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Duke men's basketball announces preseason trip to Canada in August

<p>R.J. Barrett could have a homecoming this summer with Duke in talks for an exhibition trip to Canada.</p>

R.J. Barrett could have a homecoming this summer with Duke in talks for an exhibition trip to Canada.

Blue Devil fans around the world will not have to wait as long as originally thought for an opportunity to watch the nation's top three recruits take the court.

Duke will play three games in Canada this summer, making up for a planned trip to the Dominican Republic last summer that was canceled due to head coach Mike Krzyzewski's need for knee replacement surgery. After the program confirmed the dates and times last week, the Blue Devils finalized the details in Tuesday morning release, adding that all three games will be televised on the ESPN family of networks.

Duke will face Ryerson University Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. and the University of Toronto Aug. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Hershey Centre in Barrett's hometown of Mississauga, and the Blue Devils will travel to Laval, Quebec—a Montreal suburb—to play McGill Aug. 19 at 3 p.m. at Place Bell, which seats 10,000. The schedule was first reported by Ryerson play-by-play announcer Jordan Henry and later confirmed by Duke

“We are excited about the opportunity to be tested against three quality basketball programs in Canada this summer,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the release. “More than a third of our roster includes players competing for the first time as collegians. The practices and games associated with the tour will allow us to bond as a team, while providing us with a terrific educational opportunity to see another country and two amazing cities—Toronto and Montreal. It should be especially fun for one of our newcomers, R.J. Barrett, who will be home.”"

McGill has faced numerous NCAA schools over the last few years, including SMU last August and Wichita State in 2016. McGill lost both of those games by a slim margin, falling 86-83 in overtime to the Mustangs and 77-71 to the Shockers. This matchup could provide an interesting challenge for a young Duke team after the Blue Devils lost their entire starting lineup and 86 percent of last year's scoring to the NBA Draft.

This summer's foreign tour could be important for a Duke team entering the season without a clear leader, and the extra practice and bonding could be quintessential to the team's development.

“It’s going to be amazing to take part in this tour,” Barrett said. “Not only will I be putting on the Duke jersey for the first time, but I will be doing it in my home country in front of friends and family. It will be a good way to start our year, and bond with each other as teammates.”

The Blue Devils' last foreign tour came in the summer of 2011, when they took a trip to China and Dubai. NCAA teams are eligible for a foreign tour once every four years.

This story was updated May 29 at 10 a.m. to include Duke's official press release.


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