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Warriors depart for 10 days in Australia

The 2018 Down Under Tour is underway for the University of Hawai’i basketball team. The Rainbow Warriors departed Honolulu on Wednesday for a 10-day trip to Australia.

As a lead-in to the international trip, the Warriors were allowed 10 practice dates per NCAA rules.

“Our guys have done a good job of taking in a lot of information in a short time,” head coach Eran Ganot said. “Obviously, we have to get ready to play games, and then you’re adjusting to different rules – we’re playing under (international) rules. Then you’re integrating new guys and getting in shape and continue with skill development. But I think it’s been awesome to get on the floor more with our guys and I thought they did a good job handling all that we’ve thrown at them.”

The trip will include four exhibition games in four different cities. Ganot said the team will “play to win” the games, but also to figure out various combinations on the court.

“We’re always playing to win, we’re always playing to compete,” Ganot said. “You’re not as much in a game-day routine or the travel routine because I want them to experience each city. But I do think there might be some guys we’ll allow to play through some mistakes. There’s a balance between the short term and long term.”

Hawai’i returns 10 players, including five players with starting experience from last season (Drew Buggs, Sheriff Drammeh, Leland Green, Jack Purchase and Sheriff Drammeh). There are also four new scholarship players (Dawson Carper, Mate Colina, Owen Hulland and Eddie Stansberry) and two new walk-ons (Huthifah Abdeljawad and Zoar Nedd).

Purchase, who is one of three Australians on the Hawai’i roster, is familiar with at least one of the upcoming opponents. He played for the Melbourne Tigers junior club prior to enrolling in college in the United States. The Warriors are scheduled to face the Melbourne Tigers pro team on August 13.

“They’re the pro teams down there, so they’re the best of the best in Australia, so we’ll have to be our best,” Purchase said.

The Warriors have also set aside time to play tourists, and are scheduled to watch an Australian Rules Football game, and visit the Australia Zoo and Sydney Opera House.

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