Butler forward Gordon Hayward, who helped the Bulldogs to one of the best basketball campaigns in school history, has been invited to participate in the 2009 USA U19 National Team Trials, which will be held June 16-18 at the U. S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. He's one of 17 basketball players, 19-and-under, competing for 12 spots on the national team.
The trials' invitations were extended by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. The 17 players included 15 student-athletes who recently completed their freshman season at NCAA Division I schools, plus two who just finished high school.
Four of the invited players are returning USA Basketball veterans. Connecticut's Kemba Walker was named MVP of the 2008 FIBA Americas Championship that qualified the U.S. for this year's World Championship, while Villanova's Dominic Cheek was a member of the 2008 U. S. squad. Al-Farouq Aminu of Wake Forest and Drew Gordon of UCLA played together on the 2007 Youth Developmental Festival Red Team and the 2008 USA Junior Select Team.
Rounding out the roster for the trials are Hayward, Kenny Boynton of Florida, Darryl Bryant of West Virginia, DeAngelo Casto of Washington State, Seth Curry of Duke, Darius Miller of Kentucky, Arnett Moultrie of UTEP, Ralph Sampson III of Minnesota, John Shurna of Northwestern, Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas, Howard Thompkins of Georgia, Klay Thompson of Washington State and Terrico White of Mississippi. Boynton and Cheek were 2009 McDonald's All-Americans as seniors in high school.
Hayward started all 32 games for the 26-6 Bulldogs, who won the Horizon League regular season championship and advanced to the NCAA Division I national tournament. He led the Bulldogs, who were ranked in the "Top 25" (A.P. & ESPN/USA Today) for 12 consecutive weeks, in free throw shooting (.815), three-point field goal shooting (.448), three-point field goals (69), steals (48) and minutes played (32.7), and he finished second on the team in scoring (13.1) and rebounding (6.5). The 6-8 forward was named first team All-Horizon League and was selected as the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year. He was named to the National All-Freshman Team by FoxSports.com.
Following the trials, the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee will announce finalists for the 12-member U.S. Team, which will be coached by Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh. Training camp for the selected finalists will begin June 19, with the USA roster being announced prior to the team's departure for New Zealand on June 25.
Sixteen nations will battle for the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men title. The United States has been placed in Group B, along with Egypt, France and Iran. Angola, Greece, Lithuania and Puerto Rico will make up Group A, Australia, Canada, Spain and Syria are in Group C and Argentina, Croatia, Kazakhstan and host New Zealand make up Group D. The U.S. will play Iran on July 2, France on July 3 and Egypt on July 4. The second round will be played July 6-8 with the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship slated for July 10-12.