The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Under-19 World Championship tips on Thursday. Four pools, containing four teams each, will be competing in Prague. The event happens every other year, and the 2011 winner was Lithuania. The US won in 2009, and have won four titles since 1979 (used to be held every four years).
Team USA is stacked as usual, though not as stacked as they could be.
USA U19 player Jerami Grant is unable to participate in the FIBA U19 World Champ after it was learned that he has mononucleosis. #USABMU19
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) June 25, 2013
Grant was replaced by James Robinson from Pitt. The rest of the team is made up of both high school and college players, including Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Michael Frazier (Florida), and Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee).
At least five other teams have legitimate shots at the title, and many contain college players. Team Canada is loaded, and features Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Florida State), Tyler Ennis McIntyre (Syracuse) and Trey Lyles (No. 4 player in ESPN's 2014 ratings).
Team Australia – which is the only team outside of Europe or the US which has won a title – has Dane Pineau (St. Mary's) and Dante Exum (No. 18 at Rivals).
Croatia might be the favorite, as they won last year's U18 Title, and feature Dario Saric who recently pulled out of the NBA draft when he failed to receive a guarantee that he would be drafted in the lottery. Russia, Spain, and Lithuania are also teams to watch.
The USA plays the final game tomorrow, and will face Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast).