July 10, 2012
Confident Stokes ready for encore
Plenty of college students head overseas in the summer. Few, however, come home with gold medals and a newfound confidence in their low-post game. Jarnell Stokes' is anything but a normal college freshman though, a fact reinforced by his time spent last month helping to lead the USA 18-under team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championships in Brazil.
"It was a great experience, I really enjoyed it, getting to play with a lot those guys I'd competed against in the summers coming up, playing for Billy Donovan, wearing the USA jersey, all that was great. Being able to say I represented my country, that means a lot," Stokes said of the honor. "The only thing I wasn't crazy about was the food. I definitely missed the food when we were in Brazil, I wasn't ready for that."
Stokes shot an amazing 68.9% from the floor in the tournament's five games. His 14.2 points per game were second on the team and he also pulled down 5.6 rebounds per contest in just a little over 20 minutes of action.
The win earns the USA squad an automatic invite to next year's 19-under World Championships
His participation on the USA team also gave him the chance to get back in his own age group after graduating high school early and pulling the unprecedented trick of playing in the SEC as a mid-term enrollee. Going back and facing fellow 18-year olds instead of a steady diet of SEC big men was a little like pedaling a bicycle downhill after a steep climb.
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