Stepp Invited To USA Basketball Trials

May 15, 2003

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Gonzaga University senior guard Blake Stepp is one of 52 players who have been invited to the 2003 USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials later this month in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The list of invitees features 25 players who earned collegiate all-conference honors in 2002-03 and 15 college freshmen who were named to their conference all-freshman teams. The Trials will be held May 30-June 1 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee which is chaired by Terry Holland, former University of Virginia athletics director.

Stepp averaged 18.0 ppg, 6.0 assists and 3.7 rpg in earning All-West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors in helping Gonzaga to the regular-season title, a spot in the WCC Tournament championship game and to an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs, making their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, defeated the University of Cincinnati in the first round and lost to the University of Arizona in double overtime in the second round.

Stepp paced the WCC in scoring in conference play at 20.6 ppg. He also led the conference for overall games in assists (6.0/game) and in 3-point field goals made (98). The Eugene, Ore., native ranked ranked in the top five in scoring (T2nd/18.0 ppg), free throw percentage (T3rd/83.3) and steals (2nd/1.6/game). He is second in Gonzaga single-season 3-pointers (98) and 3-point attempts (243), third in assists (198) and is fifth in steals (54).

On the career charts he is 14th in career scoring at Gonzaga (1,217), fourth in 3-pointers (209), third in 3-point attempts (545), third in assists (433), tied for fifth in steals (116), ninth in free throw percentage (80.8) and eighth in free throws made (298).

In addition to earning WCC Player of the Year accolades, he was also named to the NABC All-District 14 first team, Basketball Times West Coast All-Region team, Verizon/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America third team, Verizon/CoSIDA All-District VIII All-Academic team and to WCC All-Academic team with 3.21 GPA in business administration.

The USA Collegiate Committee will select finalists from the Trials for two USA Basketball teams - 2003 USA Basketball Junior World Championship Team and 2003 USA Pan American Games Team. Of the 51 players, 28, because they are older than 19-years-old, will be eligible only for consideration for the Pan Am Games team. Stepp falls into that category. The other 24 players will be eligible for either the Pan American Games or Junior World Championship Teams. To be eligible for the USA Junior World Championship squad a player must be 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1984).

The first Trials session will be held on Friday, May 30 from 5-7 p.m. MDT, with two sessions, 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m., scheduled for Saturday, May 31, and one final practice session to be conducted 8:30-10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 1.

The Trials will determine finalists for the 2003 USA Men's Pan American Games Team. The Pan American Games, held every four years in the year prior to the Olympics, will be held Aug. 1-17, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The men's basketball competition is slated for Aug. 2-6. The field of teams in men's basketball, which will include teams from eight nations, is not yet known.

The United States will be directed by Michigan State University mentor Tom Izzo, and his assistants include college head coaches Lorenzo Romar of the University of Washington and Quin Snyder of the University of Missouri.

The 52 invitees accepting their invitation were: Mohamed Abukar (Rancho Bernardo / Escondido, Calif.); Maurice Ager (Michigan State / Detroit, Mich.); DeAngelo Alexander (Oklahoma / Midwest City, Okla.); James Augustine (Illinois / Mokena, Ill.); Kelenna Azubuike (Kentucky / Tulsa, Okla.); Kevin Bookout (Oklahoma / Stroud, Okla.); Timmy Bowers (Mississippi State / Gulfport, Miss.); Brandon Bowman (Georgetown / Santa Monica, Calif.); Daniel Brown (Illinois / Maywood, Ill.); Graham Brown (Michigan / Mio, Mich.); Derrick Byars (Virginia / Memphis, Tenn.); Josh Childress (Stanford / Los Angeles, Calif.); Keydren Clark (St. Peters / New York, N.Y.); Paul Davis (Michigan State / Rochester, Mich.); Ike Diogu (Arizona State / Garland, Texas); Chris Duhon (Duke / Slidell, La.); Daniel Ewing (Duke / Missouri City, Texas); Desmon Farmer (USC / Flint, Mich.); Gerald Fitch (Kentucky / Macon, Ga.); Torin Francis (Notre Dame / Roslindale, Mass.); Tim Frost (Utah / Klamath Falls, Ore.); Channing Frye (Arizona / Phoenix, Ariz.); Daniel Gibson (Jessie H. Jones High School / Houston, Texas); Ben Gordon (Connecticut / Mt. Vernon, N.Y.); Ivan Harris (Oak Hill Academy, Va. / Springfield, Ohio); David Harrison (Colorado / Nashville, Tenn.); Chris Hill (Michigan State / Indianapolis, Ind.); Julius Hodge (North Carolina State / New York, N.Y.); Ryan Hollins (UCLA / Pasadena, Calif.); Daniel Horton (Michigan / Cedar Hill, Texas); Luke Jackson (Oregon / Creswell, Ore.); Al Jefferson (Prentiss High School / Prentiss, Miss.); Arthur Johnson (Missouri / Detroit, Mich.); Brian Johnson (Bishop O'Connell High School, Va. / Glenarden, Md.); Gerry McNamara (Syracuse / Scranton, Pa.); Jonathan Modica (Arkansas / Smackover, Ark.); Brandon Mouton (Texas / Lafayette, La.); Matt Nelson (Colorado State / Chicago, Ill.); Steve Novak (Marquette / Brown Deer, Wi s.); Emeka Okafor (Connecticut / Houston, Texas); Ricky Paulding (Missouri / Detroit, Mich.); Kevin Pittsnogle (West Virginia / Martinsburg, W.Va.); J.J. Redick (Duke / Roanoke, Va.); Lawrence Roberts (Baylor / Houston, Texas); Craig Smith (Boston College / Los Angeles, Calif.); Marcellus Sommerville (Southwestern Illinois College / Peoria, Ill.); Blake Stepp (Gonzaga / Eugene, Ore.); Alando Tucker (Wisconsin / Lockport, Ill.); C.J. Watson (Tennessee / Las Vegas, Nev.); Deron Williams (Illinois / The Colony, Texas); Shelden Williams (Duke / Forest Park, Okla.); and Kennedy Winston (Alabama / Prichard, Ala.).

The USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, in addition to chair Holland, consists of: NCAA appointees Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse University, N.Y.); Rob Evans (head coach, Arizona State University); Jim O'Brien (head coach, Ohio State University) and Tubby Smith (head coach, University of Kentucky); NABC appointee Oliver Purnell (head coach, Clemson University, S.C.); NAIA appointee Ralph Turner (head coach, Union University, Tenn.); NJCAA appointee Dan Sparks (head coach, Vincennes University, Ind.), and athlete representatives Steve Wojciechowski (1995 Junior World Championship team / assistant coach, Duke University, N.C.) and A.J. Wynder (1995 Pan American Games team / head coach, Nassau Community College, N.Y.).

2003 USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials Schedule
(All Times Mountain Daylight Time)

Friday, May 30

Session #1
- 4:00-7:00 p.m. U.S. Olympic Training Center, Sports Center II , Colorado Springs, Colorado

Saturday, May 31

Session #2
- 9:30-11:30 a.m. U.S. Olympic Training Center, Sports Center II , Colorado Springs, Colorado
Session #3 - 5:30-7:30 p.m. U.S. Olympic Training Center, Sports Center II , Colorado Springs, Colorado

Sunday, June 1

Session #4
- 8:30-10:00 a.m. U.S. Olympic Training Center, Sports Center II , Colorado Springs, Colorado



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