Alabama sophomore point guard Kira Lewis Jr. has been selected to the U.S. team for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup, USA Basketball announced on Thursday morning. The Crimson Tide’s leading scorer from last season (13.5 points per game) is one of five collegians on the 12-man roster.
Previous members of the U.S. Under-19 squad have included NBA All-Stars Vince Carter, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Joining Lewis on the team are five players who have previously helped earn gold medals for the U.S. in international competition.
“It’s been a very, very difficult selection process the last couple of days. One to cut the roster down to 18, and then to get it 12,” U.S. coach Bruce Weber, also the men’s basketball coach at Kansas State, said in a release. “We had a really talented group of players, there were a lot of guys who could be part of this team. I think the thing we have is experience. We have guys who played major college basketball in tough environments, and then we also have another group that has played for USA Basketball at different levels and won gold medals.
“When you think about playing international basketball it’s about toughness, it’s about experience, IQ, and I think that all adds up to why we chose this roster and hopefully moving forward it gives us the best opportunity to win the gold.”
The team is currently training in Colorado Springs and will remain there until it departs for Greece on June 23.
The preliminary round begins on June 29. The U.S. has been slotted into Group A and will play New Zealand on June 29, Lithuania on June 30 and Senegal on July 2. Round of 16 play commences on July 3, the quarterfinals are on July 5, the semifinals on July 6, and the finals and bronze games on July 7.