Sumpter selected for USA Team

Courtney Scrib

For starting basketball forward Curtis Sumpter, the summer was far from just another day at the beach.

In early June, USA Basketball invited the Brooklyn native, along with 22 other elite collegiate players, to try out for the team that would represent the United States in the World Championships for Young Men Qualifying Tournament in Nova Scotia.

Upon arriving at the training camp at East Rutherford, N.J., Sumpter immediately noticed the high intensity of the competition.

Nevertheless, he stepped up, played hard and survived the first round of cuts made by the selection committe. The committee was chaired by the former University of Virginia Athletic Director Terry Holland.

Unfortunately, Sumpter experienced a different fate in the next round of selection and was eliminated from consideration for the 12-member team.

Or so he thought.

Two days later Wright received a call from the committee informing him that Wake Forest’s Eric Williams had suffered an illness. Sumpter was then asked to return top the New Jersey Nets practice facility to try out once more. Twenty-four hours later, Sumpter was officially named to the team. By doing so, Sumpter became the first Wildcat to represent the United States since 1995, when former Villanova all-stars Kerry Kittles and Jason Lawson participated in the World University Games. Both players have had successful post-collegiate careers in basketball.

“It was a little confusing there for a time, but it worked out in the end,” Sumpter told “To be one of the 12 to represent the country is really a great honor,” he added.

Villanova men’s basketball head coach, Jay Wright, attributed Sumpter’s selection to his relentless work ethic.

“I am very happy and proud of Curtis,” Wright told “In his two years at Villanova, he has worked extremely hard to put himself into this position. This is truly an example of his tremendous work ethic.”

During their trip to Canada in mid-July, Sumpter and his teammates consistently dominated the competition. Sumpter’s teammates included Charlie Villanueva from the University of Connecticut, Hassan Adams from the University of Arizona and P.J. Tucker from the University of Texas.

On Aug. 1, the USA Basketball’s 20-and-under squad (5-0), coached by Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson, capped off a successful tournament with a 97-86 victory over Puerto Rico to claim the gold medal.

Although Sumpter saw little playing time throughout the international tournament, he considered himself lucky to be a part of the USA team and to play alongside some of the best college players in the country.

Sumpter, averaged 14.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Wildcats during the 2003-04 basketball season.