Men’s Basketball Wins a Thriller in OT Taking Down Team Israel

Auburn’s basketball team will venture to Israel this summer as part of an 11-day foreign tour that will include three exhibition games, the program announced Monday afternoon.

Bruce Pearl and his team will make the trip from July 31 through Aug. 10 and will play a pair of games against the Israeli U-20 national team, as well as one against the Israeli senior national team. The first two games, against the U-20 squad, will be played Aug. 2 and Aug. 6, while the matchup with the senior national team will take place Aug. 8.

“These foreign trips have been one of the greatest teaching moments I have been a part of in 40 years of coaching college basketball,” Pearl said. “Israel has not been your typical destination for college basketball teams. Yet, Israel, is one of the top 2-3 countries in the world in its quality of competition and support for professional basketball.”

The exhibition tour will provide Auburn with an early opportunity for its new-look roster to mesh on the court. After saying goodbye to All-Americans Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler, as well as seeing veteran wingman Devan Cambridge transfer out of the program, the Tigers, so far, will bring in four new pieces in Morehead State transfer big man Johni Broome and incoming freshmen Yohan Traore (a five-star combo forward), Chance Westry (a four-star wing) and Tre Donaldson (a three-star point guard).

The NCAA allows programs to take such trips once every four years. Pearl last took his team overseas prior to the 2017 season, when the Tigers went to Italy.

This time around, Pearl is taking the Tigers to Israel, where he previously led the Maccabi USA men’s basketball team to a gold medal in the 2009 Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv. Pearl, who is Jewish, also plans to use the trip for cultural and educational enrichment for his team.

“Aside from basketball, this is an educational experience for our players,” Pearl said. “We are going to take them to where Jesus was born in Bethlehem and visit the City of David in Jerusalem. From a historical and religious standpoint, this is going to be one of the greatest trips in our student-athletes’ lives. I am grateful to Auburn for its continued support of our foreign trips over the years and helping with our ministry.”