Wright To Try Out For U.S. Team
June 10, 2004BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana junior guard Bracey Wright is one of 24 student-athletes who will compete for a spot on the 2004 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Team, USA Basketball announced today. Athletes eligible for selection to this age-based team include any male who is a U.S. citizen and is 20-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1984). The USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by former Virginia Athletics Director Terry Holland, selected the invitees and will choose the final 12-man roster at the 2004 USA National Team Trials and training camp July 16-23 in East Rutherford, N.J. Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson will direct the U.S. Squad at the 2004 FIBA Americas World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Tournament July 28-Aug. 1 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Sampson will be assisted by Marquette's Tom Crean and Minnesota's Dan Monson.
The World Championship For Young Men and its zone qualifying tournaments are held every four years. The U.S. will compete against seven other teams from the Americas for one of the three Americas Zone qualifying berths for the 2005 FIBA World Championships For Young Men, which will be hosted next summer by Argentina. Featuring eight nations divided into two groups of four, the competition schedule includes a preliminary round with round-robin play between teams in each group July 28-30. The top two finishing teams from each group will advance to the July 31 semifinals, with the gold medal game slated for Aug. 1.
An NABC First Team All-District 10 and All-Big Ten Second Team selection as a sophomore, Wright became the 39th member of Indiana's 1,000 career point club when he scored 20 points against Ohio State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on March 11. Wright is the 10th player to achieve this feat in 60 games or less, and he is currently 38th on the all-time list with 1,022 career points and ninth on the Hoosiers' career three-pointers list with 136. A finalist for The Rupp Award and The Naismith Award, each honoring the nation's most outstanding player, Wright closed the season ranked third in the league in scoring at 18.5 ppg, the best finish by a Hoosier since Kirk Haston was second in 2000-01. Wright also ranked 16th in the league in rebounding (5.4), ninth in free throw percentage (.789) and third in three-point field goals per game (2.41). Wright scored at least 20 points 12 times as a sophomore, and he hit the 25-point plateau on seven separate occasions.
Among the 24 candidates, 18, including Wright, have considerable USA Basketball experience. Wright participated in the 2002 USA Basketball Junior National Team Trials, and he played a key role for the South team that won the bronze medal at the 2001 USA Basketball Men's Youth Development Festival. Wright averaged 10.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists during the Festival, highlighted by a 21-point performance in the bronze medal game.
Wright is one of five Big Ten players on the Trials roster. He is joined by Michigan State's Maurice Ager and Shannon Brown, and Illinois' Deron Williams and Dee Brown. Williams and Wright were high school teammates at The Colony, Texas.
After back surgery sidelined Wright for most of last summer, the 6-3 guard is looking to maximize his playing opportunities this July and August.
"My past experience with USA Basketball really helped me grow as a player and a person, and I appreciate the invitation to try out for this team," Wright said. "I have played with and against a lot of the players who will be at the trials, so I know it will be competitive. Our summer conditioning program here is going real well. We're focused on bouncing back next year, and it's important for me to set the example."
Indiana coach Mike Davis is counting on Wright to be the Hoosiers' team leader in 2004-05, and Davis feels that this opportunity could provide the ideal head start.
"This is a big summer for Bracey, and I know he is going to make the most of it," Davis said. "There are a lot of great players trying out for this team, so this is really an honor. We are going to have a lot of talent on our team next season, but we're also going to be young. It's time for Bracey to step up and take the leadership reins."
2004 USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials Roster
Hassan Adams, Arizona
Maurice Ager, Michigan St.
Sean Banks, Memphis
Josh Boone, Connecticut
Aaron Brooks, Oregon
Dee Brown, Illinois
Shannon Brown, Michigan St.
Justin Gray, Wake Forest
Ryan Hollins, UCLA
Sean May, North Carolina
Rashad McCants, North Carolina
Demetris Nichols, Syracuse
David Padgett, TBD
Chris Paul, Wake Forest
J.J. Redick, Duke
Mustafa Shakur, Arizona
Curtis Sumpter, Villanova
P.J. Tucker, Texas
Charlie Villanueva, Connecticut
C.J. Watson, Tennessee
Deron Williams, Illinois
Eric Williams, Wake Forest
Curtis Withers, Charlotte
Bracey Wright, Indiana
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