U.S. schedule set for Schweitzer hoop tourney
MANNHEIM, Germany — The 16 national youth teams that will compete in the Albert Schweitzer International Youth Basketball Tournament and the schedule for the biennial tournament’s early rounds were announced at a news conference Thursday.
But the day’s biggest news was the announcement by German Basketball Federation vice president Ingo Weiss that his organization hopes to move the 2008 semifinals and final from their home since 1958 at the Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena to the ultramodern SAP Arena here.
“We have 25,000 spectators for the tournament,” Weiss said, “and could accomodate many more in the SAP Arena. We hope to have the details worked out in time for the 2008 tournament.”
The climactic games of year’s tournament, which will run April 15-22 at the BFV Sports Arena and the new MWS Halle am Herzogenried in the Mannheim suburb of Neckarstadt, again will be held at the U.S. base’s arena, despite its capacity of 1,100 or so.
In addition, the U.S. team, composed of 10 U.S.-based college prospects and DODDS-Europe stars Marvin Gholston of Bamberg and C.J. Battle of Giessen, will play all of its games at BFV.
The schedule released Thursday has the U.S. playing its Group D opponents the first three days of the event. The Americans take on Croatia at 6 p.m. April 15, and Israel and Spain at 8 p.m. the next two days. After a day off, the top two teams from each of the four groups advance to cross-pool play to determine the semifinalists.The title game is April 22.
Other teams in the tournament for players younger than 18 are defending champs Turkey, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, Lithuania and Serbia-Montenegro fom Europe, along with Canada, China and Australia. Argentina, one of the crowd favorites at the 2004 tournament, skipped this year because of organizational diffiiculties, Weiss said at the news conference.
The U.S., which has won the event a record 10 times since 1973, finished fifth in 2004. The Americans have not won the tourney since 1996.
Among the high school stars expected to play this year are 6-foot-10 Minnesotan Chris Aldrich, rated the nation’s No. 1 pivot prospect in the class of 2007 by Scout.com and who has committed to play for Kansas, and a pair of Syracuse-bound Philadelphians, 6-8 forward Rich Jackson and 6-2 guard Antonio Jardine.
The highest scorer from the U.S. is Reno, Nev., junior Luke Babbitt, who averaged 26 points per game. Forward Sam Muldrow of Myrtle Beach, S.C., a 6-10 junior, averages 23.1 points, 14.3 rebounds and 6.5 blocks.
Miami-area seniors Edwin Rios, committed to the University of Miami, and Josue Soto, who’s bound for Florida State, should handle point guard duties for the U.S. Also making the U.S. squad are Lakewood, Ohio, junior Matt Salay, and 6-5 senior Andre McFarland of Las Vegas.
Tickets for the tournament are available online through the Web site, www.ast-basketball.de. Prices are $10 for adults and $6 for youths for the first four sessions, $12 and $8 for the semifinals and $17 and $11 for the finals.