Follow the Bouncing Ball

Basketball deepens Duke's international ties


Star power: Coach K, shown with 2010-11 Blue Devil squad, travels to China with this year's team for pre-season play and international outreach.
Jon Gardiner

Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is well-known to Chinese basketball fans, having led Team USA to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. He returns to China this August with another stellar team—his 2011-12 Blue Devil squad— as part of an international trip that also includes a stop in Dubai.

The team will play several exhibition matches, including one in Kunshan, China, a suburb of Shanghai and the location of a new Duke-affiliated campus expected to open in 2012. It will also play in Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena, former home of the Shanghai World Expo Culture Center, and in Beijing's MasterCard Center, where Krzyzewski coached the national team to gold. A final game will be played in Dubai, one of the cities in which Duke's Fuqua School of Business has established a significant presence.

The trip was originally conceived to showcase not only Duke basketball, but also the university's business education, health, arts, civic engagement, and policy-oriented programs around the world. It also allows the basketball team to get in several preseason matches as it adjusts to the loss of three key players—Nolan Smith '11, Kyle Singler '11, and top NBA draft pick Kyrie Irving— and the arrival of four top recruits, including highly touted shooting guard Austin Rivers. NCAA rules allow preseason play if it occurs during overseas travel.

Along the way, the team will conduct youth basketball clinics in China and the United Arab Emirates, visit historic sites in China and Dubai's bustling business center, and participate in programs for alumni, prospective students, and the public.

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