Kansas Freshman Travis Releford Makes USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team

July 8, 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kansas freshman Travis Releford will represent his country as the USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team was announced Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The 12-member squad will look to defend the country’s gold medal at the 2007 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 14-18 in Formosa, Argentina.

In addition to Releford (Bishop Miege H.S. / Shawnee Mission, Kan.), also named to the USA squad were: Dominic Cheek (St. Anthony H.S. / Jersey City, N.J.); JaMychal Green (St. Jude H.S. / Montgomery, Ala.); Matt Humphrey (Hales Franciscian H.S / Chicago, Ill.); Ryan Kelly (Ravenscroft H.S. / Raleigh, N.C.); Malcom Lee (John W. North H.S. / Riverside, Calif.); Leslie McDonald (Briarcrest H.S. / Memphis, Tenn.); Mason Plumlee (Christ H.S. / Arden, N.C.); Kemba Walker (Rice H.S. / New York, N.Y.); Maalik Wayns (Roman Catholic H.S. / Philadelphia, Pa.); David Wear (Mater Dei H.S. / Santa Ana, Calif.) and Travis Wear (Mater Dei H.S. / Santa Ana, Calif).

Releford is the third KU player to be named to the USA Basketball Men’s U18 Team. Former Jayhawk All-American Nick Collison was a member of the 1998 team coming out of Iowa Falls (Iowa) High School. David Padgett, who played one season at KU, was a member of the 2002 team out of Reno (Nevada) H.S. Last year, KU’s Darrell Arthur was named to the USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championships squad before an injury kept him from making the trip to Novi Sad, Serbia.

The members of the USA U18 squad, comprised of athletes born on or after Jan. 1, 1990, began their journey as one of 18 athletes who arrived in Washington to attend the USA U18 National Team Trials on July 1, and will remain in Washington through July 10 before departing for the 2007 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

“The coaching staff is so pleased with the way the team is developing a sense of chemistry, a sense of team and we’re also pleased with their willingness to work hard and get better each day,” said USA and Davidson College head coach Bob McKillop. “They realize that this is an investment of a lot of their time, a lot of their energy, but they realize the dividend that they can create for themselves by becoming better basketball players. They also realize the dividend that is part of developing relationships. There are already relationships that are emerging after these seven days together that I think will be lifetime relationships, amongst the coaches and the players, the players and the coaches.

“I like the fact that we’re getting better. I like the fact that we’re committed to having fun and playing to win. When you add those three objectives together, having fun, playing to win and getting better, good things are going to happen to you. Especially when you have good kids and we have terrific kids.”

Virginia Commonwealth University head coach Anthony Grant and Georgetown University head coach John Thompson III are serving as assistant coaches The USA Men’s U18 FIBA Americas Championship Team will continue training at the Washington Wizards practice facility inside the Verizon Center today, at 10:00 a.m. (all times EDT) and 5:00 p.m., and Wednesday, July 9 (10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.). On Thursday, July 10 (10:00 a.m.) the team will train at Georgetown University’s McDonough Arena.

Featuring eight U18 national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will qualify the top four finishing teams for the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, slated to be held July 2-12 in New Zealand.

Opening against Venezuela at 1:30 p.m. on July 14 in the first game of Group B preliminary play, the USA faces the Bahamas at 2:00 p.m. on July 15 and closes out preliminary round play against Puerto Rico at 6:00 p.m. on July 16. Group A features host Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Uruguay.

Following preliminary round play the top two teams in each group advance to the July 17 medal round semifinals and the gold medal game will be contested at 8:00 p.m. on July 18. Defending FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medalists, the USA men’s teams boast of a sensational 29-1 overall record in this event and won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, and most recently in 2006, when the United States played host to the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for the first time in San Antonio, Texas. The USA men’s team also captured the bronze in 2002.

Athlete and coaching staff selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim. In addition to Boeheim, the Committee includes athlete representatives Steve Wojciechowski of Duke University and A.J. Wynder of Nassau Community College; NCAA appointees Fran Dunphy of Temple University, Tom Izzo of Michigan State University, Ernie Kent of the University of Oregon and Tubby Smith of the University of Minnesota; Bob Burchard of Columbia College (Mo.) from the NAIA; Scott Schumacher of North Dakota State College of Science from the NJCAA; and the NABC appointee is Bill Self of the University of Kansas.

For a complete roster of the USA Basketball Men’s U18 Team go to http://usabasketball.com/news.php?news_page=08_mu18_team.