Hangzhou, China - The Georgia Tech men's basketball team is getting the experience of a lifetime this week as the Yellow Jackets visit China and open their 2017-18 season against UCLA in the 2017 Pac-12 China Game presented by the Alibaba Group.
The 2017 Pac-12 China Game between UCLA and Georgia Tech will tip off the 2017-18 basketball season and be broadcast live on ESPN at 11:30 p.m. Friday night, Nov. 10. The game is part of Pac-12 Global, an unprecedented effort to promote goodwill for the Conference and its member institutions through sport, and to provide student-athletes with a transformative cultural exchange experience.
On Georgia Tech's second full day in Hangzhou, the Yellow Jackets and their counterparts from UCLA were treated to a visit to the campus of Alibaba, China's leading global online marketplace. The teams took part in a shootaround, photo opportunities with the company's vice-president and co-founder Joe Tsai and a presentation by Tsai on the company's rapid growth.
Monday, the second full day for the Yellow Jackets in Hangzhou, began with Abdoulaye Gueye, Sylvester Ogbonda and assistant coach Eric Reveno having breakfast with legendary UCLA star Bill Walton, who will call the Tech-UCLA game for ESPN along with Roxy Bernstein.
Between that and afternoon practice at the Hangzhou International School, both teams spent a few hours in the morning and through lunch visiting Alibaba, the largest e-commerce company in China and one of the largest in the world. After a shootaround and a meeting between Alibaba executives and the presidents of Tech and UCLA, the Alibaba vice-president and co-founder Joe Tsai visited and posed for photos with both teams in the company gym. Tsai then gave a fascinating presentation to the players and coaches about the evolution of Alibaba and how it has grew into a platform that provides fundamental technology infrastructure and marketing reach to help merchants, brands and another businesses leverage the power of the internet to engage with their users and customers. Tsai was familiar with the Yellow Jackets' basketball team, noting that the majority of the student-athletes are studying business administration and that the Jackets have eight freshmen.
The teams also heard a group of young Alibaba employees from different countries share their experiences not only working at Alibaba but immersing themselves in Chinese culture.
After lunch, the Yellow Jackets traveled across for practice at Hangzhou International School for a one-and-a-half-hour practice, then returned to the hotel for dinner and perhaps the highlight of the day, a tailored suit fitting.