Arizona freshman forward Zeke Nnaji was not among the 12 players named to USA Basketball's final U19 World Cup roster Thursday.
Nnaji had been named one of 18 finalists for the team that will travel to Greece for the U19 World Cup starting on June 27 but USA Basketball opted to instead keep big men such as class of 2020 high school prospects Evan Mobley and Scottie Barnes, incoming Villanova freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl as well as two college rising sophomores: Trevion Williams of Purdue and Reggie Perry of Mississippi State.
"It’s been a very, very difficult selection process the last couple of days. One to cut the roster down to 18, and then to get it 12,” said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber, who is serving as USA's U19 head coach. “We had a really talented group of players, there were a lot of guys who could be part of this team.
"I think the thing we have is experience. We have guys who played major college basketball in tough environments, and then we also have another group that has played for USA Basketball at different levels and won gold medals.
“When you think about playing international basketball it’s about toughness, it’s about experience, IQ, and I think that all adds up to why we chose this roster and hopefully moving forward it gives us the best opportunity to win the gold.”
The decision means Nnaji will be expected to return to Arizona and enroll in second summer session course while working out with the Wildcats. He said he is currently taking an online UA course and has moved to Tucson.