It’s almost time for the Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball squad to face their first competition of 2019-20. The Mocs head southeast to the Bahamas for a 3-game tour August 4-9.

The last time the program engaged in a foreign tour was also to the Bahamas in August 2014. That preceded a 22-10 season, the first 20-win campaign since 2004-05’s Southern Conference Championship squad. It’s a point Ramon Vila recently raised.

“Teams that play games on a foreign trip in the summer get to see what they’re good at, where their struggles are,” Vila began. “The coaching staff gets early game analysis on the players. It’s easier for them to analyze early potential issues in August instead of say November.

“Those teams always seem to have strong seasons after a trip like that.”

There’s obviously a lot excitement for the group. The Bahamas is a destination to be certain. There’s sun, sand and surf, but it’s a work trip.

“The whole summer we’ve worked on our cohesion on the court,” graduate transfer Matt Ryan added. “We’ve begun work with coach’s offense and being able to implement that against older pro teams will be good. It’s huge specifically for our younger guys with the opportunity to play together for the first time and play with some of our older guys (blending with that experience).

“It’s big for our coaches too. There’s a lot of new faces. This has the potential to be a big year so they get to see different combinations. It’s obviously very early, but that will give them an idea of how we work together on the court.”

The plan is for balance. The three games and 10 days allowed by the NCAA for practice is crucial for a team with six returners, two redshirts and eight newcomers. This kind of trip is as much about off the court as it is on it.

“It’s connecting together as a group,” senior Jonathan Scott mentioned. “Spending time together figuring out what we’re all about on and off the court. Learning about personalities and tendencies.”

GoMocs.com plans to provide three student-athlete journals during the trip. Follow along on social media channels Twitter and Instagram both @GoMocsMBB for updates and an inside look at the trip.