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Bryan Poore is in his 23rd season as men’s basketball coach at West Virginia State.

The West Virginia State men’s basketball team made the 4,600-mile trip to the Aloha State this week and will play in the Hoops in Hawaii Holiday Classic on Friday and Sunday in Honolulu.

The Yellow Jackets (5-5, 2-3 Mountain East Conference) will play two games in a three-team round-robin format, meaning each competitor plays in turn against every other.

The first game will be against host school Hawaii Pacific University at 10:30 p.m. Friday. WVSU’s second game is at 8:30 p.m. Sunday against Embry-Riddle University. All games will be played at Hawaii Pacific University.

The games can be streamed online but payment is required.

“It’s really cool,” WVSU coach Bryan Poore said. “It’s great for our guys to see this part of the world. They’re really excited about being in Hawaii. Now you just gotta kinda get your body adjusted to the time change.”

The Yellow Jackets had a quick turnaround as they practiced on Thursday after making the trip from Charleston to Hawaii on Wednesday. Poore said they were still planning to have time to have some fun.

“We practice in the morning,” Poore said. “We might take them to Pearl Harbor to visit that tomorrow afternoon. We’ll do something with them. But they’ll have a lot of free time where they can walk around on the beach and just hang out.”

This isn’t the program’s first time in Hawaii as WVSU participated in a similar tournament in the early 2000s. Poore said he takes teams on these trips when he can.

“We had a good time when we were here last time, and probably eight or nine years ago we took them to Puerto Rico,” Poore said. “I took them to Montana and Florida. We like to take them on these trips. It’s part of their experience.”

Poore, who organizes the trips for WVSU, explained that the NCAA offers exemptions for teams to take trips like this and they don’t count against the maximum number of games they’re allowed to play. The games do count toward their overall season record.

“We actually get two extra games out of it,” Poore said. “You’re allowed to do that every four years. Then it comes down to fundraising. Once I fundraise enough and stockpile a little bit of money. It’s a pretty good chunk of change to do this trip. It takes you a few years.”

WVSU gets its funds from usual fundraising outlets, according to Poore. Funds come from donors and things like basketball events, concession stands and golf tournaments.

With the impact that COVID had on the world of sports this time last year, WVSU wasn’t even able to play opponents in the state of West Virginia. This season, the Yellow Jackets are taking the longest domestic road trip they can possibly take.

“Last year was just so weird,” Poore said. “No fans — it was just so weird. And now this year we played in the [Chris Paul HBCU Tip Off in Connecticut]. That was outstanding. Now we’re in Hawaii. It’s really good to be back and having somewhat of a normal kind of season so far. Hopefully [the current outbreaks] calm down.”

Glen Abram leads the Yellow Jackets in scoring at 17.9 points per game, followed by Jeremiah Moore and Anthony Pittman (14.2 each). Pittman, a former All-State selection at Capital High School, also leads the team in rebounding at 9.0 per game.