Marietta College's men's basketball team will be taking a Canada break during the middle of football season this upcoming fall.
The Jon VanderWal-coached Pioneer cagers are scheduled to play at the University of Toronto (Blues) in Ontario Province on Oct. 6, the same Saturday that the MC football teams squares off against John Carroll University at University Heights.
The following three days, VanderWal's squad will be visiting York University (Lions), the University of Western Ontario (Mustangs), and the University of Windsor (Lancers), respectively.
"Once every four years the NCAA allows you to take a foreign trip and play exhibition games outside of the regular season," VanderWal said.
What all this means of course is that Marietta College men's basketball will get an opportunity to practice on the Ban Johnson Arena hardwood in September.
"We'll get 10 practices before we leave for this trip," VanderWal said. "Usually, our official start date for practice is October 15, but this year we will have 10 practices and four exhibition games before that date arrives...should be a big advantage for us."
A thing or two will have to be ironed out beforehand, though, as also practicing and playing its games at Ban Johnson Arena during this time will be the MC volleyball team.
Fortunately, many of the VB matches will be on the road in late September, except for the University of Mount Union one which is slated for Oct. 3.
Still, needless to say, BJA figures to be a pretty busy place at the end of September and early October.
The Marietta women's basketball team, unlike the men, won't be the beneficiary of a head start on the 2012-13 season. The Lady Pioneer cagers are scheduled to tip off their campaign with a new head coach at the Mount St. Joeseph Tip-Off Classic in Cincinnati on Nov. 16-17.
Despite some key injuries, the Marietta men's basketball team is coming off another solid campaign, posting a 17-9 overall record (12-6 in the Ohio Athletic Conference). From that squad, the Pioneers graduated four quality players in Kevin Knab, Trevor Halter, Joe Puch and Conner Kilpatrick.
Both Knab and Halter were 1,000-point-plus career scorers. Puch was a deadeye perimeter shooter and top defender while Kilpatrick was a major contributor off the bench.
VanderWal, though, is expecting a nice nucleus of returnees in Tyler Hammond, J.J. Martin, Jacob (J.O.) Owens, Jason Humphrey, and Tyler Worstell to name but a few.
MC is slated to tip off its season in earnest in the Marietta Shrine Tournament Nov. 16-17.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org