The 12-man USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team roster was announced Monday 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.
Selected for the USA U19 World Championship Team were Michael Frazier (University of Florida/Tampa, Fla.); Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose, Calif.); Jerami Grant (Syracuse University/Bowie, Md.); Montrezl Harrell (University of Louisville/Tarboro, N.C.); Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.); Elfrid Payton (University of Louisiana at Lafayette); Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State University/Flower Mound, Texas); Jarnell Stokes (University of Tennessee/Memphis, Tenn.); Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke University/Houston, Texas); Mike Tobey (University of Virginia/Monroe, N.Y.); Nigel Williams-Goss (Findlay Prep/Happy Valley, Ore.); and Justise Winslow (St. Johns H.S./Houston, Texas).
“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.