The summer has gotten off to a good start for Louisville sophomore Chinanu Onuaku. Not only has he improved his free throw shooting by going with the underhanded shot, but he went and tried out for the USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team with 20 other players and ended up making the final roster of 12.
The USA U19 squad will look to defend its 2013 U19 gold at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship from June 27-July 5 in Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1996). Former UofL forward Montrezl Harrell was a member of the 2013 gold medal winning team.
The 6-10, 230-pound Onuaku from Lanham, Md., started 26 games as a freshman in helping the Cardinals post a 27-9 record last season, reaching the final eight teams in the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last eight years. An All-ACC Academic team selection, Onuaku averaged 3.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and was ninth in the ACC with 42 blocked shots last season.
The 2015 USA Men’s U19 World Championship Team will be led by Sean Miller (Arizona), along with USA assistant coaches Ed Cooley (Providence) and Archie Miller (Dayton).
“I thought the 16 players, really everybody, but especially when we got it to 16, they did a fantastic job. Each one of them should leave here, especially the four that didn’t make it, with no regrets. The 12 that made it are excellent players and really talented,” said Sean Miller, who served as an assistant coach for the 2014 USA U18 National Team that finished 5-0 and qualified the U.S. for the FIBA U19 World Championship.
“Obviously it was a hard fight to make this team because of the talent. The thing that we like a lot is the fact that we have eight players of the 12 that have competed and won a gold medal, several have won multiple gold medals. We have a lot of versatility in our lineup, we have players that can play more than one position and I think playing pressure basketball like we want to play defensively and offensively, that we have the depth, athleticism and quickness, and also some shooting that will really allow us to play a style that we can be successful at,” added Miller.
Isaiah Briscoe (Roselle Catholic H.S./Union, N.J.)
Jalen Brunson (Stevenson H.S./Lincolnshire, Ill.)
Terrance Ferguson (Homeschooled/Dallas, Texas)
Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Josh Jackson (Prolific Prep, Calif./Southfield, Mich.)
Chinanu Onuaku (Louisville/Lanham, MD)
Caleb Swanigan (Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep/St. Louis, Mo.)
Allonzo Trier (Findlay Prep, Nev./Seattle, Wash.)
Jawun Evans (Kimball H.S./Dallas, Texas)
L.J. Peak (Georgetown/Gaffney, S.C.)
Thomas Welsh (UCLA/Redondo Beach, Calif.).