DURHAM, N.C. – Duke sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon was named among 16 finalists for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team following four training sessions involving 26 of America’s top 19-and-under player as announced Sunday by USA Basketball. The roster will be pared down to 12 before the squad departs on June 19 for three days of training at the Washington Wizards practice facility in Washington, D.C. The 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship will be held June 24-July 6 in Prague, Czech Republic.
The finalists, who must be 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1994) and a U.S. citizen to be eligible for this team, were selected by the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee.
Joining Sulaimon as USA U19 finalists were Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova); Damyean Dotson (Oregon); Michael Frazier (Florida); Marcus Georges-Hunt (Georgia Tech); Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S.); Jerami Grant (Syracuse); Montrezl Harrell (Louisville); Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S.); Elfrid Payton (Louisiana at Lafayette); James Robinson (Pittsburgh); Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State); Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee); Mike Tobey (Virginia); Nigel Williams-Goss (Findlay Prep); and Justise Winslow (St. Johns H.S.).
Sulaimon earned ACC All-Freshman Team accolades last season after averaging 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. The Houston, Texas, native started 33 games and finished in double figures in scoring 22 times. He knocked down 49 three-point field goals, including a Duke-freshmen record-tying six treys in an Jan. 26 home win over Maryland. Sulaimon had a pair of 20-point efforts, including 25 points in Duke’s win over the Terrapins.
“We had 26 really, really good players and all of the guys made the selection very, very difficult,” said USA U19 and University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan. “I think the things that stand out about this team is just the athleticism; the speed and quickness; the ability to defend and put pressure on people; and offensive rebound. We still have to get down to 12 players and the challenge right now is to see how these 16 guys fit into what we’re trying to do. We’ll learn a lot more in the next three practices; we’ll see how well guys pick up certain things; how the chemistry is; the way they bond, the way they connect.”
“I think the biggest thing is just our unity, us being connected, understanding what the goal is and them playing together, playing unselfishly. We have a lot of versatile players; guys that can move to different positions; I think we have a lot of size and strength on this team; I think we have guards that can defend and have good quickness and speed,” added Donovan, who led the 2012 USA U18 Team to a 5-0 record, a FIBA Americas U18 gold medal finish and a qualifying berth for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Assisting Donovan with the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team are experienced and successful college coaches Tony Bennett (University of Virginia) and Shaka Smart (Virginia Commonwealth University) as assistant coaches.
Training for the finalists will resume Sunday evening (4:30-7:00 p.m. MDT, all times listed are local MDT), and continue twice a day on June 17 and 18 (9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 4:30-7:00 p.m.) and once on June 19 (9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.). The team will train twice a day at the Washington Wizards' practice facility in Washington, D.C., on June 20-22, then depart for Prague, Czech Republic, and the June 27-July 7 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Ten finalists possess prior USA Basketball experience. Six players, Grant, Harrell, Robinson, Smart, Stokes and Sulaimon were all part of the 2012 USA U18 National Team that won gold at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship and qualified the United States for the FIBA U19 World Championship. Okafor and Winslow were members of the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team that collected gold, and Okafor was selected the tournament MVP and was joined on the FIBA U17 World Championship All-Tournament Team by Winslow. Gordon and Okafor were members of the 2011 USA U16 FIBA Americas gold-medalist team; Gordon was also a member of the 2013 USA Junior National Select Team that participated in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit, and Robinson and Sulaimon played for the USA in the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit. Arcidiacono boasts of USA Basketball experience that came from participating in last year’s U18 National Team training camp, while Gordon, Okafor and Winslow were members of USA Basketball’s 2011-12 Developmental National Team.
The list of finalists features two rising college juniors, 10 rising sophomores, two graduating high school seniors and two rising high school seniors.
The USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee is responsible for player selections for the USA U19 World Championship Team. In addition to chair and NCAA representative Jim Boeheim, (head coach, Syracuse University), the committee features four additional voting members: NCAA appointees Bob McKillop (head coach, Davidson College), Matt Painter (head coach, Purdue University) and Lorenzo Romar (head coach, University of Washington), as well as athlete representative Curtis Sumpter, a 2011 USA Pan American Games and 2004 USA U20 National Team member.
FIBA U19 World Championship
The FIBA U19 World Championship features some of the world’s best, young talent, and six different countries have claimed a gold medal in the past six U19 World Championships.
FIBA conducted the draw to determine the four preliminary round pools on Jan. 15, and the U.S. was placed in Group D with China (FIBA Asia gold), Ivory Coast (FIBA Africa silver) and Russia (FIBA Europe fourth place). Drawn into Group A for the June 27-29 preliminary round were Canada (FIBA Americas bronze), Croatia (FIBA Europe gold), South Korea (FIBA Asia silver) and Spain (FIBA Europe fifth place); Group B includes Argentina (FIBA Americas fourth place), host Czech Republic, Iran (FIBA Asia bronze) and Lithuania (FIBA Europe silver); while Group C is comprised of Australia (FIBA Oceania gold), Brazil (FIBA Americas silver), Senegal (FIBA Africa gold) and Serbia (FIBA Europe bronze).
The top three finishing teams from each first-round group advance to the second round that will be played July 1-3, where the 12 teams will be divided into Groups E and F. Each team will play the three new teams in its new group, with preliminary-round results carrying over to the second-round standings. Teams finishing in first through fourth places in the second round will qualify for the quarterfinals, with the opportunity to advance to the semifinals and finals. The quarterfinals will be held on July 5, semifinals are slated for July 6 and the gold medal game will be contested on July 7. Game times will be announced by FIBA at a later date.
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years between 1979-2007. FIBA now conducts the U19 World Championship every two years. USA men's teams are 69-13 in the U19/Junior World Championships and have won four gold and three silver medals, most recently finishing with a 7-2 record and in fifth place in 2011.
USA U19 World Championship Team players of note include: Stacey Augmon (1987); Vin Baker (1991); Michael Beasley (2007); Dee Brown (2003); Vince Carter (1995); Nick Collison (1999); Stephen Curry (2007); Seth Curry (2009); Paul Davis (2003); Eric Floyd (1979); Jonny Flynn (2007); Gordon Hayward (2009); Larry Johnson (1987); Jeremy Lamb (2011); Stephon Marbury (1995); Doug McDermott (2011); Gary Payton (1987); Sam Perkins (1979); Wesley Person (1991); J.J. Redick (2003); Bobby Simmons (1999); Scott Skiles (1983); Klay Thompson (2009); Deron Williams (2003); and James Worthy (1979).
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
During the 2009-12 quadrennium, 1273 men and women players and 235 coaches participated in USA Basketball, including the USA Basketball 3x3 FIBA championships, USA Basketball trials and USA teams.
USA Basketball men's and women's teams between 2009-12 compiled an impressive 264-35 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the Pan American Games, the World University Games, the Nike Hoop Summit and in exhibition games. USA teams are the current men's and women's champions in the Olympics; men's and women's FIBA World Championships; women’s FIBA U19 World Champions; men's and women's FIBA U17 World Champions; and the men's and women's U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships.
USA Basketball also currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.
For further information about USA Basketball, go to the official Web site of USA Basketball at usabasketball.com.