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Bruce Weber called upon to coach USA back to U19 World Cup glory
COLORADO SPRINGS (United States) - Bruce Weber will be the man the United States fans hope can lead their team back to the top as USA Basketball named the Kansas State University playcaller as the new head coach for the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019.
Weber will be assisted by Mike Hopkins of University of Washington and LeVelle Moton from North Carolina Central University.
"Bruce Weber, Mike Hopkins and LeVelle Moton have been very successful with each of their programs, and the three together will provide great leadership for the USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team," said Matt Painter, who chairs the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee, responsible for selecting the U.S. coaching staff, which is approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. "With a combination of USA Basketball and NCAA Division I coaching experience, the committee believes these coaches will best represent USA Basketball and create the opportunity to win a gold medal.”
It's an honor to represent Team USA at an event like the World Cup. I appreciate my family, K-State and our staff for allowing me to realize this opportunity. I look forward to getting to work with the players and the rest of the staff and representing our country in Greece. https://t.co/9EQGvypUL1— Bruce Weber (@coachbruceweber) May 14, 2019
Weber will be taking over the USA team after Bill Self guided them to the title at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2018. The United States won the 2013 and 2015 U19 World Cup crowns but then crashed out to Canada in the Semi-Finals in 2017 before bouncing back for third place.
This will be Weber’s first head coaching assignment with USA Basketball after previously serving as an assistant coach, 2009-12 Men’s Junior National Team committee member and court coach.
"It’s an honor to represent Team USA at such a prestigious event like the FIBA U19 World Cup," said Weber. "I have had a long association with USA Basketball as a committee member, court coach and as an assistant to Coach (Gene) Keady for several championships and appreciate the organization’s Board of Directors for giving me this special opportunity to coach some of our country’s best players on the world stage. I look forward to getting to work with the players and staff and representing our country."
Weber's collegiate teams - Kansas State, University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University - have made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2018 and the Elite Eight in 2005 and 2018. He was as assistant to Gene Keady at Purdue University for 18 seasons, also serving as a court coach at trials for the 1991 USA Men’s Pan American Games team, and also spent time with the USA teams for the 1989 World University Games and 1985 R. Williams Jones Cup, which were both led by Keady.
“BRUCE WEBER, MIKE HOPKINS and LeVELLE MOTON HAVE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL WITH EACH OF THEIR PROGRAMS, AND THE THREE TOGETHER WILL PROVIDE GREAT LEADERSHIP FOR THE USA MEN'S U19 WORLD CUP TEAM.”
The U19 World Cup will be Hopkins' second official USA Basketball coaching assignment after serving as the head coach of the 2012 USA Select Team that trained against the 2012 USA Men’s National Team. Hopkins was also a staff assistant for the USA Men’s National Team from 2008 to 2016, including at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games and the 2010 and 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cups.
Moton will see his second stint with USA Basketball after being a court coach at the U19 World Cup training camp in 2015.
“I’m truly humbled and honored to be chosen to represent my country on the highest stage. Words cannot put into context what this means. Since I was a kid, I’ve aspired to wear the letters USA across my chest and I’m grateful that Sean Ford and USA Basketball believed in me. It is truly, truly a blessing," Moton said.
Weber and his staff will hold their training camp from June 15-18 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The final 12-man team is expected to be announced on June 18 with the team due to leave for Greece on June 24. The United States will face Lithuania, New Zealand and Senegal in Group A.