Tennessee's C.J. Watson is one of 16 finalists for the USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship Team following three days of trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Eligibility for the 2003 USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship Team is limited to any male athlete who is a U.S. citizen and 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1984). The USA team finalists were selected by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee.
Named finalists for the 2003 USA Basketball Men's Junior World Championship Team were: Mohamed Abukar (Rancho Bernardo / Escondido, Calif.); Maurice Ager (Michigan State / Detroit, Mich.); James Augustine (Illinois / Mokena, Ill.); Brandon Bowman (Georgetown / Santa Monica, Calif.); Daniel Brown (Illinois / Maywood, Ill.); Paul Davis (Michigan State / Rochester, Mich.); Ryan Hollins (UCLA / Pasadena, Calif.); Daniel Horton (Michigan / Cedar Hill, Texas); Al Jefferson (Prentiss High School / Prentiss, Miss.); Brian Johnson (Bishop O'Connell High School, Va. / Glenarden, Md.); Jonathan Modica (Arkansas / Smackover, Ark.); Kevin Pittsnogle (West Virginia / Martinsburg, W.Va.); J.J. Redick (Duke / Roanoke, Va.); C.J.Watson (Tennessee / Las Vegas, Nev.); Deron Williams (Illinois / The Colony, Texas); and Kennedy Winston (Alabama / Prichard, Ala.).
"There may not be a quote/unqoute big name star like we had last year with Carmelo Anthony, but what we have is a team that is really going to play hard," USA junior team mentor and Oregon head coach Ernie Kent said. "It seems that they have a tremendous focus on wanting to be successful in this tournament, and that is a real big positive for us,"
Seven of the USA team hopefuls, Brown, Augustine, Horton, Modica, Pittsnogle, Redick and Watson, claimed all-freshman team honors in their respective conferences. Three of the finalists, Abukar, Jefferson and Johnson, competed at the high school level in 2002-03, with Jefferson and Johnson having completed their junior years in '03.
The USA Junior squad will compete July 10-20 in the 2003 FIBA Men's Junior World Championship Tournament recently moved from Malaysia to Thessaloniki, Greece.