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Following the roster turnover this offseason, the Michigan men’s basketball team will finish the summer by traveling to Europe. And with the trip, it has an opportunity to bolster team chemistry.

Many uncertainties remain in regards to this upcoming season for the Wolverines. With only one of last season’s starters — junior center Hunter Dickinson — returning, the rotation will look drastically different. With the significant roster changes, it remains unclear how this Michigan team will coalesce.

But this trip offers the Wolverines the fortuity to find that out.

“What our culture is, is family being first,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said Thursday. “And when you’re away from your main family members … and you get the chance to be with guys that you call your extended family, your brothers, for 10 days, I think that is the best bonding you can get.”

Under NCAA regulations, programs are allowed one trip abroad every four years. In 2018, former Michigan coach John Beilein led the Wolverines around Spain, and this year, Howard will take them to three different European destinations.

The Wolverines’ 10 day trip will not only help bond this team — which welcomed five incoming freshmen and two graduate transfers this offseason — but also display the strides made over the summer in the gym. 

On Aug. 16, when Michigan departs for Paris, it will test that in action. The Wolverines are set to play in three exhibition games, one in France and two in Greece as they travel to Athens and Mykonos.

“This summer, with all the different lineups I’ve thrown at (them), different rotations and everyone getting a chance to play, I can see how and what this team will look like, hopefully, as we come back from this three game trip,” Howard said. 

In the games, each player will get the chance to play and demonstrate all of the hard work from this summer in a competitive environment. And as they focus on converting their individual progress into team cohesiveness and success, they will do so against high-level opponents. 

“I know that the team that we play in France … has four players that played in the NBA, and I think that is great,” Howard said. “It’s great to get a chance to play against experienced guys, they’re professional men.”

For the Wolverines, facing developed and experienced players is particularly valuable, given that this Michigan team is even younger than last year’s.

Although the incoming freshmen have been working out in Ann Arbor all summer, NCAA restrictions limited team practices. This trip offers a chance for the Wolverines to practice together for a longer period of time, and for the freshmen to assimilate.

“We have a lot of younger guys this year, too, (with) five incoming freshmen,” Howard said. “But I think that’s why this summer is a very critical time for us to add to our culture.”

As Michigan prepares for its trip, Howard anticipates the benefits that traveling overseas entails. In addition to exploring unfamiliar places and cultures, the Wolverines have the opportunity to figure out where they stand and what they need to improve on before the upcoming season.