Early start: Kentucky to play four exhibition games in trip to Bahamas

Kentucky coach John Calipari and the Wildcats will play four exhibition games in the Bahamas in August. (Kentucky Today/Keith Taylor)

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The University of Kentucky men’s basketball team will get a jump start on the season this summer.

The Wildcats will take a tour to the Bahamas and compete in four games spread across an eight-day stretch Aug. 6-13 ahead of the 2018-19 season. Kentucky will play at Atlantis on Paradise Island, starting with a game against the Bahamas national team, comprised of several Bahamian players competing for the World Cup qualifying team on Aug. 8.

The Wildcats also will play San Lorenzo de Almagra (a FIBA squad based out of Buenos Aires, Argentina) on Aug. 9, following an encounter against Mega BeMax (a Serbian team) on Aug. 11. The Wildcats conclude the tour against Team Toronto (a Canadian team) on Aug. 12. Kentucky will begin practice for the four professional teams on Aug. 7 and will have an off-day on Aug. 10. All games will be played at the Atlantis Imperial Arena.

“If you know me, you know I’ve talked a lot about college basketball taking over the month of August,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in a release. “It’s a perfect time – when we have nothing else going on – to get with our kids, practice and give our fans a chance to see our team before school starts. The current rules only allow us to do it every four years and this one comes at a great time. We’re going to have another young team and will have a tough schedule early. Getting these games in against professional competition and allowing us to practice will give our guys an early idea of how hard this is going to be.”

Kentucky opened the 2014-15 season with six games against foreign teams, setting the stage for a 38-1 season that ended with a disappointing loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four. Kentucky is coming off a 26-11 season that concluded with a loss to Kansas State in the Sweet Sixteen in Phillips Arena in Atlanta.

“I still have some of our fans come up to me and tell me about how much fun they had in 2014 when we went to the Bahamas,” Calipari said. “This is a chance to see our team in an unbelievable setting, get up close with our kids and stay at the best vacation resort I’ve ever been to. The great thing about this time around is the games will be on site, making this even easier than the last trip. I can’t wait to get down there.”

The Big Blue Bahamas tour is a venture between Complete Sports Management and the Bahamas Basketball Federation.

Travel arrangements

Rooms at the Atlantis can be booked online at AtlantisBahamas.com/UK or by calling (800) 285-2684. Fans must stay at the Atlantis resort for entry into games. Tickets can only be purchased if you have a room reservation at the Atlantis. You may purchase tickets online through the UK Ticket Office via the exclusive link at AtlantisBahamas.com/UK once you have booked your room reservation in the Kentucky block. 


Tickets are not included with hotel packages and must be purchased separately. Ticket books are priced at $400 each and will include entry into all four games. Children under the age of 2 will not require a ticket for admission. Tickets will be mailed in late June. All seating is general admission, except those held for team guests. K Fund members interested in the exclusive travel package, including charter flight from Lexington, may call (859) 257-6300 for more information.

Fans must stay at the Atlantis to attend games. Four-night minimum accommodations at the Atlantis are available. Nights may be added to the stay before Aug. 6 or after Aug. 13. All taxes and fees are included when booking rooms.


Official group transportation through Majestic Tours will be available for a special rate.


“The Bahamas is thrilled to have Kentucky returning for their foreign tour,” said Lea Miller, the founder and CEO of Complete Sports Management, an all-encompassing sports marking agency. “UK is a perennial powerhouse and the standard of college basketball. International travel is an educational experience that is priceless and we are excited to expose the Bahamian culture and beauty of the islands to their staff, players and fans.”

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