The University of Sydney will become the first university in Australia to face-off against an elite US college program when the Sydney University Lions take on the Washington Huskies basketball side this Monday 8 August.
The Lions will follow-up two weeks later with a second contest, this time against the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins men's basketball team. Both games are set to tip off at 7.30pm at the University of Sydney's Brydens Stadium.
The landmark clash on Monday night is the second stop on the Huskies' foreign summer tour of Australia and New Zealand, ahead of their next game against the Sydney Kings on 10 August.
The fixtures are an opportunity for Sydneysiders to see some of America's talented rising stars in action, including NBA prospects Lonzo Ball (UCLA) and Markelle Fultz (Washington Huskies), who is currently projected to be a top-three pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
The squad from the University of Washington promises to be a formidable opponent for the Sydney University Lions, guided under the direction of former NBA point guard, Lorenzo Romar, and featuring Sam Timmins, a 6’10 centre from New Zealand.
On the home side, the Sydney University Lions will boast a mix of student talent and professional players, including Anatoly Bose, former NBL Rookie of the Year. Completing the team and proudly representing the University of Sydney is a crop of current and former students, headlined by the Canadian under 19s national team member and current second year medical student, Rob Dewar.
"I came to Sydney to study medicine, but the basketball scene here has really impressed me," said Rob.
"The talent in Australia, particularly in this Sydney Uni Lions squad, is some of the highest I've seen since playing basketball for the University of Alberta in Canada, and now to play against an American Division 1 school like the Huskies is a true privilege. I am really looking forward to our match-up on Monday night."
Sydney University Basketball Club President Josh Collier helped arrange the playoffs with the help of club Vice-President James Spence, a combined Engineering/Economics degree alumnus from the University of Sydney.
"We're looking to develop our program into something more closely resembling the US system, both in terms of scholarships and student experiences," said Josh, a recent University of Sydney graduate.
There's a real influx of talented Australian players entering professional and college basketball ranks in the US at the moment, and many US colleges are becoming increasingly interested in coming to Australia.
"We hope that one day these tilts will become a regular fixture on the annual sporting calendar, and events like these help our brightest players to be talent-spotted and given opportunities to develop global connections."
The Sydney University Lions will enter the courts with guidance from head coach Tim Hudson, former head of basketball operations with the Sydney Kings and a former Kings player.
"It's an enormous opportunity for the University of Sydney to host the Washington Huskies and we are all excited to play our part to make it a success. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has a huge presence in Australia, with literally thousands of Aussie kids vying for scholarships to live their dream of playing college sports.
"We are putting together a nice blend of current students, Sydney Pros and prospects to represent the University of Sydney who all share a significant bond with either the University or the greater Sydney basketball community."
Washington and UCLA's Australian collegiate tour follows a fixture last year between Louisiana State University and the Sydney Kings basketball team, also played at Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness.
The games are presented in partnership with Sydney Uni Sports and Fitness and Basketball NSW.
A livestream of the Washington Huskies v Sydney University Lions game will be available online.