Okogie Makes Final Cut for USA Basketball U19 Team

Okogie becomes the first Tech player to play for a USA team in an international event since Chris Bosh in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
June 22, 2017

Colorado Springs, Colo. - Georgia Tech sophomore guard Josh Okogie has secured a spot on the USA Basketball team that will compete in the FIBA U19 World Championships in Cairo, Egypt. Out of an initial roster of 27 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., the final 12-man team was announced Thursday.

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It is another big accomplishment in a remarkable year for the 6-4 sophomore, who 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.

 

 

“This is big. We came here on Sunday, and there were 27 players,” Okogie told the media following Thursday’s workout. “Everybody could play, everybody could score. When we scrimmaged, nobody missed a shot; everybody was going 100 percent. I tried to make sure I did the things I’ve learned at Georgia Tech and transition that over here. I have a little bit of an advantage over some of the guys because I’ve had a whole college season under my belt, so I tried to bring a lot of energy, talk on defense, communicate, make sure my presence was known.

Full audio interview with Josh Okogie

Okogie becomes the first Georgia Tech player, active or alumnus, to compete on a USA team in international competition at any level since Chris Bosh (2002-03) helped the American team win a Gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. He was the first active Tech player to even participate in a USA Basketball training camp since Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr., participated in the Under-19 World Cup Team camp in 2013.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for Josh, and we are so excited for him,” said Tech coach Josh Pastner. “Josh is a talented player who has come a long way because of his work ethic and diligence and his desire to get better. Not many players have this kind of opportunity, and he will make the most of it.”

Six athletes with international experience, including three who helped the USA qualify for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup, were among the 12 named to the 2017 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Cup Team. 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 FIBA U19 World Cup for Men in Cairo, Egypt.

The USA U19 team that will compete in Cairo, in addition to Okogie, includes 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.); Romeo Langford (New Albany H.S./New Albany, Ind.); Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.); Payton Pritchard (Oregon/West Linn, Ore.); Immanuel Quickly (John Carroll School/Bel Air, Md.); Cameron Reddish (Westtown School/Norristown, Pa.); P.J. Washington (Findlay Prep/Las Vegas, Nev.); and Austin Wiley (Auburn/Hoover, Ala.).

Five athletes recently completed their freshman season in college and Diallo redshirted this past season at Kentucky Wildcats. Of the six high school athletes, two are rising college freshmen and four, Langford, King, Reddish and Quickley are rising high school seniors.

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.

"Every player on this team can play different positions and has different abilities," said Calipari. "Whether they're a point guard and a scorer or whether they're wing and a point guard, or a wing and a power player. This is a really hard process. But it wasn't just me selecting these guys, USA Basketball is involved. This was done by committee, and it went back and forth. Everybody was giving opinions. We went to midnight and we still couldn't make the final decision, we had to sleep on it.

"Having to select the first group (finalists) was really hard and we ended up keeping three or four more guys, because we weren't ready to make a decision on those three or four. And then, we had couple of injuries, which ended up moving that number down. But, at the end of the day, there were three players for one spot and we had to choose one. We looked and said, 'okay. Who, if they had to, could help us?' And that's who we went with."

The USA Men's U19 training camp began June 18 with 27 athletes, 18 finalists were named June 20 and the team was selected following seven training sessions, held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The team will remain in Colorado Springs and will train through June 25 before departing for Egypt.

Selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee. Athletes eligible for this team must be 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998) and U.S. citizens.

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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