Baylor coach Scott Drew will get an early look at his basketball team when it plays four games in Italy beginning Saturday against Stellazzurra Academy in Rome.
Stellazzurra is comprised of Italian players and athletes from other countries who hope to play in professional basketball leagues.
On Sunday, the Bears will travel to Florence to face Tuscan Select before playing Jadan Trieste on Wednesday and LCC International University on Thursday in Como.
The NCAA allows college basketball teams to take a foreign tour every four years.
The tour of Italy will mark the return of junior forward Tristan Clark, who went down with a season-ending knee injury in January that required surgery. Clark is expected to play in two of the four games.
The Bears are counting on Clark to be a major piece of this year’s team. He was averaging 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 73.7 percent from the field in 14 games before his injury.
Despite his absence, the Bears finished with a 20-14 record, including a 10-8 mark in the Big 12. They beat Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Salt Lake City before losing to Gonzaga.
Baylor is only expected to have nine of its 13 scholarship players available for the tour of Italy.
Sophomore forwards Flo Thamba and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatcoua will not be on the trip due to visa issues that were unable to be resolved. Senior forward Freddie Gillespie and sophomore guard Matthew Mayer will be on the tour but will not play in the games while recovering from offseason surgeries.
The tour will be an opportunity for the Bears to see highly-touted transfer guards MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell play after they redshirted last year. Teague averaged 16.1 points and shot 43.7 percent from 3-point range in two seasons for North Carolina-Asheville, while Mitchell averaged 3.7 points and 1.9 assists in 2017-18 for Auburn.
Several key players from last year’s team will be on hand, including guards Jared Butler and Devonte Bandoo and forwards Mark Vital and Mario Kegler. Newcomers Jordan Turner and Adam Flagler will also see their first game action for the Bears.