Drexel prepares for basketball trip to China

Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The next time the Drexel men's basketball team boards a bus to Newark, N.J., it won't be to play Seton Hall.

This Saturday, the Dragons are headed to Newark International Airport to embark on a 10-day trip to China, returning on Sept. 3. Along the way they will play four games - two against professionals and two against club teams - before returning home. They will visit Shanghai and Beijing

"It's a great experience for us, as a team and as people," Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. "You get to expose them to a foreign country. And we also get a chance to see how some of our new guys will react in certain situations."

The Dragons are coming off an injury-filled season that saw them lose two starters - guard Damion Lee and forward Kazembe Abif - to torn knee ligaments. Flint will field a young team that includes seven players who are freshmen or sophomores.

Lee appeared in just five games last season, averaging 13 points, before he was hurt. He is expected to be ready to play in the season opener Nov. 14 at Colorado.

"That's why this is an important opportunity for all of us to get a chance to play together," said Rodney Williams, a Colonial Athletic Association all-rookie selection last season. "We will need to come together quickly. And it's really just great to get this type of opportunity to see the world."

Drexel's ties to China are strong. The university has 1,500 Chinese students on campus enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs, and every year Drexel sends between 45 and 70 students and faculty to China for conferences, studies, research opportunities and co-ops.