Lipscomb tours Dominican, helps needy

Lipscomb has arrived in the Dominican Republic for its preseason tour, and while the Bisons have to focus on playing five games in five days, they also will be helping those who are less fortunate.

Before they left, the team collected "health kits" consisting of bandages and basic toiletries in one-gallon plastic bags and planned on distributing them to impoverished villages.

The Bisons visited the Sugarcane Village Thursday morning and also purchased enough food to feed 40 families for two weeks. They are scheduled to go to the La Romana Orphanage on Saturday before hosting a basketball clinic in Guachupita on Monday.

The tour was organized by Score International, a Christian-based sports missionary organization and should provide the team an opportunity to give back -- even as they experience the occasional hassle while getting to the Dominican.

"The first curveball was a 'box ban' that had been instituted yesterday for all travelers to Central America and the Caribbean," assistant athletic director Trevor Garrett blogged. "The oversized box carrying health kits and other items to be distributed at villages had to be broken down and distributed into any suitcase with extra space.

"The first segment was on a 50-seat regional jet. For a team with several players standing six-foot-eight and taller, a two-hour flight on a regional jet can be a little uncomfortable. But compared to the extreme poverty level we've already seen in the Dominican Republic, there is nothing for us to complain about."

Many of these foreign tours college basketball teams are going on are about getting the extra practice time and games to establish continuity. The sightseeing is nice as well. But it's Lipscomb that is getting the full experience by lending a hand to those in need.