Basketball will return to Crisler Arena this weekend, and a few familiar faces will be along for the ride.
A four-day training camp for the Big Ten Foreign Tour Team will be held at the Wolverines’ home, with Michigan coach Tommy Amaker at the helm. Joining him will be two members of his own team: fifth-year senior Lester Abram and sophomore Jerret Smith.
“We look forward to getting everyone together in training camp and then taking our group to Australia,” Amaker said through the athletic department. “It is truly an honor to participate, and we all look forward to representing the Big Ten Conference abroad.”
Amaker, who was named the coach to this team earlier in the spring, named the rosters for the four-game tour last Monday.
The Wolverines will be the lone team with multiple representatives, as the coach of the team commonly is allowed to select two of his players.
Abram’s selection to the team comes as a bit of a surprise. Typical participants are younger players hoping to get more experience, and Abram, Michigan’s former leading scorer in the 2002-2003 season, has seen plenty of action in his collegiate career.
But several nagging injuries over the past two years have limited the three-year captain’s playing time, and seeing action in this tour could be exactly what he needs to prepare him for his final season at Michigan.
Other Big Ten coaches may have had the same idea, as four other seniors were named to the team for the tour, which will begin August 8th and run through August 18th.
Smith will join the team after an up-and-down freshman season. He began the season with an impressive performance against Central Michigan, playing a true point guard role and dishing out nine assists. Troubles with his shooting and defense plagued the Romulus native, though, and playing time during the Big Ten Foreign Tour could better prepare him for his possible starting role at point guard next year for Michigan.
This year’s tour will take place in Australia. Past tours have been set in countries such as Spain, Japan, France, Italy, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, England and Ireland.
Other notable players joining Amaker’s squad are Michigan State guard Travis Walton, Ohio State guard Ron Lewis, Indiana guard Roderick Wilmont and Illinois forward Marcus Arnold.
Wisconsin will not have a representative this year, leaving the team’s roster at 11 players.