- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Georgetown men’s basketball coach John Thompson III is once again making sure his Hoyas have their passports in order.

After playing regular season games in South Korea and the Bahamas over the last two years, Thompson III is leading his program on a 10-day tour of Italy with a final pit stop in Switzerland. This will be the Hoyas first preseason overseas tour since a 2011 trip to China that was marred by an ugly brawl in one of the exhibitions.

“If you can exclude the fight,” Thompson said on Thursday afternoon in the McDonough Arena lobby, “that was a great trip.”

“It was an unbelievable experience and I don’t anticipate this being any different. The food might be a little better.”

Food preferences aside, there is no arguing with Thompson on the benefits that the 10 extra practices that the Hoyas will have completed before leaving for Rome on Friday have had on his roster that includes eight underclassmen.

“If nothing else it gives the freshmen a chance to get their feet wet,” Thompson said. “It’s a skeleton offensively and defensively of everything that we do so they haven’t seen everything, but they’ve got a taste of everything we’re going to do.”

Georgetown will play its first game of the tour on Sunday in Rome against Hankur Basketball, a professional team from Iceland.

The Hoyas will then face Dream Team Select - a mix of pro players from Italy - on Tuesday before leaving Rome. The final two games of the trip will be against Lithuanian’s BE Atletas in Florence on Aug. 20 and Sam Basket Massagno, a Swiss team, in Lausanne, Switzerland on Aug. 22.

While the time on the court is important, Thompson wants his players to experience and grow outside of basketball over their 10-day trip. The Hoyas will travel from Rome to Florence to Milan with a stop in the Vatican City before returning home.

“The theme for them is to step out of your comfort zone,” said Thompson. “We want them to experience Italy. You don’t take a trip like this just to sit in the hotel and go to the gym.”

Sophomores L.J. Peak and Isaac Copeland are already looking forward to specific attractions.

“Definitely our last stop in Milan,” Copeland explained. “I’m really excited to see that, more of a fashion area. Do a little bit of shopping, play basketball, it should be fun.”

Said Peak: “I’m just ready to get over and play basketball, team bonding, and see the Colosseum in Rome.”

Note: Senior Bradley Hayes will travel but will not play. He is recovering from recent thumb surgery.

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