantis Resort.
In addition to UNCW, other teams making the journey include Ball State, Bethune-Cookman, UCF, Dayton, Eastern Illinois, Georgia Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Florida, North Dakota State, Southern Utah, St. Louis, Texas-Arlington, Youngstown State and West Virginia.
UNCW is scheduled to take on the Providence Storm on Friday, Aug. 14, followed by a matchup against the Patron Regulators on Saturday, Aug. 15. Both games are 5:30 p.m. tip-offs.
NCAA guidelines allowed the Seahawks to conduct 10 practices over the last two weeks in preparation for the trip. With eight newcomers, including four freshmen and four transfers, the practices and journey to the Atlantis resort will give Keatts early insight into prospects for the new campaign.
Juniors C.J. Getts and Jarvis Hawyood will be staying back in Wilmington after not meeting team expectations in the preseason. In addition, Haywood will not compete in games during the first semester of 2015-16.
“We have certain expectations for our players to meet,” said Keatts. “Being a Seahawk is a privilege and it will always be that way as we move the program forward in the years to come.”
The Seahawks depart early Wednesday for the Caribbean island and return Sunday before classes begin on Wednesday, August 19.