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Warriors heading to Japan in August

“Go West, young men” is what University of Hawai’i men’s basketball coach Eran Ganot can finally tell his team this summer, as the Warriors have formally announced their Aug. 8-19 goodwill tour of Japan.¬†

The trip features visits to Tokyo, Hiroshima and Kyoto including one exhibition game against a professional team in each city. UH also will be allowed 10 extra practices in Honolulu, which will be valuable during the normally restricted offseason. Transfers Justin McKoy (from North Carolina) and Matthue Cotton (Yale) will join 11 returning letterwinners, including three starters, from a team that went 22-11 this past season. 

“We’re very excited to embark on this incredible tour to Japan,” Ganot said in a school-issued statement. “College teams have the opportunity to go on a foreign tour every four years and we want to make sure we take advantage of this rare opportunity. The extra practices and the competition against pro teams will help us build momentum into our season and integrate our newcomers. The cultural experience and team bonding will be immense.”

Ganot said the timing of the tour is significant, with players from Japan increasingly emerging on NCAA and NBA rosters.

“It’s been incredible to follow the growth of the game globally, and Japan has been no exception,” Ganot said. “With two players currently in the NBA, you can see how it has inspired the next generation. There are excellent professional teams and coaches in Japan and we look forward to learning more and building those key relationships moving forward.”

Outside of basketball, the Warriors will visit the Imperial Palace and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and attend a Tokyo Giants baseball game.

“As we all know, there is tremendous synergy between Hawai’i and Japan,” Ganot said. “We’ll take great pride in representing our program, university and state and are so excited to share this unique and special experience with our student-athletes, staff and fans. As in our past (2018) tour to Australia, this will be a very interactive experience and fans will be encouraged and invited to spend time with us.

“We’d like to give special thanks to Hawaiian Airlines, JTB, Global Sports, the UH administration and our donors who have helped create what promises to be a first-class trip.”

Fans interested in joining the tour or helping to sponsor the trip can contact Alex Yano at (808) 956-6501 or via email at alexyano@hawaii.edu

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