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UW Huskies make holiday plans for Hawaii to play in 2019 Diamond Head Classic

UW will headline an eight-team field that includes Georgia Tech, Houston, UTEP, Portland, Boise State, Ball State and Hawaii.

So how does Husky hoops during the holiday season in Hawaii sound?

“Yes, please,” Washington men’s basketball coach Mike Hopkins said smiling while raising his hand in the air. “Sign me up.”

The Huskies accepted an invitation to participate in the 2019 Diamond Head Classic, which will be one of the highlights of next season’s non-conference schedule.

Washington will headline an eight-team field that includes Georgia Tech, Houston, UTEP, Portland, Boise State, Ball State and Hawaii.

The dates and times will be announced at a later date, but traditionally the three-day tournament at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu begins Dec. 22 with the championship game on Christmas Day. The tournament is televised on ESPN2 and ESPNU.

“The field is really is really competitive, so many great programs and great teams,” Hopkins said. “We get to stay on this coast, which is a great thing in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Washington will make its first appearance at the Diamond Head Classic, which began in 2009.

Three Pac-12 teams have been crowned tournament champion. USC won 2009 and 2017 while Arizona took the title in 2012.

Colorado, which leads the Pac-12 with an 8-1 record, is one of the co-favorite with TCU (8-1) in this year’s tournament.

During Hopkins’ first season at Washington, the Huskies went 0-2 at the 2K Classic in New York City in 2017. This year, UW was 2-1 at the inaugural Vancouver Showcase.

“You want to give your kids experiences,” Hopkins said. “You want to play top quality teams. To be able to do it right before Christmas in one of the most beautiful places, I think is great for our fans.

“With the new metric system, it’s hard to schedule. So we’re going to get three great games over there – on a neutral court – that’s on our coast. That’s a great advantage for us.”

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