USA! USA! USA! — Kenneth Lofton Jr. makes U19 World Cup Team
Memorial graduate Kenneth Lofton Jr. will represent the United States on the 2021 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team this summer.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs star made the 12-member roster Thursday after going through a six-day training camp in Fort Worth along with 25 other athletes.
Memorial Head Coach Alden Lewis said he has always known Lofton had the ability to get there and play at the highest level.
“It is not that big of a surprise,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t think it is over for him. I think he can go even higher, whether that is the NBA or overseas. He has the talent to do that.”
Lewis watched Lofton grow quite a bit since his freshman year at Memorial.
“As a basketball player and from a maturity standpoint, he has come a long way,” Lewis said. “To grow into this type of player and the guy he is now, speaks volumes about his family, the community and the program.”
The Memorial coach said he talks to Lofton often and meets up with him when he works out in Port Arthur.
The U19 team features six players who completed their first collegiate season and six players from the high school class of 2021.
“This week has been very fulfilling so far, and the process of selecting this 12-player group was really difficult given the amount of talent we have had at training camp,” said Jamie Dixon, Team USA head coach. “Everyone has been working hard, we are growing closer as a group, which is really important.
“I am excited about the team that the committee put together as we now prepare to head overseas to Latvia and compete for a gold medal.”
Lofton made the first round of cuts on June 21 as one of 17 finalists. The official team was selected following 10 training sessions held on the campus of Texas Christian University.
Lofton became the first LA Tech men’s basketball player to earn a spot on the U19 World Cup Team and just the seventh from a current Conference USA school.
USA men’s teams have won seven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal while compiling a 99-14 overall record in U19 World Cup play since the event launched in 1979. The USA has won four of the last six U19 golds since 2009.
The current team is scheduled to continue training on the TCU campus through Monday, then travel to Riga, Latvia, for the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup that will be played July 3-11.
The USA was drawn into Group D, alongside Australia, Mali and Turkey for the July 3-6 FIBA U19 World Cup preliminary round.
The USA will open play against Turkey on July 3 followed by Mali on July 4 and close preliminary play against Australia on July 6.
USA U19 World Cup Team
Patrick Baldwin, Jr. (Hamilton HS/Sussex, Wis.)
Kennedy Chandler (Sunrise Christian Academy, Kan./Memphis, Tenn.)
Jonathan Davis (Wisconsin/La Crosse, Wis.)
Caleb Furst (Blackhawk Christian School/Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Chet Holmgren (Minnehaha Academy/Minneapolis, Minn.)
Harrison Ingram (St. Mark’s School/Dallas, Texas)
Jaden Ivey (Purdue/South Bend, Ind.)
Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton/St. Louis, Mo.)
Kenneth Lofton, Jr. (Louisiana Tech/Port Arthur, Texas)
Mike Miles (TCU/Lancaster, Texas)
Adam Miler (LSU/Chicago, Ill.)
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