LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas men's basketball will represent the United States at the 2015 World University Games, July 3-14, in Gwangju, Korea, KU officials announced Tuesday.
The Kansas basketball team was selected by the United States International University Sports Federation (US-IUSF) to represent the United States in the World University Games. Kansas was selected as the team to represent the U.S. from the schools that expressed interest.
"We are thrilled to have this opportunity," KU head coach Bill Self said. "It is a unique opportunity where a school will represent our country in the World University Games as opposed to a select team. I can't see anything but positives. We as an amateur basketball team could not get better competition. Our players are really excited about getting the opportunity to represent our country in games basically against professionals from around the world."
Twenty-four teams will compete in the 2015 Games. There will be four pools of six teams each. Following pool competition, the teams will be seeded for bracket play with the top two teams from each pool battling for a medal.
"We're proud that the Kansas men's basketball program will represent the United States in this competition," KU Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger said. "This is a rare athletic and educational opportunity that our student-athletes will take with them for as long as they live."
With more than 150 countries competing in 21 sports, the World University Games are held every two years and are governed by the International University Sports Federation. Only current university student-athletes or recent graduates, born between Jan. 1, 1990, and Dec. 31, 1997, are eligible for the 2015 Games. For Kansas' participation, only U.S. citizens can compete and incoming freshmen and transfers qualify. The Kansas travel party, consisting of 12 competitors and staff (24 total), will leave Lawrence June 28 and live in the athlete village throughout the Games.
"This is a tremendous honor for the University of Kansas, and is a reflection of the Jayhawks' long tradition of excellence on the court," KU Chancellor Dr. Bernadette Gray-Little said. "It's also auspicious that the 2015 games will be held in South Korea, which is home to a strong group of KU alumni and to several of our university partners."
This is the second time a college team will compete in the World University Games. In 2007, the University of Northern Iowa participated and finished ninth in Bangkok, Thailand.
"The opportunity to have a top-ranked program like Kansas representing USA on the global stage will be historic," Craig Jonas, deputy head of USA Delegation, said. "Having a team that has played and practiced together from months leading into the games is an opportunity USA teams don't normally get. The opportunity to have a coach like Bill Self compete at the international level will benefit both the Jayhawks and the USA team in Korea. The upper echelon of teams that Kansas will face will be as good as anything faced in a Final Four, the international quality is that strong."
Eighteen players who have represented the USA in the World University Games have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, including KU's Jo Jo White, who won gold for the USA at the 1967 World University Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Seven other Jayhawks besides White have competed in the World University Games, the last being Jerod Haase, who won gold for the USA in 1995. Other KU players who have competed for the U.S. in the World University Games include: Dave Robisch in 1970 (silver), Greg Dreiling and Ron Kellogg in 1985 (silver), Mark Randall in 1989 (gold), Adonis Jordan in 1991 (gold) and Richard Scott in 1993 (gold). Additionally, former KU coach Roy Williams was an assistant coach in the 1991 World University Games, and KU Head Team Physician, Dr. Larry Magee, was the USA physician in 1995.
Foreign tours are common to the Kansas men's basketball program under Self. Besides Canadian exhibition games in 2005 and 2009, in August 2012, Kansas played two contests in Switzerland and two in France. Current Jayhawks who competed on that trip include forwards Perry Ellis, Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor, and guards Christian Garrett, Evan Manning and Tyler Self. Ellis also competed on USA Basketball developmental teams in 2009 and 2010.
Jayhawk guard Conner Frankamp helped lead the USA Basketball U17 National team to the gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Kaunas, Lithuania, in the summer of 2012. Additionally, like Ellis, incoming freshman forward Cliff Alexander and guard Kelly Oubre have participated in USA Basketball's Developmental National Team program before coming to KU.
As when Kansas competed in Switzerland and France in August 2012, the World University Games will be under FIBA rules. The most notable differences from the college game are the four, 10-minute quarters and a 24-second shot clock.
Official USA site: http://www.wugusa.com/summer-games/
Official 2015 Summer games site: http://www.gwangju2015.com/?p=3402
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