Chants go to Cuba seeking hoops, life experiences

ccuhoops-celebrateThe time has finally come for the Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team to make its historic journey to the island nation of Cuba to play a trio of international friendly competitions against the Cuban National Team.

The Chanticleers, led by ninth year head coach Cliff Ellis, will embark on their foreign tour starting on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. Coastal will bus to the Charleston International Airport and fly to Tampa, Fla. The team will then spend the night in Tampa before checking in for their flight to Havana, Cuba at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Upon arrival in Havana the team will have time to settle into the hotel then enjoy the first of many authentic Cuban meals. Following dinner the Chants will go on a guided tour of downtown Havana and the Malecon then retire to the hotel for the evening.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Aug. 8-10) are game days for the Chanticleers at the famed Havana Sports City. The days will start with a traditional shoot around in the morning followed by the contests at 4 p.m. In addition to the games on Sunday and Monday, the Chants will also have the opportunity to take salsa lessons and tour a cigar factory.

Tuesday’s itinerary features certification in the salsa dance along with a children’s youth clinic where the Chants will not only teach and play basketball with the children, but also distribute numerous basketballs and shirts to the participants. At the conclusion of the clinic, Coastal will travel to Varadero where they will stay two nights and host an additional youth clinic for the children of Mantazas on Wednesday.

Thursday is scheduled as an off day for the team in the Melia and Varadero beach areas. Team members and those on the travel party will have the opportunity to explore parts of the city of Varadero and learn firsthand about the Cuban culture during that day.

The Chanticleers will say farewell to Cuba on Friday, Aug. 14, with their return flight to Tampa slated to take off at 2:30 p.m. The team is expected to return to the Coastal Carolina campus around 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 15.

Photo courtesy of Big South Conference

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