Tommy Nixon

Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball has flown across the Pacific Ocean for the 2014 Kainan University International Basketball Tournament in Taoyuan, Taiwan. The eight-team four-day tournament features teams from Canada, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

This is the fifth time in head coach Kevin Hanson‘s tenure at the helm of the Thunderbirds program that they have played in this tournament.

“It’s been a great experience for our players,” said Kevin Hanson. “The university’s international students are responsible for putting this event on. They take great care of us from the moment we arrive to the moment we leave.”

The teams are divided into two groups for the preliminary round. The teams that place second in those groups will compete for third place in the final round. The winners of group play will advance to the championship in the final round. Kainan University is located approximately 30 minutes from the capital, Taipei.

In terms of the caliber of play, UBC won the tournament in 2012 and previously lost to Boston University in the final in triple overtime.

“Most of the games are an opportunity to get everybody in the game,” said Hanson. “It’s more of a friendly tournament instead of a competitive. It’s a great opportunity for our guys to bond as a team, keep in shape, and start thinking about basketball again.”

The Thunderbirds will be in Taiwan for just over a week, returning on June 1st. Not only will there be four days of basketball, but the team will get an opportunity to check out the sights and see a little of the country.

“Our hosts from the international school will take the team on a tour of Taipei and give the guys a first hand look at the country and culture,” said Hanson.

“It’s been a fantastic trip, great for our program, and provides life long memories for them. We are very grateful, thankful, and honoured that they have invited us back. It is a true sign of what great ambassadors our guys have been in the past for UBC and continue to be.”