DURHAM, N.C. – Duke sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon was named to the USA U19 World Championship Team, USA Basketball announced Monday. The 12-man roster was finalized following the evening training session and features eight players with prior USA Basketball experience, including five players from last summer’s USA U18 Championship Team that captured gold.
The 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship will be held June 24-July 6 in Prague, Czech Republic. USA U19 Team members 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.
Joining Sulaimon on the USA U19 World Championship Team are guards Michael Frazier (Florida), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana at Lafayette), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Nigel Williams-Gross (Findlay Prep); forwards Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty HS), Jerami Grant (Syracuse), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee), Justice Winslow (St. Johns HS); and centers Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young HS) and Mike Tobey (Virginia).
“Getting down to 12 is the real hard part because in a lot of respects we easy could have kept 14-15,” said USA head coach Billy 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.
“There were some tough decisions, difficult decisions, but I think we feel overall that we have selected an athletic and versatile team. Our style of play will be an aggressive, up-tempo, running, pressing style. From an execution standpoint we’ve got to get better there, a lot of the other teams over there have been together for quite some time and that’s probably a strength of their teams, so we felt that we have to rely on some athleticism,” Donovan continued.
“These kids being here since Friday, obviously there’s been a physical toll on them, but I don’t think you can underestimate the mental toll of these kids trying so hard to make the team. Here it is today and they have gone through Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, four pretty difficult days against really difficult competition, and the uncertainty of ‘am I playing well enough’; ‘am I going to make the team or not make the team’; that stress, that pressure, I think that adds to their fatigue. So I think getting that behind us now and going forward we can get our guys focused on being the best team. I think the focus up to this point of time by them has been ‘make the team’, ‘make the team’, ‘make the team’, and we’ve got to now move it towards trying to win.”
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 12 team members will continue at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., with two sessions slated for June 17 and June 18 (9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. MDT and 4:30-7:00 p.m. MDT) and once on June 19 (9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.). Relocating its training to Washington, D.C., the squad will train at the Washington Wizards' practice facility June 20-22, then depart June 22 for Prague, Czech Republic, and the June 27-July 7 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Eight team members possess prior USA Basketball experience. Five players -- Grant, Harrell, 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 Sulaimon played for the USA in the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit. Gordon, Okafor and Winslow were also members of USA Basketball’s 2011-12 Developmental National Team.
The U.S. roster features two rising college juniors, six 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.