Virginia's Tony Bennett will once again represent his country this summer as a basketball coach. And two of his players will have a chance to earn the same opportunity.
USA Basketball has added Bennett as an assistant coach for the U19 World Championship team that will compete in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in the Czech Republic from June 27-July 7. Bennett and Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart will serve as assistants for the team's head coach, Florida's Billy Donovan.
“I’m honored to serve USA Basketball in my assistant role with the U19 World Championship Team,” Bennett said in a Virginia release on Wednesday. “I have tremendous memories representing USA Basketball as a player in the U.S. Olympic Festival and Pan American Games, and I’m really looking forward to coaching some of our best young players in the country.”
Two of Bennett's players at Virginia -- senior guard Joe Harris and sophomore center/forward Mike Tobey -- have also been invited by USA Basketball to audition for two if its teams. Harris was invited to training camp for the 2013 World University Games, while Tobey will try out for the U19 World Championship Team.
“I’m really happy and proud of Joe and Mike,” Bennett said. “These invitations were earned through a lot of hard work and dedication to basketball. They will have an opportunity to showcase their talents against high-level competition this summer. I’m sure they will represent Virginia well at the tryouts and give it their best shot to earn a roster spot.”
The opportunity is Bennett's fourth appearance with USA Basketball, and his second as a coach. He won a bronze medal with the 1991 Pan-Am Games Team, averaging 6.1 points and a team-high 23 assists in seven games. He also won a gold medal in 1989 at the U.S. Olympic Festival, and served as a court coach during training camp for the 2011 USA World University Games Team.
Harris will compete for a one of 12 roster spots on Team USA for the World University Games, which will be played in Russia from July 7-16. Harris was an All-ACC selection last year after leading the Cavaliers with 16.3 points per game. Training camp for Team USA will be held June 24-July 1.
Tobey will attend the U19 training camp from June 14-19. He averaged 6.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a freshman last season.