Kentucky’s trip to the Bahamas back in August, the one where six exhibitions against a pair of national teams and a French professional club were broadcast on national television, turned out to be quite an expensive trip for the the University.
According to a report from the Louisville Courier-Journal, the price tag was a hefty $792,845.68, more than five times what North Carolina paid for a week-long trip last summer and 20 times what it cost Portland State.
Included in that bill? Flights, food and rooms for the Dominican national team, the Puerto Rican national team and Champagne Chalons-Reims Basket, the club team from France; a $1,550-per-night suite for head coach John Calipari; and a reception dinner — with an open bar — that cost $23,855.50.
If we’re being fair, not all of that came out of Kentucky’s pocket. There were 57 boosters that donated $6,000 a piece in exchange for flights, lodging and tickets to the games. They also got a cut of the ticket revenue, meaning that the university “only” shelled out $431,836.10, which was actually more than a grand under their budget.
Must be nice to be a Kentucky basketball player.
Roy Williams’ North Carolina Tar Heels were scheduled to play just two games in the Bahamas this weekend, and the quick trip from Chapel Hill did not get off to the best of starts. With missed free throws down the stretch and poor perimeter shooting being the culprits, the Tar Heels dropped an 84-83 decision to the Providence Storm Friday night.
North Carolina had no such issues against the Bahamas All-Stars, as they dominated from start to finish in the 109-52 victory. As a team the Tar Heels shot nearly 63 percent from the field, and they finished the game shooting 7-for-13 from three after making just three of their twenty-five attempts on Friday.
Isaiah Hicks leading three UNC players in double figures with 19 points, with freshman Justin Jackson (16 points) and senior Desmond Hubert (12) joining Hicks, and in total eight players scoring at least seven points against their overmatched opponents.
Free throw and perimeter shooting were issues for North Carolina for most of the 2013-14 season, as they finished the year ranked dead last in the ACC in the former and ninth in the conference in the latter category. So those will be areas they’ll look to improve upon heading into 2014-15, and the improved perimeter depth should help matters.
After dealing with the P.J. Hairston fiasco at the beginning last season, Marcus Paige and company ultimately won 24 games and fell just short of reaching the Sweet 16. With Paige leading the many returnees and a freshman class heavy on perimeter talent (Jackson, Joel Berry and Theo Pinson), the expectation heading into 2014-15 is that North Carolina will field a far more formidable team. North Carolina was able to bounce back from Friday’s disappointing performance Saturday, finishing their short trip to the Bahamas on a positive note.
“Our guys knew we played poorly yesterday and they came out with much better focus,” Williams said in the school’s recap of the game. “We didn’t finish last night the way we wanted to, but today we were much more in tune with what we wanted to do.
“We were much better defending on the ball, were more unselfish with the ball and our shots went in the basket, which was also a product of better passing.”