Irish basketball has received a boost this summer with US College giants University of Pittsburgh set to play exhibition games in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.
The famous Neptune Stadium will play host to Pittsburgh's opening game when the Irish senior men square up to them on Saturday, July 31, before a Nivea For Men's SuperLeague Southern Conference selection provide the opposition just 24 hours later.
The Irish senior men's team will once again take on Pittsburgh when the sides clash at the DCU Sports Complex on August 3, while treble champions Killester will be hoping to continue their historic year with a famous scalp just a day later at the same venue.
Pittsburgh's momentous trip across Ireland concludes on the weekend of August 6-7 when they will participate in an international tournament at the impressive Odyssey Arena. The tournament will include Australian giants the Melbourne Tigers along with the senior international sides of England and Scotland.
Pittsburgh possesses undoubted quality with 26 players from the University having gone on to ply their trade professionally in the NBA.
The university ranks among the USA's top five institutions in winning percentage (.790, 245-65) over the past nine years.
"We are very excited to bring our friends from University of Pittsburgh to Cork and Neptune Stadium," said Neptune head coach and Irish senior men's assistant Pat Price.
"This is the highest-ranked NCAA team to have played in Ireland and there will be a great weekend of basketball at Neptune Stadium."
Check out www.basketballireland.ie for regular ticket information relating to the various competitions above.
Meanwhile, Ireland's under-16 girls team will host England in back-to-back friendly games this weekend with the National Basketball Arena hosting the opening game on Saturday at 4pm.
The game will provide ideal preparation as the side continue to get ready for their trip to Skopje (Macedonia) to participate in the European Championships.
The Euros schedule has set up an opening game against formidable Germany followed by clashes with Ukraine and Israel.
"After a great success in the San- tausana Tournament in Barcelona, which was a great experience for the development team, we hope to continue to progress in the development of both teams with these challenging and competitive games with long-standing rivals England," said U16 head coach Dave Baker.
International: 10th Jul 2010 @ 4:00 PM
Ireland v England, Under-16 Girls, National Basketball Arena.
International: 11th Jul 2010 @ 2:00 PM
Ireland v England, Under-16 Girls, Oblate Hall.
University of Pittsburgh tour details:
July 31: Ireland v Neptune Stadium, Cork.
August 1: Southern Conference Selection, Neptune Stadium, Cork.
August 3: Ireland, Dublin City University.
August 4: Killester BC, Dublin City University.
August 6: Melbourne Tigers, The Odyssey, Belfast.
August 7: England, The Odyssey, Belfast.