The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team is still working to finalize its 2015-16 schedule, but coach Cliff Ellis confirmed Tuesday that the Chanticleers will open the season in Hawaii.
Fresh off a summer exhibition trip to Cuba this month, the Chants will get another taste of island life when they travel to Honolulu for the Outrigger Resorts Rainbow Classic in November to play Hawaii and Nevada in a round-robin tournament format, Ellis said.
“It’s the Rainbow Classic. You look at the tradition of the Rainbow Classic, it’s been unbelievable,” Ellis said. “… We’ll play both of those teams – high-level teams, high-level programs. It’s a tremendous way to start it.”
Coastal Carolina just recently received the contract for the Rainbow Classic to sign and finalize that part of the schedule, but the Chants aren’t ready to announce their full slate just yet.
Coming off back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, Ellis said putting the schedule together has been a challenge this offseason.
“We’ve had a very difficult time with our schedule because of success,” Ellis said. “This has been the hardest schedule that I’ve ever in my life had to make because you can’t make people play you. We do have a great schedule and we’ll [release] that when it comes, but we still have a game or two to get.”
The Rainbow Classic dates back to the mid 1960s and has indeed played host to some significant names in college basketball history, including Michael Jordan, Pete Maravich, Elvin Hayes, Isiah Thomas and others. More recently, fellow Big South member High Point won the tournament last year.
While the Chants shelled out for the cost of the Cuba trip, as programs are allowed one international exhibition trip every four years by the NCAA, their travel to Hawaii will be taken care of by the tournament, Ellis said.
“They will be paying for our trip. That’s the good thing about it. They’re paying us to fly out there and they’re putting us up. That’s part of the deal with the tournament,” he said. “But I think we just start off with great competition. We just start off with two excellent teams.”