The Cal Poly Pomona men’s basketball team won’t be waiting until October to crank it up for the coming season like normal.
The Broncos are going to have to be prepared much earlier as they have been selected to play in an international event in Taiwan next month.
The squad, coached by Greg Kamansky, will be taking part in a goodwill event called the Buddha Light International Association Cup tournament, to be held Aug. 16-21.
“It will be a great experience for our players, not just from a basketball standpoint but a cultural standpoint as well,” Kamansky said. “This isn’t something you get to do often so we are grateful for the opportunity.”
The tournament will feature eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams, with representation from the USA, France, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, the Philippines, and People’s Republic of China. Cal Poly Pomona will play at least four games at the Kaohsiung Arena in Taiwan.
The BLIA Cup is a sport cultural exchange organized by the Fo Guang Shan Monastery, intended to promote the sport of basketball among universities and to provide student-athletes with the experience of competition in large-scale tournaments.
Kamansky said one out of every four years, college teams are permitted to play in a preseason event overseas. When that happens, , the NCAA gives the school an exemption to start practicing earlier than the fall start date in October.
The Broncos will be allowed 10 practice days, the first of which will be Aug. 1.
This will be the second venture overseas for Kamansky, who traveled to Greece in May to present in a coaches clinic and share his knowledge of the sport with other coaches from across the globe. It was a week or so after that he got the invitation for his team to Taiwan.
“I had never been overseas, and it was a great experience,” he said. “I came back thinking if I ever had a chance to take a team, I would love to do that and then this came along. It was great timing.”
Kamansky did his homework before accepting the invitation. He checked to see which teams had participated in the event before and one was the Chapman University women’s team, which traveled abroad last year. He contacted coach Carol Jue, who had positive things to say about the experience.
A branch of the monastery in Hacienda Heights is sponsoring the trip, and it is the one that selected the Broncos to participate. Kamansky and his coaching staff visited there to get more information.
He also talked it over with his players who were receptive to the idea.
Cal Poly Pomona will challenge two teams from Taiwan — Chien Hsin and Ming Dao universities — and a squad from China, Huaqiao University.
The event will give the Broncos an early start, which they probably need. Kamansky has just one senior and one junior on his team.
Cal Poly Pomona is coming off a season in which it went 22-8 overall and 14-6 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play. They’ll be staying at a monastery in Taiwan
“I really don’t know much about the style of play or the caliber of those teams,” he said. “I just heard they’re all really big so we better be ready.”