“It is an honor to be amongst a talented group of players invited to participate in the training camp,” said Mbakwe. “I want to thank USA Basketball for giving me the opportunity. It would be an unbelievable honor to represent the State of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota at the World University Games.”
The training camp, which will be held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be used to select the 12-member team that will represent the USA at the 2011 World University Games men’s basketball competition Aug. 13-23 in Shenzhen, China.
The USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by NCAA representative Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse University), is expected on July 31 to announce finalists for the 2011 USA World University Games Team. Training camp will continue July 31-Aug. 7 at the USOTC, with the official roster being announced prior to the teams’ departure for China on Aug. 8.
Mbakwe, a Second Team All-Big Ten selection as a junior, led the Big Ten Conference in rebounding at 10.5 rpg to go along with 13.9 ppg, making him the first Gopher player since Kris Humphries (2003-04) to average a double-double and lead the league in rebounding.
He put together 19 double-double games in 2010-11, tops in the Big Ten and tied for second on the Gophers’ single-season record list. Mychal Thompson sits atop that list with 21 double-double games during the 1975-76 season.
Also, Mbakwe’s 327 rebounds last season are the third-most in a single-season at Minnesota and the most since Jim Brewer pulled down 331 boards during the 1970-71 season.
The World University Games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born between Jan. 1, 1987 and Dec. 31, 1993), who are or have been within the past year, a student at a college or university.
The United States, which has claimed a medal in every World University Games since beginning play in 1965, has captured a record 13 golds, three silvers and three bronze medals in the 19 WUGs in which a USA Basketball men’s squad has competed. Overall, the USA owns a 131-8 won- loss record in World University Games play.
-MORE-The United States captured six of the first seven gold medals awarded in World University Games competition and strung together six consecutive gold medals from 1989 through 1999. Most recently, the 2009 USA team earned the bronze medal after finishing 6-1 and suffering a one- point loss to Russia in the semifinals.
Eighteen players who have represented the USA in the World University Games have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, including Ray Allen, Stacey Augmon, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Bill Bradley, Quinn Buckner, Tom Burleson, Ken Davis, Tim Duncan, Phil Hubbard, Allen Iverson, Mitch Kupchak, Karl Malone, Michael Redd, Mitch Richmond, Michael Silliman, Steve Smith and Jo Jo White.