Temple University’s men’s basketball team will leave for the Bahamas on Friday, Aug. 2.
It will be a big trip for first-year head coach Aaron McKie and his team. The Owls will face the Bahamian Select Teams on Aug. 3, Aug. 5 and Aug. 6 at Kendall Isaacs Gym at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Complex in Nassau.
It will be the first-ever trip to to the Bahamas for Temple and the first foreign trip by the team since 2013. Moreover, this trip will give McKie a chance to get his feet wet as the Owls’ new head coach.
“It’s great for me,” McKie said. “It gives me an opportunity to test and to see where I’m at as coach. Get in the huddle, call some timeouts, and get in some different situations that you’ll face as a head coach. I faced many of them as a player and as a assistant coach, but not as a head coach. So, this gives me an opportunity to be in those huddles and command the team.
“It also gives us an opportunity to go out there and bond collectively as a team. So, I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited. Thank God, I have an opportunity to go and do that and not have to start in November my first game.”
Temple will open the regular season on Nov. 5 against Drexel at the Liacouras Center. McKie will be be able to get a good look at his team in advance of the regular season. The Bahamian trip will allow him to see all his players perform against other teams.
“I’m looking forward to seeing those guys play against some different competition when we get out to the Bahamas,” McKie said. “Getting the opportunity to work on some of the things offensively and some of the tings we’ve been concentrating on defensively.”
Temple posted a 23-10 record last season that included an appearance in the NCAA tournament. Eleven players are coming back from that team, including senior guard Quinton Rose and junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis. Rose earned second-team All-American Athletic Conference and All-Philadelphia Big 5 honors. Pierre-Louis was named the AAC and the Big 5 Most Improved Player.
“We’re viewing this as a business trip like coaches say a business trip to a nice destination,” said Rose, a 6-foot-8, 185-pounder, who averaged 16.3 points and 3.8 rebounds a game last season. “We’re going out there and have fun, but it’s a business trip first and getting better as a basketball team is our main goal.”
Pierre-Louis feels the trip will make a big difference in terms of building chemistry.
“The Bahamas is going to help us a lot,” said Pierre-Louis, a 6-foot-4, 170-pounder who averaged 13.3 points and 5.8 rebounds a game last season. “We’re going to jell as a team. We have a new coaching staff and a lot of new players. It’s going to help us adjust as a team.”
This trip to should be a good measuring stick for McKie and his staff as well as his players.