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June 18, 2013

Harrell Makes the Cut

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - For the second-straight summer, University of Louisville men's basketball's Montrezl Harrell will be playing for USA Basketball.

Late Monday evening, the rising sophomore was named to the final 12-man USA Basketball Men's U-19 World Championship Team roster, USA Basketball announced from Colorado Springs, Colo.

Harrell is one of five players from last summer's USA squad that captured the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U-18 Championships in Brazil. The Tarboro, N.C., native played in all five games and led the team in shooting percentage (12-of-15, .800), while grabbing 21 rebounds.

"There were some tough decisions, difficult decisions, but I think we feel overall that we have selected an athletic and versatile team," USA U-19 and Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "Our style of play will be an aggressive, up-tempo, running, pressing style. From an execution standpoint, we've got to get better there, a lot of the other teams over there have been together for quite some time and that's probably a strength of their teams, so we felt that we have to rely on some athleticism.

"These kids being here since Friday, obviously there's been a physical toll on them, but I don't think you can underestimate the mental toll of these kids trying so hard to make the team. Here it is today and they have gone through Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, four pretty difficult days against really difficult competition, and the uncertainty of `am I playing well enough'; `am I going to make the team or not make the team'; that stress, that pressure, I think that adds to their fatigue. So I think getting that behind us now and going forward we can get our guys focused on being the best team. I think the focus up to this point of time by them has been `make the team', `make the team', `make the team', and we've got to now move it towards trying to win."

Harrell concluded freshman campaign playing all 40 games in helping Louisville achieve its third NCAA title in April. During the postseason, Harrell averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game. Notably, he shot 61.5 percent from the field. In the team's BIG EAST title victory over Syracuse, Harrell scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds in just 24 minutes of action.

Training continues on Tuesday (11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m. ET) and once on June 19 (11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.). After heading to Washington, D.C., to train at the Washington Wizards' practice facility from June 20-22, the team will head to the championships in Prague, Czech Republic, from June 24 to July 6.

Assisting Donovan with the 2013 USA U-19 World Championship Team are college coaches Tony Bennett (Virginia) and Shaka Smart (Virginia Commonwealth) as assistants.

The USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee is responsible for player selections for the USA U19 World Championship Team. In addition to chair and NCAA representative Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse), the committee features four additional voting members: NCAA appointees Bob McKillop (head coach, Davidson), Matt Painter (head coach, Purdue) and Lorenzo Romar (head coach, Washington), as well as athlete representative Curtis Sumpter, a 2011 USA Pan American Games and 2004 USA U-20 National Team member.


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