The Washington Huskies officially announced today this summer’s Foreign tour as they will play 3 games total across Paris and Barcelona between August 15-25. The trip had been rumored since April but not a lot of details had been previously released until now.
The Huskies will compete in 3 games versus Professional-level teams, as well as an opportunity to experience what Paris and Barcelona have to offer. More importantly, a chance for the newly-banded team to build some chemistry in the off-season and take a look at some different rotations before the season starts up in November.
This will be the first Foreign tour since the summer of 2019 when the Huskies traveled to Italy with Isaiah Stewart. As a whole, it may not seem like the Italy tour may have benefited the Huskies too much as that team finished with a disappointing 15-17 record but they were able to start the season off strong with an upset victory over an eventual #1 rated Baylor team. The 2023-24’ Huskies are in need of a strong non-conference start and hoping the Foreign tour can be used as a building block for the upcoming season.
Questions heading into the Foreign Tour
Who will be attending the trip?
With NCAA rules, injuries and various reasons, not everyone always attends these foreign trips. During the Italy trip, Freshman Jaden McDaniels (personal reasons) and Senior Sam Timmins (NCAA rules) did not attend the tour. As we get closer to the event, perhaps we will hear updates who is planning to go or will stay behind but something to keep an eye on. Senior Franck Kepnang is coming off of an ACL injury and remains to be seen what kind of workload big Franck will have this summer and during the season. Paul Mulcahy and Sahvir Wheeler are also both coming off of injuries that kept them out of games late in the season last year as well.
What will the rotation and playing style look like?
At this point, we don’t know if the games will be streamed but it will be interesting to see what a potential starting lineup and rotation could look like in August. The Huskies have added some quality depth at multiple positions this off-season and will be interesting to see how Head Coach Mike Hopkins will carve out playing time.
At the guard position, the Huskies will have 5th year seniors in Kentucky Transfer Sahvir Wheeler and Rutgers Transfer Paul Mulcahy, as well as sophomores Koren Johnson and Lamar Transfer Nate Calmese (averaged 17.6 ppg at Lamar). Not to mention super freshman Wesley Yates from Beaumont, Texas, so the guard positions will be a battle for playing time.
There has also been talk that the Huskies will want to deploy a faster paced tempo and play more man to man defense to help shore up offensive and rebounding deficiencies. The faster tempo could help answer questions to the rotation by utilizing a deeper bench but will remain to be seen on how affective a faster tempo will help the Huskies this year. The Foreign trip could be a great time to let the Dawgs get out and run and prepare for the upcoming season.
Who are some of the newcomers to look out for?
Mike Hopkins and the coaching staff brought in 6 transfers and 2 true freshmen to the roster. Sahvir Wheeler may be the most polarizing transfer as he will presumably be handed the keys to the offense at Point Guard and will be tasked with pushing the tempo and jumpstarting a stagnant offense. Wheeler had a down season at Kentucky this past year battling injuries and high expectations, averaging only 7.7 ppg and 5.6 apg but was a Bob Cousy finalist in the 2021-2022 season after averaging 10.1 ppg and 6.9 apg and leading Kentucky to a #2 seed.
University of Portland transfer Moses Wood has a chance to be a critical piece to the Huskies this season, after averaging over 14 ppg and 6 rpg the past two seasons in the WCC. The 6’8 small forward also shot over 40% from 3 with an average of 70 makes from deep in his two seasons at Portland. Wood will be needed to provide a much needed outside shooting threat as well as help with scoring outside of Keion Brooks. Wood will be one to watch on the foreign tour and see how he performs in a new offense.
Top 30 Freshman Wesley Yates will hopefully make the trip and will be one to watch. The Huskies received a lot of production from Freshmen Keyon Menifield and Koren Johnson last season but Yates comes in as the most heralded freshman since Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels and the most heralded guard since Jaylen Nowell. Yates may start the season off the bench but it would not be surprising to see Wesley Yates stuff the stat sheet in Paris and Barcelona.
Others to watch for would be if Rutgers transfer Paul Mulcahy makes the trip as he has been dealing with a nagging foot injury since the end of last season. Lamar Transfer Nate Calmese averaged 17.6 ppg last season while at Lamar and essentially takes Keyon Menifield’s spot on the roster with 3 years of eligibility remaining. It will be interesting to see how Calmese makes the jump to the Pac 12 and what role he will have. The Foreign Tour could be a good opportunity to make his case for playing time.
Friday, Aug 18 vs. Parisian Select
Monday, Aug 21 vs. Spanish All-Stars
Wednesday, Aug 23 vs. Barcelona All-Stars
Follow the Huskies’ travels on social media @UW_MBB