After completing one last workout in the ARC before heading home to Staten Island to pack for his flight to France, Siena senior OD Anosike spoke about the opportunity to play for the United States of America in the World Championships as a member of the u22 Elite National Team.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be selected. It’s a testament to the program we have here, the exposure that we get. I’m looking forward to the competition. From what I understand it’s a tremendous venue. American players are highly regarded out there so it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”
The three day event to be held this Saturday, Sunday and Monday will feature teams from Spain, Poland, Denmark, Serbia, Canada, Russia and France. The US team is coached by Linzy Davis, a renowned international and AAU coach from Georgia Elite who reached out to Anosike and now former Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro about a month ago to express interest in having him join the roster.
“Coach Davis said I was one of the first guys he had on his radar.” said Anosike. “He said he needed a tremendous rebounder, that they needed an inside player and that I’d be a good fit for the team. So, Coach and I thought it would be a good idea if I accepted the invitation and I’m really excited to get out there.”
Anosike, who is exploring his options as he prepares for his professional basketball career, reached out to his many resources for advice after leaning of the opportunity.
“I reached out to Coach McCaffery. I reached out to Bill Parcells. He knows a lot of people. I reached out to my sister and I reached out to my agent who’s well connected. After talking to Coach Davis and after doing my own research, last year 15 of the NBA teams were represented. We expect at least the same if not more. The exposure that we’re gonna get is second to none especially at this time of the year.”
The team will consist of many of the nation’s top players in the u22 age group. Former members of the team include NBA All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant as well as Spencer Hayes, Thaddeus Young, Rudy Gay, Tywon Lawson, Jordan Hamilton, Lamarcus Aldridge, Brook and Robin Lopez, Josh Boone and 17 other current NBA players. Many more USA Elite alumni are playing professionally in FIBA.
“It’s gonna be a lot of fun.” Anosike said. “I do know a couple of the players, Momo Jones (Iona) is going. Just looking at the body of work in the organization and guys who have played before, names like Kevin Durant, Carmello Anthony, Thaddeus Young the list goes on and on. Any time I can get mentioned in the same breath as guys like that it’s a good feeling.”
After recently finishing a frustrating 8-24 season, Anosike feels some consolation in knowing his efforts did not go unnoticed.
“Obviously we didn’t have the season that we wanted to but at the same time it’s nice to know that my individual stats and accolades weren’t overlooked by anybody” said Anosike. “They really took notice to my ability. I have to move forward with my professional career and this is a great stepping stone. My individual stats kind of speak for themselves. Having the opportunity to lead the country in rebounding for the second year in a row is a tremendous accomplishment and it’s gonna be my calling card for the rest of my career. Obviously great rebounders are needed everywhere. I think NBA teams have taken notice to it.”
Anosike plans to play to his strengths when he steps on the floor in Tourcoing, France.
“I’m just gonna do exactly what’s gotten me here. I’m not gonna go out and deviate from that. I’m gonna simply rebound the ball. That’s what I do and that’s what they need me to do. I’m gonna be an inside threat. I’m gonna try to score the ball whenever I get the opportunity. I’m gonna do what’s gotten me here and what’s gotten me this honor.”
Speaking humbly yet with a great sense of pride, Anosike described his feeling about switching from wearing the green and gold, to the red, white and blue.
“To watch the Olympics and see guys like Lebron and Carmello and those guys and the tremendous amount of courage and prestige that they wear that jersey with it’s unbelievable” Anosike said. “So, when I get the chance to put that on (the uniform) I’m gonna think about my school. I’m gonna think about my family. I’m gonna think about my team and probably most importantly I’m gonna think about my country.”
Receiving this opportunity has given Anosike a renewed sense of purpose as he embarks on a new chapter in his basketball life.
“It’s a tremendous motivator” said Anosike. “When I just think about wearing the red, white and blue, when I think about representing my country, when I think about all the people who didn’t get the opportunity like this and I do have it, I want to seize the moment. So, this weekend I’m gonna live in the moment. I’m gonna think about the hard times I had these passed 4 years and I’m gonna try to rectify it.
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