Maric Named to Australian Under 21 National Team

Sophomore center Aleks Maric was one of 12 players selected to represent Australia in the FIBA U21 World Championships for Young Men, the Basketball Australia web site ( announced recently. Maric, a 6-11, 265-pounder from Sydney, Australia, is one of at least four team members who played collegiate basketball in the United States last year, including Baylor's Aaron Bruce (team co-captain), New Hampshire's Blagoj Janev and Loyola Marymount's Matthew Knight.

The Australian U21 team, named the Crocs, will be making only its fourth appearance in the World Championships at this level when the event is contested in Mar del Plata, Argentina, from Aug. 5-14. Australia won gold in 1997 and finished eighth in two other appearances.

Maric went through two rounds of trials over the past six weeks before learning the final roster. He will now join the squad that will prepare for the championships with a European tour beginning on July 14, where the Crocs will play in tournaments in Greece and Slovenia. The team will then head to a tourney in Toronto in late July before joining the best young men's teams in the world in Argentina in early August.

"This is a great experience for me and something that I have worked hard for since I started playing basketball," Maric said. "It is an honor to play for my country and I know that the practice and experience will only help me get better on the court. Hopefully we can bring home another gold medal."

The last time Maric played on a world stage was in 2003 when he helped his U19 national team to the world title in Greece. He will be one of eight members of the team that already owns a world title, either at the junior or senior level.

Maric was one of several freshmen to make an impact in the Big 12 last season, as he ranked among the top 15 in the league with 6.3 rebounds per game. Maric set the Nebraska freshman rebound record with 169 boards, and just missed making the NU freshman scoring chart after averaging 8.0 points per game. He tied the NU freshman record with a team-high three double-doubles on the season and came on strong down the stretch when he averaged 10.4 points and 5.9 boards per game whlie hitting 60.9 percent from the floor in the final seven regular-season contests of the year.

Australia's U21 Young Men's Team -- The Crocs
Benjamin Allen (Greensborough, Victoria)
Aaron Bruce (Horsham, Victoria) (Baylor)
Rhys Carter (Sale, Victoria)
Samuel Harris (Launceston, Tasmania)
Brad Hill (Hahndorf, South Australia)
Blagoj Janev (Ramsgate, New South Wales) (New Hampshire)
Nathan Jawai (Cairns, Queensland)
Matthew Knight (Burnie, Tasmania) (Loyola Marymount)
Aleksandar Maric (Neutral Bay, New South Wales) (Nebraska)
Steven Markovic (Bankstown, New South Wales)
Adam Gibson (Westbury, Tasmania)
Brad Newley (Lower Mitcham, South Australia)

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