Syracuse’s Jerami Grant has been selected for the 2013 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Championship Team this month, while Tyler Ennis will suit up for Canada. It’s an incredible honor for both, as Grant was also a member of the U.S. team that won gold last summer at the FIBA Americas tournament in Brazil. Jim Boeheim is an NCAA representative on the selection committee, so that couldn’t have hurt. Jerami will suit up for Billy Donovon in the tournament.
Although the tournament is only two weeks long, it presents a great opportunity for Grant to improve his game before the preseason. It was clear he was more prepared than many freshman to step in and produce for the Orange last season. How much of that could be attributed to playing for the U.S. in Brazil last year? The speed and competition has to help develop a confidence, and rhythm to your game at the next level.
Playing alongside some of the best players in his age group on a big stage can be exactly what Grant needs to keep growing into the scoring threat many hope he can be. Grant showed flashes of excellence by being aggressive in the paint during his freshman season. He was also not afraid to penetrate when Syracuse needed a big bucket.
It’ll be a one-two punch for the Orange in the tourney, because Ennis will also suit up for Team Canada. Ennis will be relied upon to run the offense as a true freshman this season. In a college basketball universe where rules strictly regulate how much practice time, or scrimmage opportunities coaches have with their players, it’s hugely valuable to have two young stars SU will count on this season to have such tremendous game experience this summer.
Also coaching this year’s U.S. team is Tony Bennett of the University of Virginia, and Shaka Smart of VCU. Smart is considered one of the hottest coaching prospects in the country, so having exposure to other coaches’ methods and philosophies should be a positive for a growing player.
Boeheim has been a part of Team USA’s trips to the Olympics, and players have had nothing but glowing praise for the US coaching staff. The gold medals over the past few Olympics for the Americans have certified the right coaches have been selected. Bennett is a past Coach of the Year and Smart has made VCU a legitimate threat every time they play in March.
The tournament only used to take place every four years until 2007. But FIBA decided to make it every two years so more players could participate. Several alumni of the games such as Vince Carter, Stephen Curry, and Deron Williams have gone on to have great NBA careers. SU’s own Jonny Flynn participated in 2007. For Grant, this tournament can be great for exposure to established coaches and to keep in shape and building skills needed for next season.
Posted: Zephan Mayell