Written By Duke Sports Information Dept.
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.
Duke Sports Information Dept.