April 6, 2007
Cedar Falls, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa men's basketball team has been chosen to represent the United States of America at the World University Games, Aug. 7-18, in Bangkok, Thailand.
In past World University Games (also known as "Universiade"), USA Basketball (the sport of basketball's governing body) has selected teams comprised of collegiate players to compete in the event, which is held every two years. However, USA Basketball elected not to organize a team this year, and worked with Basketball Travelers, Inc., to find a team to compete in this summer's World University Games.
UNI will take an 11-member squad to Thailand: Seniors Eric Coleman, Jared Josten and Adam Viet; juniors Travis Brown and Carlton Reed; sophomores Kwadzo Ahelegbe, Jordan Eglseder, Brian Haak and Adam Koch; and redshirt freshmen Kerwin Dunham and Josh Molstead. Only players who were enrolled at UNI during the 2006-07 academic year are eligible to participate.
"I'd like to thank USA Basketball and Basketball Travelers for allowing our team to play in this prestigious event," UNI head men's basketball coach Ben Jacobson said. "It will be a great learning experience for our team as we prepare for the 2007-08 season. Being able to play outstanding international competition, in meaningful games, will be invaluable for us. We'll do our absolute best in preparation and throughout the competition to represent UNI and the United States in a first-class manner."
"This is a tremendous honor for our men's basketball team and our university," said UNI director of athletics Rick Hartzell. "I know the organizers wanted a team of young men and coaches who would represent the USA with the greatest integrity and class. I think that is the greatest compliment that a team and its leadership can get, and for these young men to have this experience is fabulous. I have been a part of two World University Games myself, and this will be a once in a lifetime experience for our team and coaches."
All time, in 18 World University Games, the United States has claimed 13 gold medals in men's basketball, while posting an overall record of 125-7. The 2005 USA World University Games team, coached by Villanova's Jay Wright, won the gold medal, defeating Ukraine in the championship game, 85-70.
At this year's World University Games, the men's basketball competition will begin with four games of pool play from Aug. 7-10. The championship round begins Aug. 12, with the medal games held Aug. 17-18.
Held every two years, the World University Games attracts more than 7,000 athletes from more than 150 participating countries. It is open to student-athletes between the ages of 17 and 25 who are enrolled in full-course study at a university. At the World University Games, the compulsory sports contested are track and field, basketball, fencing, soccer, gymnastics (artistic and rhythmic), swimming, diving, water polo, tennis and volleyball. The optional sports are golf, softball, badminton, shooting and taekwondo.
UNI returns three starters from last year's squad which finished 18-13, 9-9 in the rugged Missouri Valley Conference. Leading the way is second-team all-MVC selection Coleman, who led the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg).