LAKE MARY, Fla. – Edmund Fitzgerald, about to enter his junior year with the Castleton University men's basketball team, is one of 19 Division III student-athletes, 10 men and nine women, selected to respective all-star teams that will participate in Brazil Tour 2017, sponsored by USA Sports Tours and Events.
"This is an outstanding group of basketball players that come from 12 different states and 18 different colleges and universities from across the United States. We feel that we have some of the best of the best representing almost every region in the country," Ron Smith, Director of USA Sports Tours and Events, said. "These players have been high achievers both on the court and in the classroom. They represent everything good that the NCAA Division III institutions have to offer."
Fitzgerald played in all 25 games during the 2016-17 season, including 14 starts as he helped the Spartans post a 16-9 overall record, including an 11-7 mark within the North Atlantic Conference to finish in a tie for second place in the regular season standings. He finished the year second in the NAC in field goal percentage at 56.6 percent and ninth in the league in rebounding with 6.7 rebounds per game, plus he blocked 51 shots, second most by a Spartan in a single season and third in the NAC at 2.0 blocks per game.
The Division III men's basketball team will be coached by Benedictine University head coach Keith Bunkenburg, the 2015-16 D3hoops.com National Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to a 31-1 overall record and the title game of the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament. Since taking over at Benedictine in 1995-96, Bunkenburg has collected 364 victories, and one of his players, senior guard Brayden Olson, will be one of Fitzgerald's teammates on the tour.
The USA D-3 Men's & Women's Basketball Teams will begin their tour of Brazil in Orlando, Fla., on July 17. After team orientation in Orlando, the teams depart for Sao Paulo, Brazil. The teams will practice in the city of Jundiai on July 18. After practice, the teams will conduct a youth clinic at the Clube Jundiense.
The USA D-3 Basketball Teams will play a doubleheader on July 19 in the city of Araraquara. The Araraquara men & women are both professional teams. On July 20, the teams will travel to Rio de Janeiro. The teams will play on Saturday, July 22 vs. Mesquita and Sunday, July 23 vs. Queimados. The teams will play their final games of the tour Monday, July 24 at Fluminese in Rio. The teams will depart Brazil on Tuesday evening, July 25, and return to the USA on July 26.
While in Brazil, the teams will experience educational, cultural, and social aspects of Brazilian life through city, school, and sports club visits. While in Rio, the teams will be staying on the famous Copacabana Beach and touring the Christ the Redeemer Statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain, two of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.
Fitzgerald is the only male student-athlete from a New England school selected for the team. Besides Olson, Fitzgerald will play with four other student-athletes who competed with their colleges in the 2017 NCAA Tournament: Devin Buckley (Wisconsin-River Falls), Mike Hollenbeck (Medaille), Charlie Noone (Wisconsin-Oshkosh), and George Riefenstahl (Farmingdale State).
The Castleton University men's basketball team will enter the 2017-18 season looking for its eighth winning record in a nine-year span as well as its second NAC Tournament title.