The Duke University Men's Basketball team will circle the globe in August 2011, with games scheduled in China and Dubai, Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White announced Friday.
The team will depart August 14 and tip off August 17 in Kunshan, China, a suburb of Shanghai and the location of a new Duke-affiliated campus expected to open in 2012. On August 19 the team will play in Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena, former home of the Shanghai World Expo Culture Center.
On August 22, the team will play its third game in China, in Beijing's MasterCard Center, where Duke Men's Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski led Team USA to a gold medal during the 2008 Olympics. Team USA's performance in Beijing introduced many Chinese basketball fans to Krzyzewski, the legendary coach known to Duke fans and players as "Coach K."
On August 26 the team will end its tour with a game in Dubai, one of the cities in which Duke's Fuqua School of Business has established a significant presence.
"As a global university, Duke is delighted to have this chance to reach out to our passionate fans around the world," said Duke President Richard H. Brodhead. "The success of our men's basketball team is a highly visible symbol of Duke's commitment to excellence every day, across the university, and a wonderful way for people to connect to Duke."
"This global tour presents Duke University with an extraordinary opportunity to expand our brand across the world, using one of its primary assets - Duke Basketball - as the catalyst," said White. "The planning process involved several significant university entities, and is yet another example of the incredibly strong collaboration that exists at Duke.
"While the entire schedule is not yet finalized," White continued, "we are in the process of securing games against formidable competition at each respective location. Mike Cragg, senior associate director of athletics, has been our leader relative to this terribly exciting endeavor. To be sure, he has been both entrepreneurial and tireless in facilitating this exhilarating venture."
The trip was originally conceived by Fuqua School of Business Dean Blair Sheppard and Greg Jones, Duke's vice president and vice provost for global strategy and programs, to showcase not only Duke basketball, but also the university's pioneering business education, health, arts, civic engagement and policy-oriented programs around the world.
The visit to Kunshan will highlight Duke's partnership with the local government to build a new university that will include programs in business, global health and other disciplines. Construction of the 200 acre facility is currently under way.
The team will conduct youth basketball clinics in China and the United Arab Emirates. It will also visit historic Chinese gardens, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China. In the United Arab Emirates, the team will learn about traditional Emirati culture and commerce as well as about Dubai's rise as a modern business center. In addition, Duke will produce programs for alumni, prospective students and the public to highlight its work in each region.
At the game in Kunshan, students from Duke's Cross Continent MBA class of 2012 will have the opportunity to stand in for the Cameron Crazies - the enthusiastic, face-painted Duke students who cheer in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke's home court. The game coincides with the final days of the class's two-week residency in Shanghai.
"We are excited about the opportunity for our team to compete internationally and be exposed to so many significant historical and cultural landmarks," said Krzyzewski. "From my experience in China with the United States Olympic Team in 2008, I know that this is a nation that absolutely loves basketball. I am thrilled that our players will have the chance to experience a country so rich in tradition first-hand. It should be a trip they remember for the rest of their lives."
The Duke men's basketball program broke new international ground just weeks ago with a broadcast in Mandarin Chinese of its Jan. 15 home game versus the University of Virginia. Produced by Duke students, the online radio program marked the first time an ACC basketball game was broadcast in Mandarin.
A limited number of fans will have the chance to join the team for this trip. More information about package sales will be available on GoDuke.com beginning February 24.