WASHINGTON, D.C. — Earlier this week, Syracuse sophomore forward Jerami Grant was selected for USA Basketball’s Under 19 team. The team will compete in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship from June 24 to July 6 in Prague, Czech Republic.
The team was at the Washington Wizards Practice Facility on Thursday evening, and we caught up with Jerami to talk to him about his experiences with Team USA and his goals for the 2013-14 season.
The Juice Online: What has your experience been like with the U19 team?
Jerami Grant: It’s definitely been a good experience coming out here and making this team, playing for my country. I’m hoping to win a gold medal.
TJO: What has it been like playing for the different coaches?
JG: It’s definitely great playing for all of these coaches, coach (Billy) Donovan, coach (Shaka) Smart, coach (Tony) Bennett. It’s definitely good seeing the different styles of play.
TJO: What did coach Jim Boeheim tell you to work on over the summer?
JG: He told me to get stronger. Gain a little weight. And also to work on my jump shot.
TJO: What do you think of the incoming freshman class?
JG: I got to meet all of the new freshman at least once. They’re all good guys. They’re definitely going to help us next year.
TJO: Who is going to be a breakout player for SU this year?
JG: A lot of players. Definitely look out for Mike Gbinije, Duke transfer. He’s going to come in and provide a lot of offense.
TJO: Incoming freshman Tyler Ennis was selected for the Canadian U19 team. If he drives on you, are you going to block it?
JG: Definitely going to block it. Going to show him what’s going to happen next year in practice. Nothing easy at all.
TJO: What kind of role do you expect to play in the 2013-14 season?
JG: Definitely to have a bigger role, whatever it is, and to try to win a national championship. Try to top what we did last year, making it to the Final Four. Our team is capable of doing that.
TJO: Was it frustrating going from playing a lot when James Southerland was out, to not playing as much when he returned?
JG: Definitely frustrating. Every freshman goes through their ups and downs. I wasn’t alone. Just being a mature player, I had to fight through it. I could’ve helped the team a little more, but he was a senior, and we wanted to send him out the right way.
TJO: What are you looking forward to about the new conference?
JG: Just going to to the ACC and showing everybody what we can do, showing how Syracuse plays, and showing them that we can do it in any conference.