Jeff Capel and the Pitt men’s basketball team will travel to Italy this summer for a 10-day excursion, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium. Pitt is one of many teams that will be taking advantage of an NCAA rule permitting teams to travel abroad to face opponents in exhibition games and conduct practices.
The Panthers’ trip will begin on Aug. 5 and conclude on Aug. 14. The team’s itinerary has yet to be revealed but will be made public at a later date. Teams are permitted to take international trips during the offseason every four years, and Pitt’s last trip of this sort came in 2014, when the team visited the Bahamas. Prior to that, former Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon took the Panthers to Ireland in 2010.
The Panthers played four teams over a seven-day period when they visited the Bahamas, with their most notable opponents being the Commonwealth Bank Giants of the Bahamas' New Providence Basketball Association. In Ireland, they played in six games over 12 days and most notably faced the Melboourne Tigers — a team now known as Melbourne United — of Australia's National Basketball League.
With that said, Pitt’s last official trip out of the country came in 2015, when the team took part in the Armed Forces Classic at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan, to kick off the 2015-16 season. That game was called at halftime due to unsafe, slippery conditions on the court, with Pitt leading Gonzaga 37-35. The Japan trip differed from the Panthers' upcoming trip to Italy in that it took place during the regular season and involved a non-exhibition game.
Last year, the Panthers traveled as a team to Washington, D.C., during the offseason, visiting various landmarks, including the Arlington National Cemetery. However, the team did not take part in any practices or games during the visit to the capital. Capel approached the team vacation as a team bonding opportunity and a chance for his players to learn about sacrifice. This time around, the trip should provide the team with a chance to get on the same page and develop chemistry ahead of the season.