FLORENCE, SC - The Francis Marion University men’s basketball team has accepted an invitation to participate in the prestigious Amsterdam Haarlem Basketball Week, held each year in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This year’s tournament will be conducted Dec. 21-30, with the Patriots departing Florence on December 19 and returning to campus on December 31.
This is the 25th anniversary of the Haarlem Basketball Week, Holland’s most prestigious basketball tournament, and one of the most important events in the European Basketball season. Past American college teams that have played in the event include the University of North Carolina and Bowling Green State University. Minas Tenis Clube from Brazil won last year’s event with a 92-77 win over the Israeli National Team.
In addition to Francis Marion, the participants for the 2008 tournament include the Dutch National Team, Eiffel Towers Den Bosch, and EclipseJet MyGuide Amsterdam, all from the host country; Pitagoras/Minas from Brazil; the BK Astana Tigers from Kazakhstan; Budivelnyk Kyiv from the Ukraine; Atletico Sport from Angola; and the Israeli National Team.
Francis Marion is guaranteed to play three games, but could play as many as six contests if they reach the tournament finals. The Patriots will face EclipseJet MyGuide in their opening game on Dec. 21 (10 a.m. EST). FMU will also play BK Astana Tigers on Dec. 22 (3 p.m. EST) and the Israeli National Team on Dec. 24 (8:30 a.m. EST). To advance to play on Dec. 28 or 29, Francis Marion must finish in the top three of its four-team pool. The tournament title game is set for Dec. 30.
Francis Marion completed the pre-Christmas portion of its collegiate schedule with a perfect 8-0 mark, the best start since the 2003-04 squad opened 9-0 en route to a 27-4 mark and an NCAA Division II Sweet 16 appearance.
Senior forward Sam Smith leads four Patriots scoring in double figures with 16.0 points per game. He is followed by 6-9 senior center Stanley Jones (12.1 ppg), 6-7 senior forward Kevin Clark (10.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg), and 6-4 sophomore forward Simel Boyd (10.3 ppg). The Patriots are averaging 86 ppg, while allowing only 65.9 ppg.
Game results from the tournament can be viewed at
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Francis Marion University and its men’s basketball program,” said third-year head coach Gary Edwards. “We try to incorporate academics and athletics into a total educational experience for our student-athletes, and this trip exemplifies our commitment to that objective. Some of our players have never been out of South Carolina, many have never traveled abroad, and none have experienced the culture of a major European city. This trip represents a major step in our commitment to building the best and brightest program possible at Francis Marion University.”
The games and statistics from this international competition do not count in the team’s NCAA records.
This will mark the second time a Francis Marion athletic team has traveled abroad. The Patriot golf team competed in the 1973 St. Andrews International Collegiate Team Championship Tournament in St. Andrews, Scotland, where Francis Marion placed eighth out of approximately 25 schools.