USA National Team to Face Canada Tuesday in KC
In preparation for the 2015 World University Games (WUG), Kansas men’s basketball, the USA National Team for the games, will host the Canada WUG squad in two exhibition contests June 23 and 26 at 7 p.m. (Central) in Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The games can be heard on the Jayhawk IMG Radio Network. Team Canada arrived to Lawrence June 19 and has been training at KU in preparation for the WUG.
How this Happened
In April 2014, the Kansas basketball team was selected by the United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) to represent the United States in the World University Games. Kansas was selected as the team to represent the U.S. from the schools that expressed interest.
With more than 150 countries competing in 21 sports, the World University Games are held every two years and are governed by the International University Sports Federation. Only current university student-athletes or recent graduates, born between Jan. 1, 1990, and Dec. 31, 1997, are eligible for the 2015 Games. For Kansas’ participation, only U.S. citizens can compete and incoming freshmen and transfers qualify. The Kansas travel party, consisting of 12 competitors and 10 staff (22 total), will leave Lawrence June 28 and live in the athlete village throughout the Games.
This is the second time a college team will compete in the World University Games. In 2007, the University of Northern Iowa participated and finished ninth in Bangkok, Thailand.
About the National Team
The USA National Team for the upcoming World University Games (WUG), July 3-14 in Gwangju, Korea, continued preparation for the event when the student-athletes returned to Lawrence for summer school June 7. The national team is coached by Bill Self, who has guided Kansas to an unprecedented 11-straight Big 12 Conference regular-season titles (2005-15) and two Final Fours as the Jayhawks are the winningest program in NCAA Division I since the 2006-07 season, averaging 31.1 wins in that span with an 83.8 winning percentage.
Forward Perry Ellis is one of four returning all-conference performers from 2014-15 and headlines the USA National Team roster. A Wichita, Kansas native, Ellis was an All-Big 12 First Team selection last season, leading Kansas in scoring (13.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg). He was also named to the 2015 Academic All-Big 12 First Team and the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Guard Frank Mason III, from Petersburg, Virginia, was an All-Big 12 Second Team honoree who was second on the team in scoring with 12.6 points per game and led Kansas with 142 assists and 50 steals in 2014-15. Mason’s 42.9 percent shooting from three-point range was best on the KU team last season. Guard Wayne Selden, Jr., from Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a 2015 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection who led Kansas with 46 three-pointers made last year as he averaged 9.4 points per contest.
The only non-Jayhawks on the roster are SMU guard Nic Moore and Florida Gulf Coast guard Julian DeBose, who replaced Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham who suffered an injury which will not allow him to compete in the games. Moore was the 2015 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and led SMU in scoring (14.5 ppg), assists (5.1 apg) and steals (1.3 spg) last season. The Winona Lake, Indiana all-conference first-team selection led the Mustangs to their first conference regular-season title since 1988. DeBose, who joined the team June 20, averaged 11.9 points and 3.9 rebounds for FGCU last year under former KU assistant coach Joe Dooley.
Ellis, forwards Jamari Traylor (4.8 points, 3.7 rebounds in 2014-15) and Landen Lucas (3.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and guards Evan Manning and Tyler Self have international experience heading to Gwangju as they competed in Kansas’ four exhibition games in Switzerland and France in August 2012. Lucas and forward Hunter Mickelson (2.4 ppg, 19 blocked shots in 2014-15) spent August 2014 playing internationally as Lucas played for the Athletes in Action touring Estonia and Latvia and Mickelson was a member of Guy Rancourt’s USA East Coast Basketball Team in the 2014 Four Nations Cup in Estonia and Finland.
Expect newcomers Carlton Bragg and Lagerald Vick to be key contributors for the World University Games. Bragg is a power forward who was a McDonald’s All-American last year, while Vick is an explosive guard with great range shooting.
There are four pools in the WUG with the top two teams after pool play qualifying for the eight-team medal bracket. The third and fourth teams in each pool will compete in an eight-team bracket with the highest finish being ninth in the 24-team field. The fifth and sixth pool finishers will also compete in and eight-team bracket as all 24 teams are guaranteed eight games for the event.
The World University Games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24, and are or have been within the past year, a student at a college or university.
The World University Games began in 1965 in Budapest, Hungary, with the United States men’s basketball team posting a 9-0 record in winning the gold medal. The USA has won 13 gold medals with its last in 2005 and its 19 total medals are more than any other country.
Eighteen players who have represented the USA in the World University Games have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, including KU’s Jo Jo White, who won gold for the USA at the 1967 World University Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Seven other Jayhawks besides White have competed in the World University Games, the last being Jerod Haase, who won gold for the USA in 1995. Other KU players who have competed for the U.S. in the World University Games include: Dave Robisch in 1970 (silver), Greg Dreiling and Ron Kellogg in 1985 (silver), Mark Randall in 1989 (gold), Adonis Jordan in 1991 (gold) and Richard Scott in 1993 (gold). Additionally, former KU coach Roy Williams was an assistant coach in the 1991 World University Games, and KU Head Team Physician, Dr. Larry Magee, was the USA physician in 1995 and will be making the trip in 2015.
It will be Independence Day – almost – when Kansas men’s basketball, representing the USA National Team, takes on Turkey at noon in its first game of Pool D at the 2015 World University Games in Gwangju, Korea. The USA National Team will play Turkey on Saturday, July 4, at Dongkang Gymnasium, but with the 14-hour time difference, it will still be 10 p.m. (Central) on Friday, July 3, in Lawrence, Kansas, when the two teams meet.
Canada will be competing in Pool B along with Russia, Mexico, Mongolia, Sweden and Montenegro. The Canada squad opens WUG against Sweden on July 4.
Joining the USA and Turkey in Pool D are Serbia, Brazil, Chile and Switzerland. Following the celebration of America’s birthday, the USA National Team will play Brazil on Sunday, July 5 at 8:30 p.m., which is 6:30 a.m. at home. The third game for the USA will be against Chile on Tuesday, July 7 at 2:30 p.m., or 12:30 a.m. in Kansas.
The fourth competition for USA will be versus Serbia at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, which is July 7 at 10 p.m. in Kansas. The final contest before bracket play for USA will be against Switzerland on Thursday, July 9 at 10 a.m., which is July 8 at 8 p.m. Central.
All but one pool game for the USA will be played in the Dongkang College Gymnasium. The July 7 contest against Chile will be played in the Muan Indoor Gymnasium.
Bracket play for the World University Games begins Saturday, July 10 and lasts through Monday, July 13. There are four pools of six teams each and, following pool competition, the teams will be seeded for bracket play with the top two teams from each pool battling for a medal. Teams who finish third and fourth in their pool will participate in a consolation bracket, while the remaining teams that finish fifth and sixth in their pool will play in a third bracket. Each team is guaranteed to play at least eight games throughout the entire World University Games.
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