Gwangju, South Korea After the United States’ men’s basketball team earned gold medals in the World University Games with an 84-77, double-overtime victory over Germany on Monday, the Jayhawks’ focus turned to carrying the experience into the 2015-16 NCAA season.
The Jayhawks received unlimited practice time in preparation for the trip to South Korea, and enjoyed playing different styles of teams in the tournament.
“We came over here looking at this as a stepping stone to get better for our team,” KU junior guard Wayne Selden Jr. said. “We did that. And we accomplished a gold medal, which is always a great time.
“I feel great. We’ve got a great group of guys and we’re missing people. We played well and we’re missing people. Imagine when we get those guys back.”
The Jayhawks had to replace junior guard Brannen Greene (hip) and sophomore guard Devonté Graham (quad) for the World University Games because of injuries. Graham traveled to Korea, but didn’t practice or play.
Photographs from Team USA's gold-medal game against Germany Monday, July 13, at the World University Games in South Korea.
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“It’s exciting to me, because we’ve got five really good players back home,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Of course, we picked up (SMU senior) Nic (Moore) and (Florida Gulf Coast senior) Julian (DeBose), but to think about Brannen Greene healthy, and Devonté healthy and Cheick (Diallo) and Svi (Mykhailiuk) and certainly Dwight (Coleby) coming in, that’s a pretty good nucleus that I think we’ll have a lot of fun together.”
In the tournament, the Jayhawks beat Turkey, Brazil, Chile, Switzerland, Serbia, Lithuania, Russia and Germany.
“It’ll help us a lot moving forward,” Mason said. “It gives a lot of guys confidence going into next season. We’re playing against a lot of pros over here and great guys, so definitely it’ll help us out moving into next season.”
Entering the tournament, the Jayhawks weren’t quite sure what to expect from opponents, but they found ways to win the first U.S. gold since 2005.
“To win as a university team, for the most part, when select teams haven’t been able to do it,” Self said, “I think speaks volumes for how hard these kids played over here.”