Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We know you have a lot of questions, so most of them have been answered below! If you need additional help, do not hesitate to CONTACT US! If you have not yet applied for one of our UPCOMING TOURS, be sure to fill out our PLAYER APPLICATION as soon as possible. For help with fundraising, go directly to our FUNDRAISING page.
Your Initial Questions...
PhD Hoops was created by Richie Schueler, a former college basketball player, 10-year college basketball coach, and current basketball analyst for the ESPN Family of Networks, Fox Sports, and Stadium. PhD Hoops was designed to give players and coaches a platform to exchange basketball knowledge, ideas, and resources with the intent of enhancing the game worldwide.
Our travel tours are led by outstanding leaders and coaches with many years of experience in leading young players on basketball tours, both internationally and domestically. We believe in the development of young players both on and off the court. Each tour provides a cultural education that lasts a lifetime and we actively seek talented players of high character to participate!
Simply put, the purpose of our tours is to further enhance your ability as a basketball player as well as your world knowledge as a young man or woman. We believe that giving you an opportunity to compete on one of our tours will certainly make you a better basketball player. Furthermore, we believe that helping you to see new places, understand new cultures, and appreciate different ways of life will make you a more well-rounded person.
PhD Hoops Travel Tours offers a selection of distinct travel tours each summer. Our international basketball tours combine the thrill of competition while representing the USA on 7-10 day trips overseas. Additionally, we offer a week-long advanced skill development expedition to Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States. Each tour provides a cultural education that lasts a lifetime and is led by outstanding coaches who actively seek talented players of high character to participate!
We believe in the development of young players both on and off the court and our experienced staff has a long history in advancing the skill levels of players. Additionally, we have successfully led players and family members across different continents to enjoy our unique experiences abroad. We pride ourselves in selecting players who are the right fit to appropriately represent our country in the highest regard.
That is a loaded question and is difficult to say because we find players in so many different ways! Our staff is constantly searching for talented players of high character who may be interested in gaining the experience of a PhD Hoops Travel Tour. In addition to searching online for players we believe are a good fit, we often receive lists of potential players from college coaches, meet players at camps, hear from players on on social media platforms, receive nominations from coaches, and also partner with basketball showcase companies to aid in our search.
For information on any of our upcoming tours, check out our Upcoming Tours page.
Oh yea! We begin preparing for each tour over a year in advance. Most itineraries are jam-packed with basketball, sightseeing, excursions, travel, and a small dose of free time. We want to get the most out of our short time together!
Our coaches ALWAYS serve as chaperones on our trips. More than likely, there will be at least one member of our staff on the trip as well. In many cases, we will also have a partner company on the ground assisting us throughout the duration of our tour.
For all of our international tours, you absolutely need one! It is not possible to travel internationally without a passport. We give you the resources to apply for one, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that he/she has a passport book in hand for every international flight during the tour. No traveler will not be allowed to board the plane without it.
However, for our tours inside the United States, a passport is not required.
We have never had an issue with one of our tours affecting a player’s NCAA eligibility. Our staff has been a part of several tours with players at all college levels and have not had any problems. However, if you are currently on a college roster, it is recommended that you play it safe by double-checking with your athletic department’s compliance officer. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to stay within compliance of all rules and regulations set forth by the NCAA.
If interested in coaching on one of our tours, contact our staff ASAP at email@example.com.
We know it sounds too good to be true, but this is a full-time job for us. We take great pride in building tours that either travel internationally (competition) or stay inside the United States (skills advancement). Our tours are designed to combine both basketball as well as a cultural education to last a lifetime!
How Does the Selection Process Work?
Our selection process is simple, although roster spots are limited! To begin, fill out the Player Application with as much detail as possible! Our staff will review your application within the next 72 hours and contact you ASAP. If selected for an interview, we will set up a day/time to speak with you (and a parent if under 18 years old). Preference will be given to those applicants who take the time to carefully complete as much information as possible. Players can also be nominated by a coach for one of our tours.
Sort of… because we likely live far away from you, your application and phone interview serves as your personal “tryout” for one of our tours. Because our players come from all across the United States (and sometimes other parts of the world), it is logistically impossible and expensive to host a traditional tryout. The Player Application is the first step in being selected for a tour and any video or letter of recommendation that you submit will play a major factor in getting an interview.
For our international tours, we are searching for talented players with high character who will appreciate the opportunity of gaining a cultural education while representing the USA in international competition. We do not need All-American talent, but rather competitive players in the age group you currently play in.
For our domestic tours, we are searching for players who want to advance their skills at a rapid rate under our coaching staff while, at the same time, exploring a new city within the United States. There are no games played on these tours, but high-level skill training will be the focus.
If either of these describe you, please use our Player Application to apply ASAP.
We recruit players from anywhere and everywhere, although the vast majority of our tours are built with American players. On unique occasions, we have coached international players on our tours as well. Our staff is constantly searching for talented players of high character who may be interested in gaining the experience of a PhD Hoops Travel Tour. In addition to searching online for players we believe are a good fit, we often receive lists of potential players from college coaches, meet players at camps, hear from players on on social media platforms, receive nominations from coaches, and also partner with basketball showcase companies to aid in our search.
Let's Talk Money: Fundraising, Payments, and Policies...
Each trip varies (see our Upcoming Tours page for specific details), but your cost essentially pays for the round-trip flight overseas from our departure airport (international tours only), transportation on the ground, hotel stays, sightseeing activities, excursions, and meals (two meals per full day at our destination in most cases).
Not all, but most… the cost of our tours essentially pay for the round-trip flight overseas from our departure airport (international tours only), transportation on the ground, hotel stays, sightseeing activities, excursions, and meals (in most cases, two meals per full 24-hour day at our destination).
However, you are responsible to pay for your passport/visa fees and round trip transportation costs to our departure airport (international tours only), one meal per full day, individual health insurance, recommended travel insurance, customary tipping for guides and drivers, and any souvenirs, snacks, drinks, etc. you want to purchase.
Of course! We actually love it when parents, family members, friends, etc. are able to join the fun with us, especially on our international tours. You can bring as many guests as you want, but keep in mind that the pricing is nearly the same for your guests as it is for you.
On our international tours, all guests will have the exact same experience (same flights, hotels, excursions, meals, etc.) as you do. The only difference is that while you are on the court playing your heart out, your guests will be in the stands cheering you on! Their cost is slightly discounted (minus $100).
It’s actually easier than you think! Most players are surprised to find the process to be much simpler than anticipated. The list of fundraising possibilities is never-ending and we encourage you to use your creativity in finding fundraising efforts that work best for you. Fundraising is CRITICAL in making your overseas experience a reality. Check out our Fundraising page for many tips and strategies!
We can give you as much fundraising guidance as possible, but it is ultimately up to you to make it happen! See our Fundraising page to get your juices flowing with ideas and strategies to help you raise all the funds you need to go on tour with us!
We are not able to give scholarship assistance, but encourage all players to fundraise using the various strategies at your disposal. See our Fundraising page to better understand!
If you elect to Pay In Full, you are making a one-time full payment. You can rest easy knowing that your roster spot is secure and you are an official member going on the tour!
If you choose the Payment Plan, you can spread your payments out. This option allows you more time to raise the funds that the tour requires. It requires a minimum $500 down payment and all deadlines being met: 50% due by February 5th, 75% due by March 5th, and 100% due by April 5th (All International Tours) OR 50% due by May 5th, 75% due by June 5th, and 100% due by July 5th (Los Angeles Skills Advancement Tour).
4) Pay 100% by July 5th
You can make a payment online or by mail with a check. To make a payment online, please review the invoice that was emailed to you for specific online payment instructions. You have the option to make electronic payments via PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, or Cash App.
You can make a payment online or by mail with a check. To send in a donation or make a payment, please review the invoice that was emailed to you for specific online payment instructions as well as our mailing address. All checks should be made out to ‘PhD Hoops Travel Tours’. You have the option to make electronic payments via PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, or Cash App.
Payment deadlines that are not met are subject to a $100 late fee and forfeiture of the trip. It is best to communicate with us as much as possible so we know that you still plan to be a part of the tour!
All checks should be made payable to ‘PhD Hoops Travel Tours’. If you have misplaced our address, you can find it on the signed paperwork agreement or contact a member of our staff to give it to you again.
Unfortunately, donations are not tax deductible because we are not a non-profit organization.
Your remaining balance can be found on the invoice emailed to you via PayPal. Please contact our office if you have questions.
In the rare circumstance that we cancel your trip, you will be fully refunded (minus any online payment or processing fees) as long as you have met the payment deadlines and/or are paid in full. If interested, we can attempt to move you onto another trip if it is logistically possible.
Once we already have you slated to be a part of the tour, we hope you never have to cancel going! But, because this is a possibility for anyone, this is a good reason to purchase travel insurance as it can help you recoup any lost payments or fees as a result. The trip is only refundable before January 1 (the year of departure), minus fees. After January 1, it is nonrefundable as we use all incurred funds toward the expenses in making the tour possible.
The Trip is Coming Up... What's Next?!
It is not required, but it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Travel insurance often reimburses you in case of an unexpected change of plans and/or you are not able to go on the tour after all. This may be because of a last minute cancellation, sudden injury, sickness, etc.
It is not required, but it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! International health insurance helps to cover your medical expenses while abroad (international tours only). Before doing the research and purchasing a plan, however, check with your current health insurance plan to see if you are covered outside the United States (you may be able to save some money this way). If you are sick or injured in any way during the tour, most medical facilities and hospitals abroad will require full payment to be made before you leave. If you have an international health insurance plan that covers you in the country we are in, it will make your experience much more pleasant!
Our tours are generally in locations where shots or vaccinations are not required. However, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor or physician to be on the safe side.
Yes, it is possible to extend your stay after the tour is over, but it will cause your seat on our group flight to be removed. We will adjust your price accordingly, but requests do so must be made in writing by March 1!
For our international tours travelers, we will send your uniform, gear, and flight information to the address and email address we have on file for you in the coming weeks before the tour. This is always an exciting moment as the trip suddenly becomes a reality!
Unfortunately, practicing before the tour begins is logistically impossible. However, shortly before the trip begins, your coach will review your video, letters of recommendation, and any other info before contacting you by phone or email. We will make efforts to connect everyone electronically, but you will meet your teammates in person for the first time on Departure Day at our departing airport. We will have an opportunity to practice together when we reach our destination.
We will provide you with more details as our departure day nears, but you will definitely need to pack enough comfortable clothing, footwear (including basketball shoes), extra socks, extra underwear, toiletries, your identification (e.g., driver’s license), cash/card, and anything else you need!
For our international tours, you will absolutely need your passport, an additional form of identification (e.g., driver’s license), and your uniform too! Try to pack everything into the smallest amount of luggage possible as your trip will be less enjoyable if you have to constantly move multiple bags through the different airports and hotels!
All travelers are required to meet the group at our departing airport, which varies from year-to-year depending on the tour. All trips begin and end from the same departing airport. This will be announced in the Spring, but to find out earlier which airport your tour leaves from, contact our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several months before the tour, you will be notified as to which departure airport we will be using. The trip starts and ends at the departure airport. You are responsible for getting to the airport before the tour and also getting back home after the tour ends. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND arriving at the departure airport AT MINIMUM 5 hours before our international flight is scheduled for takeoff. This is important in case your connecting flight(s) is delayed or cancelled. You do not want to miss our flight overseas as rebooking it could cost you a substantial amount of money.
Either cash or card is totally up to you. However, it is highly recommended to have some cash at your disposal to pay for things when debit/credit card machines are not available (e.g., ice cream stand, concession stands, street vendors, etc.). You will need to have some form of money to pay for 1-2 meals per day, snacks, drinks, souvenirs, and anything else you want to spend money on.
The amount of money you need to bring on the trip is really up to you. It is always good to have a little bit of cash at your disposal, but keep in mind that most major debit/credit cards can be used worldwide. Be sure you have enough money to pay for 1-2 meals per day, snacks, drinks, souvenirs, and anything else you want to spend money on. If you are not a big spender, then $200-$300 will likely be plenty.
Every airline has its own set of rules regarding the number of bags you can check. For information regarding your tour, please refer to the specific airline website. For our international tours, our staff will also be in touch with these details as your trip nears.
Unfortunately, because all of our seats are booked in a group reservation, we are unable to upgrade your seat on the plane. However, every airline operates differently so you are welcome to contact the airline on your own directly to see they will allow you to pay extra for an upgrade.
You can exchange money in most every airport or bank that we come across on the tour. However, in lieu of time and to save yourself money on exchange rates, it would be wise to make an exchange at your local bank if possible before the tour begins.
On Our International Tours...
The competition overseas is usually much better than our players expect! Each country seems to have its own unique style of play, which takes a little time to adjust to. Your team will be compiled of players you have likely never met from across the United States (and, on unique occasions, an international player). Often times, our teams are more talented, but our disadvantage is that we will have a limited number of practices together while our opponents have usually been playing together for years.
The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has a number of rule differences than what players in the USA are used to. Some of the most notable differences we have found are below:
- The 3-point line is deeper (22 feet, 1 3/4 inches), which is the same distance as it is for NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball.
- When inbounding the ball, it is a violation/turnover if you throw the ball into the backcourt once you have crossed the half court line.
- There is no such thing as 1 and 1 free throws when in the bonus. It is always 2 free throws.
- Once the ball touches the rim on offense or defense, it is a live ball. It is NOT goaltending if you touch the ball after it has already hit the rim.
- Traveling violations are called frequently, which is a source of frustration for most American players. International referees specifically look for players to pick up their pivot foot when making a quick first step movement.
The target number is 10, but rosters have ranged anywhere from 8-12 players in the past.
We strive for all players to get as equal playing time as possible. It is important to us that everyone on the team has an outstanding experience, so we work hard at balancing playing time to the best of our abilities.
Depending on the tour, the number ranges from 4-7 games.
Prior to the trip, it is recommended that you contact your phone service provider to see if you have an international calling plan. Additionally, internet is available in most hotels we stay at for the use of email, social media, FaceTime, Skype, iMessages, WhatsApp, etc.
The short answer is: NOT SURE. Every hotel is unique in its own way. Some will offer laundry services, but most will give you directions to a local laundromat. Usually, our schedule is so jam-packed on our tours that you will not have time to do laundry. It is best to plan ahead in having enough clothes to get you through the trip. Most players wash their uniforms at night in their bathroom sinks.
Most likely, we will not travel with an athletic trainer on the trip. As the tour nears departure day, make all necessary preparations to ensure you are safely able to play. In other countries, sport injuries are handled differently than what we are used to here in the USA. Although it is possible that an athletic trainer will be on-site, most injuries are handled at their local medical facility or hospital.
It is rare for serious injuries to occur (“knock on wood”), but it is certainly possible. If you are hurt or injured on the trip, you will likely be transported to the local medical facility or hospital to be treated. In most cases, after treatment, they will require full payment to be made before you leave. If you have an international health insurance plan that covers you in the country we are in, it will make your experience much more pleasant!
Indirectly. These types of trips have helped players get recruited by college coaches in the past, but it is not designed for recruiting and certainly not the intent of the tour. Our tours are designed for you to represent the USA in international basketball competition while gaining a cultural education that lasts a lifetime.
It is possible, but unlikely. These types of trips have helped players land professional opportunities in the past, but it is not the intent of the tour. Our tours are designed for you to represent the USA in international basketball competition while gaining a cultural education that lasts a lifetime.