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Runnin' Utes Begin Preparations for Australia This Week

Luke Nevill will get a homecoming when the Runnin' Utes tour Australia in August.

Luke Nevill will get a homecoming when the Runnin' Utes tour Australia in August.

July 23, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah men's basketball team will begin preparations this week for an August trip to Australia. The Runnin' Utes will have 10 days to practice leading up to the 12-day trip, which includes six games against club teams Down Under.

The Utes will travel to Australia August 7 and return on August 19. But prior to the trip, new Utah head coach Jim Boylen will have the opportunity to conduct practices with his returning players. The first of those workouts is slated for Friday morning at 10 a.m.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to have 22 days in the summer to help our players get better and to get to know them better," Boylen said. "We have a chance to lay the foundation for our program over the next month."

Players taking part in the trip will be Lawrence Borha, Johnnie Bryant, Luka Drca, Curtis Eatmon, Chris Grant, Shaun Green, Luke Nevill, Kim Tillie and Stephen Weigh.

Utah players will practice twice a day Friday through Sunday and once on July 30, before taking a day off. Twice-a-day practices will resume August 1 through August 4. In addition to practice sessions, Runnin' Ute coaches and players will be conducting an overnight camp August 1-4 as well.

The team will get three more practices in (two on August 6, one on August 7) before leaving town on August 7. The squad will arrive in Sydney on August 9 and head directly for Perth. There, the Runnin' Utes will play a pair of exhibition contests with the Perth Wildcats on August 10 and 11.

The Utah group will then head to Canberra, where they will face a team from the Australian Institute of Sport on August 13. The Runnin' Utes will head back to Sydney on August 14 for a contest with West Sydney on August 14. The team will be in Rockhampton on August 16 and 17 for a pair of games and will then begin the trip back to the States on August 18.

"This trip is going to give us the opportunity to start creating the culture of a competitive team," Boylen said. "The themes for the trip will be establishing our defense, trusting each other, creating chemistry and improving our work ethic and toughness. All those things start right now. That's a big deal for us."

The trip will be a homecoming for two Utes. Nevill, Utah's junior center, is a native of Perth, Australia. Weigh, a sophomore guard/forward, is from Rockhampton. Both will get to make stops in their hometowns over the course of the tour.

NCAA men's basketball teams are allowed to take one international trip during the summer every four seasons. Utah's last summer excursion was a 2001 tour of Europe, where the Runnin' Utes played club teams in the Canary Islands, Spain and France.




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