Iowa CITY, Ia. - University of Iowa sophomore-to-be Melsahn Basabe is one of 17 of the nation's top 19-and-unders that will attend the 2011 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Championship Team training camp.
The training camp, which will be held June 17-24 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be used to select the 12-member team that will represent the USA at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by NCAA representative Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse University), is expected to announce on June 19 finalists for the 12-member USA U19 World Championship Team roster. Training camp for the selected finalists will begin in the afternoon on June 19, with the official 12-member USA roster being announced prior to the teams' departure for Europe on June 24. The 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men is being held June 30-July 10 in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga Latvia.
"I'm honored and excited to have received an invitation to attend the training camp," said Basabe. "This is a tremendous opportunity for me to meet and practice alongside some of the country's best young players. My goal is to work hard and be one of the 12 players selected to represent the U.S. in the World Championship."
Basabe is one of four Big Ten U19 players that have accepted invitations to attend the training camp. Michigan State guard Keith Appling, Michigan guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Illinois center Meyers Leonard will join Basabe at the training camp.
George Mason Head Coach Paul Hewitt is the team's head coach, while Randy Bennett of St. Mary's and Jacksonville University's Cliff Warren will serve as the assistants.
"We are excited about the opportunity for Melsahn," said Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery. "He had a terrific freshman season and a fabulous spring. Melsahn will show up in great shape and hopefully he will be participating for the U.S. in Latvia."
Basabe, who was recognized on the All-Big Ten Freshman team and an honorable mention all-conference honoree, ranked first in team rebounding (6.8), blocks (41) and free throws made (80) and attempted (112), and second in scoring (11.0). Basabe (6-7, 225) became the first Hawkeye rookie to ever amass over 340 points, 200 rebounds and 40 blocks. His 210 rebounds are the most by a Hawkeye freshman, while his 41 blocks and 57% field goal percentage both rank third best by an Iowa freshman.
The native of Glen Cove, N.Y., ranked second among Big Ten freshmen with six double-doubles, five of which came against conference competition. Additionally, he was one of only four freshmen in the country to have four 20-point and 10-point rebound outbursts.
Sixteen nations will battle for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men title June 30-July 10 in Latvia. The United States has been placed in Group D, along with China, Egypt and Serbia. The 12 remaining 19-and-under national teams were distributed as such: Group A includes Brazil, Poland, Russia and Tunisia; Group B consists of Argentina, Australia, Latvia and Taiwan; and Group C is comprised of Canada, Croatia, Lithuania and South Korea.
The U.S. squad's preliminary round slate opens with a June 30 contest against Egypt, followed by Serbia on July 1. The USA squad will conclude preliminary play July 2 versus China. The top three teams from each preliminary group will qualify for the preliminary second round, while the fourth place teams will qualify for the classification round to determine 13th to 16th places.
The twelve teams qualified for the second round, which will be played July 4-6, will be divided into groups E and F, with six teams in each group. The top three preliminary round teams from groups A and B will advance to Group E, and the top three from C and D will advance to Group F. Each team will play the three new teams in its new group, with the final scores of all games played in the preliminary round carrying over to determine the second round standings.
Teams finishing in first through fourth places in the two second round groups will qualify for the quarterfinals, with the opportunity to advance to the semifinals and finals. Teams finishing in fifth and sixth places in Groups E and F will play for ninth through 12th places. The quarterfinals will be held on July 8, semifinals are slated for July 9 and the gold and bronze medal games, as well as the 5th/6th place and 7th/8th place games, will be contested on July 10.
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years between 1979-2007. FIBA now conducts the U19 Championship every two years. USA men's teams are 62-11 in the U19/Junior World Championships and have won four gold and three silver medals, most recently earning the gold medal with a 9-0 record in 2009.
Here's the release from USA Basketball.