Okogie Among Finalists for USA Basketball U19 Team
Tech sophomore survives first roster cut to 18 players for FIBA World Cup team
Colorado Springs, Colo. - Georgia Tech sophomore guard Josh Okogie survived the first roster cut Tuesday in his effort to make the USA Basketball's team for the FIBA U19 World Championships in Cairo, Egypt. Out of 26 of the nation's best 19-and-under basketball players who began training Sunday at the at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., 18 were selected to continue training through Sunday, when the 12-man team will be selected to compete in the FIBA U19 World Championships.
Okogie, a 6-4 guard, made the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team after leading the Yellow Jackets in scoring at 16.1 points per game in 2016-17, leading Tech to a 21-16 record and to the finals of the National Invitation Tournament. He finished the season with the fifth-highest scoring average for a freshman in Tech history, and his 596 total points were the third-most. Overall, he ranked 15th in the ACC in scoring, posting 32 double-digit scoring games, and was the team's third-leading rebounder at 5.4 per game.
"I think we've got a good group of finalists. We're pretty long and athletic," said U19 head coach John Calipari. "It looks like we're going to be somewhat positionless and we're going to have some 6-8 guys that can play point guard, bring it up and make plays. We're young, there is a group of six rising (high school) seniors that now, in this setting, it's a little different. Now you've got some cagey veterans that have gone through a college season and played, some of them started for their teams or were significant players, and you're a high school rising senior playing against that kid, now you see where you are as a player.
"I told some kids in our meeting (after naming the finalists) that if you want make this team you're going to have rebound, and show us you're going to rebound; if you're going to make this you're going to have pass the ball, you can't be trying to shoot every ball. You're responsible for you. I went around the room, not every guy, but I wanted to let them know I'm going to keep it real. I'm going to be real about what we have to do. The reason is we don't have time, we have three practices and then we've got to make another cut and get it to 12."
The roster of finalists includes seven college freshmen and 11 high school players -- Bol Bol (Mater Dei H.S./Santa Ana, Calif.); Jordan Brown (Woodcreek H.S./Roseville, Calif.); Hamidou Diallo (University of Kentucky/Queens, NY); Carsen Edwards (Purdue/Atascocita, Texas); Kevin Huerter (Maryland/Clifton Park, N.Y.); Louis King (Hudson Catholic H.S./Columbus, N.J.); Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic H.S./Tampa, Fla.); Romeo Langford (New Albany H.S./New Albany, Ind.); Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.); Chuma Okeke (Westlake H.S./Atlanta, Ga.); Payton Pritchard (Oregon/West Linn, Ore.); Immanuel Quickly (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.); Cameron Reddish (Westtown School/Norristown, Pa.); Mitchell Robinson (Chalmette H.S./New Orleans, La.); Quinton Rose (Temple/Rochester, N.Y.); P.J. Washington (Findlay Prep/Las Vegas, Nev.); and Austin Wiley (Auburn/Hoover, Ala.).
As the 2013 and 2015 FIBA U19 World Champion, the United States will look for a third-consecutive gold medal at the July 1-9 event in Cairo, Egypt.
University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari is leading the USA U19 World Cup Team with the assistance of Tad Boyle from the University of Colorado and Danny Manning from Wake Forest University. Additionally, Sean Hanrahan of Warner University, Dan Muller of Illinois State University, King Rice of Monmouth University and Jeremy Shulman from Eastern Florida State College will serve as court coaches during the training camp.
-- Overtime (@overtime) June 19, 2017
-- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) June 20, 2017
2017 FIBA U19 WORLD CUP
FIBA conducted the draw on Feb. 11 in Cairo, Egypt, and announced the four preliminary round groupings. The United States was drawn into Group D for preliminary round games and will open against Iran on July 1, face Angola on July 2 and will cap preliminary round action versus Italy on July 4.
The United States earned its berth into the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup by virtue of claiming gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, while Iran earned FIBA Asia U18 gold, Angola won FIBA Africa U18 gold and Italy collected FIBA Europe U18 bronze.
Following the preliminary round, all 16 teams will be seeded according to group play results, and will advance to the July 5 round of 16. Winners will advance to the July 7 medal quarterfinals, while the remaining teams will continue playing out for classification. The medal semifinals will be held July 8, and the gold and bronze medal games are slated for July 9.
Now titled the FIBA U19 World Cup and played every two years, the event originally was known as the FIBA Junior World Championship from 1979 through 2003 and as the FIBA U19 World Championship from 2005-2009, and it was played every four years from 1979 through 2007.
In the 12 previous U19 competitions held, the USA men's teams have won six gold and three silver medals, including gold in three of the past four U19 championships (2009, 2013 and 2015). In 2015, led by Jalen Brunson, Terrance Ferguson, Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson, the USA men finished 7-0 to capture gold. USA U19 teams own an all-time win-loss record of 85-13 in the competition.
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Georgia Tech's men's basketball team is beginning its second year under head coach Josh Pastner after compiling a 21-16 record and posting a runner-up finish in the NIT. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men's Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.
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