Wainwright Hopes for Golden Summer

For most who work at a university, the perk of a having the summer free is a big reason to get involved in teaching. But not for Jerry Wainwright, the DePaul men's basketball coach, who is working harder than ever to better himself as a coach, and improve DePaul's program. In part one of a two part interview, we catch up with Jerry to talk about the challenges he will face this summer.

Named the Head Coach of the 2007 USA U19 World Championship Team at this summer's FIBA U19 World Championship for Men, Jerry will have a busy summer filled with basketball. The Championship which is being held in Serbia July 12-22 will be a basketball tournament featuring teams from all over the globe.

After spending last summer as an assistant coach for the 2006 USA U18 National Team, DePaul men's coach Jerry Wainwright has been promoted as a head coach. Wainwright, who is leading the 2007 USA U19 World Championship Team, will be helped by assistants Bruiser Flint of Drexel University, and Karl Hobbs of George Washington. The coaches were chosen by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee which is chaired by USA Senior National Team assistant and Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, and approved by the USA Basketball Executive Committee.

"It's an honor to represent your country," said Wainwright. "Being in the coaching profession, this is one of the highest honors that can be achieved." Coach Wainwright is also excited for the chance to coach with his two assistants, Bruiser Flint, and Karl Hobbs who he speaks very highly of. "I've seen them as players, I've coached against them, been in the same conference as them and know the kind of energy and passion they bring to this," said Wainwright.

With trials for the U19 team that started June 28th in Dallas, Texas the coaches will certainly have their hands full in selecting a team from the 20 players that are attending. There to help the coaching staff select players will be other coaches who represent USA Basketball at the collegiate level including Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Kansas' Bill Self, and Oregon's Ernie Kent to name a few.

"A lot more people are involved in the tryouts than just our staff," explained Wainwright. "We're looking to put together a versatile team that can do a lot of different things. The international game is entirely different."

Although fielding a versatile team is tough to explain on paper, Wainwright feels like he knows the kinds of players he wants playing for his team. "We're looking for kids who can play multiple positions, mobile big guys, and guys who can shoot the ball," said Wainwright. "You have to utilize the three point shot in the international game because it is such a big part."

Although USA Basketball is a powerful name in the basketball world, Jerry Wainwright knows that the team has plenty of work to do to succeed in Serbia. "I have a great respect for international basketball," said Wainwright. "I've always had players from overseas on my teams. From Darius Songaila and Tim Duncan at Wake Forest, to getting overseas players in my other programs, I have always looked to bring in guys who can play. A lot of these international players are well prepared, and fundamentally sound."

In addition to facing tough competition, the United States team must do so on foreign soil. "I think that playing on their soil we'll be the underdog," said Wainwright. "A lot of these international basketball programs take a lot of pride in playing for their countries and some of these teams have played a lot of games together."

The United States has been placed in Pool B alongside China, Mali, and host Serbia. The team will begin play July 12th against Mali, continue the 13th against China, and conclude pool play against Serbia on the 14th. The top three teams in each of the four pools advance onto the second round to face each other in round-robin play which will be divided among groups. The quarterfinals begin July 20th, the semifinals the 21st, and the gold medal game is scheduled for July 22nd.

Stay tuned to WeAreDePaul.com for part two of our summer interview series with DePaul Coach Jerry Wainwright.

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