June 1, 2006
XENIA, Ohio - Holy Cross junior guard Kyle Cruze (Knoxville, Tenn.) has been selected to play with an international touring basketball team for Athletes In Action this summer. Cruze and his team, made up of current and former collegiate basketball players from across the United States, will embark on a two-week competitive tour of the Philippines beginning on June 23. Last season, Cruze averaged 1.1 points and 0.7 rebounds in 19 games, as the Crusaders posted an overall record of 20-12, while placing second in the Patriot League with an 11-3 mark in conference games.
The squad heading to the Philippines, one of 11 Athletes In Action teams to be playing this summer, also includes Patrick Britton (Rice), John Chappell (South Carolina), Trent Drafts (Charleston Southern), Tim Lyle (James Madison), Beau Muhlbach (Texas A&M), Luke Murphy (Cleveland State), Gabe Norwood (George Mason), Yuliyan Radionov (Bulgarian National Team), Reed Rawlings (Samford), Larry Sharrett (King) and Matt Short (Oregon). Morris Michalski, the former head coach at Bryan College, will coach the team.
The players will gather in Dayton, Ohio, on June 18 for a five-day training camp before heading overseas on June 23. A dozen games are slated over a 14-day span, with the squad also conducting basketball clinics for children. The goals of the tour are to provide a rich cross-cultural experience for each team member, serve and love all the people they meet, provide worthy competition for some of the best teams in Asia, help birth a Philippines Athletes In Action basketball touring team, bring honor to Jesus Christ through sharing God's love and truth, and prompt good spiritual movements within that part of the world.
"We fully expect the personal growth and cultural exchange to be rich and life-changing," stated Michalski. "We are looking for victories both in and beyond competition and pray that we will receive them. This will be a whirlwind experience that I believe everyone on our team will embrace with arms wide open. The tour is looking for great battles to fight, great adventures to live, and great opportunities for personal growth, making better men not just better players."
The team will play an array of teams during its two-week excursion, including major Filipino collegiate and professional squads as well as the country's national team and other high-level Asian professional teams. Many of the exhibition games will be tournament formatted and nationally televised. Most countries are using such exhibition games to tune up for the 2006 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Championship to be played in Tokyo, Japan, in August. Athletes In Action has sent touring teams to the Philippines for over 20 years.