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LAWRENCE, Kan. - Kansas sophomore guard Tyshawn Taylor will represent the United States of America as one of 12 players selected as members of the 2009 USA Men's U19 World Championship Team, USA Basketball announced Thursday. The 12-man squad was named after three days of trials featuring 17 of the nation's top 19-and-unders competing at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"I feel pretty good about making the team and I'm excited," Taylor said. "They let us know who made it by bringing all of us into a room and they read off the list of the guys who made it. I was fortunate enough to have my name read off."
The 12 players will remain in Colorado Springs through June 25 to continue training for the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, which will be held July 2-12 in Auckland, New Zealand. The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim.
"It has been tough," Taylor said of the last few days. "We have been having two-a-days and we have had to get up pretty early, but it has been good to get some good work in. Everyone has been playing really hard. The altitude is really hurting a lot of guys out here, but everyone is trying to play through it and the guys that made it deserved it."
Taylor was an impact freshman for the Jayhawks this past season, starting all but two games and being named to the Big 12 Conference All-Rookie Team. The Jersey City, N.J., product was KU's third-leading scorer at 9.7 ppg, and ranked second among Big 12 freshmen in scoring, assists (3.0 spg) and steals (1.1 spg). He reached double figures in scoring in 18 games and had three 20-point efforts. Along with being honored by league coaches as a top rookie, Taylor was selected to the Big 12 All-Freshmen Team by the media, was named to the CBSSportsline.com Freshman All-America Third Team, and was a four-time Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Dec. 5, Dec. 22, Jan. 19, March 2).
Selected to represent the United States at the FIBA U19 World Championship were: DeAngelo Casto (Washington State/Spokane, Wash.), Seth Curry (Duke/Charlotte, N.C.), Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh/Scotch Plains, N.J.) , Gordon Hayward (Butler/Brownsburg, Ind.), Shelvin Mack (Butler/Lexington, Ky.), Darius Miller (Kentucky/Maysville, Ky.), Arnett Moultrie (UTEP/Memphis, Tenn.), John Shurna (Northwestern/Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas/Jersey City, N.J.), Howard Thompkins (Georgia/Lithonia, Ga.), Klay Thompson (Washington State/Ladera Ranch, Calif.) and Terrico White (Mississippi/Memphis, Tenn.).
All 12 selected athletes recently completed their freshman year at a NCAA Division I school. Washington State University, with Casto and Thompson, and Butler University, with Hayward and Mack, are the only colleges with multiple players making the 12-man roster.
Nine athletes listed among their NCAA conference all-freshman squads following the 2008-09 season, including three who were named their conference's freshman of the year. Curry was named Big South Conference Freshman of the Year; Hayward was named Horizon League Conference Newcomer of the Year; and White was named Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year. Also named to their respective all-freshman teams were: Casto (Pacific-10); Mack (Horizon League); Moultrie (Conference USA); Taylor (Big 12); Thompkins (SEC); and Thompson (Pacific-10).
Additionally, Hayward was named to the CBSSportsline.com Freshman All-America second team and to the FoxSports.com National All-Freshmen team; and White was named to the CBSSportsline.com Freshman All-America second team.
The 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship features 16 national teams comprised of athletes 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1990) that qualified through their FIBA zone tournaments.
Fellow KU sophmore guard Travis Releford was a member of the USA Basketball Men's U18 team which won silver in summer 2008 at teh FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Formosa, Argentina.
"Travis (Releford) was able to do this last year, and I am looking forward to representing Kansas this year," Taylor said. "I am sure everyone is proud of me back at home, and I am just thankful that I was able to get this opportunity."
Tyshawn Taylor: On his feelings of making the team:
"I feel pretty good about making the team and I'm excited. They let us know who made it by bringing all of us into a room and they read off the list of the guys who made it. I was fortunate enough to have my name read off."
On what the last few days have been like:
"It has been tough. We have been having two-a-days and we have had to get up pretty early, but it has been good to get some good work in. Everyone has been playing really hard. The altitude is really hurting a lot of guys out here, but everyone is trying to play through it and the guys that made it deserved it."
On the competition at the guard position:
"It was tough because there are a lot of good players here. There are a lot of guys in my age group that are very good, but everyone was here just competing."
On where he felt he stood out:
"There weren't many drills that we did. We mostly just got together and scrimmaged. I feel as if they based the selection of the team on how the guys did in the scrimmages. I think I stood out a bit because I did a good job of playing defense and I worked hard. I also did a good job of making shots, and that didn't hurt at all. I was a team player, and often times when guys get around things like this they start trying to impress people and they try to do too much. I was just playing my game and trying to be a team player."
On where the team goes from here:
"We leave June 24 to go to New Zealand, and we are there until July 11. We are just going to work out and practice now that we have our team in order. Now we have to start practicing and become a team, not just 12 individual players. I think we have a long way to go, but we are going to be fine. We had a team meeting and the coaches told us that now was the time that we had to start becoming a team. They talked to us about the 2008 Olympic team with LeBron (James) and Kobe (Bryant) and how they played as a team and the successes they had because of it."
On representing his country and Kansas:
"Travis (Releford) was able to do this last year, and I am looking forward to representing Kansas this year. I am sure everyone is proud of me back at home and I am just thankful that I was able to get this opportunity."