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Aug. 5, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina men’s basketball team travels to Costa Rica on Saturday for a six-day foreign tour in the country. The Gamecocks will play two games versus the Costa Rica National Team and will have one day of combined practice with the Team while on the tour, in addition to holding two clinics, including one for Special Olympics. The trip is Carolina’s first foreign tour since Fall 2008.

Gamecock associate head coach Matt Figger is running the foreign tour practices for the team, and commented on the importance of this trip for the squad, and how it will help the team for the upcoming season.

“We’re getting a lot of reps in, and the returners have been terrific,” Figger commented. “It’s getting the new guys a chance to feel their way through the system. Any time you get an early start on something it is going to benefit the young guys.”

Fifth-year head coach Frank Martin stressed how important a foreign tour trip can be from a team bonding perspective.

“A trip like this makes them [the members of the team] spend time with each other,” Martin said. “So those freshmen and seniors get a better understanding for each other.”

The Gamecocks wrap up 10 days of practice for the tour on Friday before traveling to the capital city of San José on Saturday. Carolina will practice on Saturday afternoon, before its first competition against the Costa Rica National Team on Sunday. Carolina will take a tour of the historic city of San José on Monday morning, before facing the Costa Ricans again on Monday afternoon. The Gamecocks will also hold a clinic prior to each game.

Carolina will travel to Playa Conchal on Tuesday, a coastal city within the Province of Guanacaste, where the team will do team building activities and explore the region. The Gamecocks return to San José on Thursday and will hold a combined practice with the Costa Rica National Team that evening, before returning to Columbia on Friday.

Senior guard Sindarius Thornwell talked about how this trip will help the returning players bond with the newcomers on the team.

“I think the most important thing [about going to Costa Rica] is getting the freshmen to learn everything, with us taking this trip and getting the extra days of practices it helps get them better prepared when October comes around,” Thornwell said. “It allows them to have a head start on things when we start practicing. Also, us getting to know each other, getting the feel and getting to play with one another and team bonding off the court is going to be another good thing for us on this trip.”

Keep an eye on for updates on the foreign tour.