Maybe it’s time to rethink this idea of college basketball teams crisscrossing the globe to play grown men in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Sure it’s a nice recruiting tool a coach might sell a recruit, but it also has its hazards.
Just ask the Georgetown Hoyas who found themselves in the middle of an international incident when their players engaged in a bench-clearing basketball brawl against the Bayi Rockets that included multiple Chinese players stomping a GU player, players wielding chairs as weapons and fans tossing water bottles at the Americans.
The game was discontinued with over nine minutes remaining and it’s unclear if the Hoyas will finish what was billed as a goodwill tour of Chiina.
The USC Trojans would also reconsider traveling to Brazil for a series of exhibitions after they lost senior guard Jio Fontan for the season. He tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during an exhibition in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Tuesday.
The injury is a significant blow to the Trojans considering sophomore forward Curtis Washington suffered a season-ending torn labrum during practices for the tour.
Injuries can happen anywhere, but when they occur during an exhibition game 3,000 miles away it causes fans to wonder about the rationale of these summer trips.
Georgetown will recovery from the embarrassment of Thursday’s melee, but USC was counting on Fontan to lead an inexperienced squad this season. The Trojans lost four starters and the 6-foot guard was the leading returning scorer.
USC will turn to sophomore guard Maurice Jones who started started the first 25 games last season before moving to a reserve role off the bench in the final nine contests. He averaged 9.9 points and 2.6 rebounds.
Fontan appeared as if he was going to have a breakout season during two exhibitions in Brazil where he averaged 28.5 points.
Without him, USC will have to overcome long odds to return to the NCAA tournament and will likely fall to the bottom of the new Pac-12. Last season, the Trojans tied for fourth with a 10-8 conference record. They were 19-15 overall.
Unfortunately, the Georgetown incident and Fontan injury overshadow the goodwill being created by teams such as Duke and Hawaii who are also in China.
After their 81-80 loss to the Qingdao Eagles last week, the Warriors were mobbed by Chinese fans (below) who were seeking pictures, autographs, handshakes and hugs.
FRIDAY MORNING LINKS:
— California lost 69-64 on Wednesday to the Norwegian national team. It was the Bears first defeat during their northern Europe exhibition tour.
— ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb likes Cal to win the Pac-12 title.
— Bruce Pascoe at the Arizona Daily Star gives a rundown of what some of the Wildcats have been doing this summer.
— No link to their subscription site, but Scout.com is reporting 6-8 F/C Skylar Spencer, a 2012 prospect out of Los Angeles, is deciding between Washington, Washington State, San Diego State and Nevada.
— It’s difficult to put much stock in high school juniors making verbal commitments, but North Salem, Ore. junior point guard L.J. Westbrook, a 2013 recruit, told Oregon State he intends to sign with the Beavers.