Late last night, USA Basketball announced their final cuts for the U-19 Championship squad. The final list included 12 of the nation's finest college and high school players, and among them was Virginia's own Mike Tobey.
The tournament will be held from June 27th through July 7th in Prague, Czech Republic; training has been ongoing in Colorado Springs from the 14th to 19th of June and will continue in Washington, DC from the 20th to 22nd. Held every two years, the U-19 Championship is composed of 16 qualifying teams; though the USA won in 2009, it's Lithuania who enters as this year's defending champion.
Tony Bennett was selected as one of the squad's assistant coaches; he'll work alongside VCU's Shaka Smart and under head coach Billy Donovan of Florida.
Though he loses some workout time with strength and condition coach Mike Curtis in Charottesville, this development is nothing but a positive for Tobey, both from an individual and team perspective. He'll have time to practice against some of the nation's best, then head off to Europe for a string of 10-15 summer games against more top competition.
Mike should see plenty of playing time; first of all, these tournaments tend to feature long rotations, with all 12 on the team likely to see time in most games. Secondly, the roster doesn't have heavy competition for center's minutes. The only other players over 6'7" are Tennessee's 6'8" Jarnell Stokes and 6'10" Jahlil Okafor, who will be a senior in high school and has yet to commit to a college. Mike should have a decent shot at a starting spot. It also helps that Tony Bennett will be there to oversee his player's development and usage.
In USA Basketball's press release Billy Donovan explained, "There were some tough decisions, difficult decisions, but I think we feel overall that we have selected an athletic and versatile team. Our style of play will be an aggressive, up-tempo, running, pressing style."
So that'll be interesting. We'll be following Mike and Coach Bennett's progress this summer in Prague.
|29||Michael Frazier||2016||Florida||Tampa, FL|
|65||Aaron Gordon||2013||Archbishop Mitty H.S./ Arizona||San Jose, CA|
|66||Jerami Grant||2016||Syracuse||Bowie, MD|
|70||Montrezl Harrell||2016||Louisville||Tarboro, NC|
|71||Jahlil Okafor||2014||Whitney Young H.S.||Chicago, IL|
|18||Elfrid Payton||2016||Louisiana at Lafayette||Gretna, LA|
|32||Marcus Smart||2016||Oklahoma State||Flower Mound, TX|
|72||Jarnell Stokes||2015||Tennessee||Memphis, TN|
|26||Rasheed Sulaimon||2016||Duke||Houston, TX|
|67||Mike Tobey||2016||Virginia||Monroe, NY|
|27||Nigel Williams-Goss||2013||Findlay Prep/ Washington||Happy Valley, OR|
|33||Justise Winslow||2014||St. John's H.S.||Houston, TX|
|Head Coach: Billy Donovan, University of Florida|
|Assistant Coach: Tony Bennett, University of Virginia|
|Assistant Coach: Shaka Smart, Virginia Commonwealth University|