Following six highly-competitive training camp workouts at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball announced its final 12-man roster Tuesday morning for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes made the final cut and will represent the United States in international play for the second consecutive summer.
Tennessee is one of only two Southeastern Conference programs represented on the U.S. team.
A total of 26 elite candidates (born on or after Jan. 1, 1994, and a U.S. citizen) began the USA Basketball training camp process last week, but less than half made the final squad.
"Getting down to 12 is the real hard part because, in a lot of respects, we easily could have kept 14 or 15," USA head coach Billy Donovan said. "There were some tough decisions, difficult decisions, but I think we feel overall that we have selected an athletic and versatile team. Our style of play will be an aggressive, up-tempo, running, pressing style. From an execution standpoint we've got to get better there, a lot of the other teams over there have been together for quite some time, and that's probably a strength of their teams, so we felt that we have to rely on some athleticism.
"These kids being here since Friday, obviously there's been a physical toll on them, but I don't think you can underestimate the mental toll of these kids trying so hard to make the team. Here it is (Monday night) and they have gone through Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, four pretty difficult days against really difficult competition. And the uncertainty of ‘Am I playing well enough?'; ‘Am I going to make the team or not make the team?'; that stress, that pressure, I think that adds to their fatigue. So I think getting that behind us now and going forward we can get our guys focused on being the best team. I think the focus up to this point of time by them has been ‘Make the team, make the team, make the team,' and we've got to now move it toward trying to win."
Stokes is one of eight team members with previous USA Basketball experience and one of five players who were a part of last summer's U18 FIBA Americas Championships squad that captured the gold medal in Brazil.
This year's U.S. U19 roster features two rising college juniors, six rising sophomores, two graduating high school seniors and two rising high school seniors.
Training for the 12 team members will continue at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., with two sessions slated for Tuesday, June 18 (9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. MDT and 4:30-7:00 p.m. MDT) and one on June 19 (9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.). Then, relocating its training to Washington, D.C., the squad will train at the Washington Wizards' practice facility June 20-22 before departing June 22 for Prague, Czech Republic, and the June 27-July 7 FIBA U19 World Championship.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Stokes finished last season as Tennessee's team leader in total rebounding (9.6 rpg), offensive rebounding (4.2 orpg), free-throw attempts (194) and blocks (1.1 bpg).
Last summer's U18 gold-medal performance qualified the U.S. for a berth in this year's U19 World Championships. Of the 16 teams in this year's competition, nine countries have won a U19 medal, including previous gold-medal-winners Australia, Lithuania, Serbia, Spain and the United States.
The Americans last won U19 gold in 2009.
Information provided by UT Sports Media Relations and UTSports.com.
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