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University of Kansas chosen to represent USA in World University Games

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The University of Kansas men’s basketball team was chosen to represent the USA in the 2015 World Games University in Gwangju, South Korea on June 17. The event in July 2015 will match the reigning Big 12 champions - ahem, Team USA - against nations from around the world, most of which will be putting together all-star teams for the tournament.

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The U.S. had previously followed that practice in the past. But after a disappointing showing last year and with some unique scheduling issues for next year's event, the U.S. International University Sports Federation decided it would choose a single program to represent the country.

The U.S. International University Sports Federation used a matrix that included won-loss records over the past five years, the RPI number from recent seasons and the composition of the current roster.

''When you went through the machinery,'' Craig Jonas, the deputy head of the U.S. delegation said, ''Kansas was our No. 1 choice.''

Jonas said that having one school represent the country was an ''experiment,'' but one that the U.S. federation was willing to try.

The 2013 U.S. Team, coached by Davidson’s Bob McKillop, went 6-2 and finished in ninth place in Russia. An American team hasn’t won the gold medal in this competition since 2005.

This is the second time a college team will compete in the World University Games. In 2007, the University of Northern Iowa participated and finished ninth in Bangkok, Thailand.

Participating in the World Games will be beneficial to Kansas.

Coach Bill Self said the Games will give players more national and international exposure because they’ll be seen by NBA and international teams.

“I don’t think you do this for a recruiting nugget, but it’s a by-product of it,” Self said.

This is the second time a college team will compete in the World University Games. In 2007, the University of Northern Iowa participated and finished ninth in Bangkok, Thailand.

To be eligible, players must be between 18 and 25 years old and enrolled in at least one class.

For Kansas' participation, only U.S. citizens can compete and incoming freshmen and transfers qualify. The Kansas travel party, consisting of 12 competitors and staff (24 total), will leave Lawrence June 28 and live in the athlete village throughout the Games.

Unless the Jayhawks have players transfer or turn professional, guards Frank Mason (soph.), Wayne Seldon Jr. (soph.), Andrew White III (jr.), Evan Manning (soph.), Brannen Greene (soph.), Tyler Self (senior) and Connor Frankenkamp (soph.) along with forwards Jamari Traylor (R-jr.), Landen Lucas (R-soph.) and Perry Ellis (jr.) will make the trip.

Also, incoming freshmen Cliff Alexander, Kelly Oubre, Devonte Graham will likely make the trip. However, freshman Sviatolav Mykhailiuk will not play for the Jayhawks as he is a native of Ukraine.

In addition, former players that haven’t graduated and younger than 25 can participate in the games, such as Ben McLemore, who’s currently taking summer classes at the University and will be 23 years old in 2015.

Twenty-four teams will compete in the 2015 Games. There will be four pools of six teams each. Following pool competition, the teams will be seeded for bracket play with the top two teams from each pool battling for a medal.

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