Siena commit to represent team Canada at FIBA U19 tournament

LOUDONVILLE — Incoming Siena Basketball freshman Prince Oduro will represent his native Canada at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 in Cairo, Egypt July 1-9. The Toronto, Ontario standout was one of just 12 players named to the Canada U19 National Team earlier this month.

“It means a lot to me to have been selected for the National Team,” said Oduro. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I started playing basketball, and it just shows how hard I’ve worked since I left home to go to school in the states.”

Oduro and Team Canada have been placed in Group C of the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup, and will open play in the 16-team, four-group tournament vs. Mali on Saturday, July 1 in Cairo at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Ranked third in the world according to the latest FIBA Youth Men’s Rankings, Canada continues group play with matchups vs. Spain on July 2 (10 a.m. EST) and against Japan on July 4 (7:45 a.m. EST). Final Phase play begins on July 5, and all games can be viewed live on FIBA’s YouTube Channel.

A 6’8”, 230-pound forward, Oduro trained with the national team in Mississauga, Ontario June 15-20, before embarking with Team Canada on a three-game exhibition series in Troyes, France June 24-26. Canada dropped its exhibition opener to the host French 70-64 in a game started by Oduro, before bouncing back to record impressive wins over both Lithuania (102-82) and Spain (88-72), which are ranked No. 2 and No. 5 in the World, respectively.

“There are some really good players on this team, and I think that both having the opportunity to play with them as well as playing against some of the best players my age in the world will help prepare me for making the transition to playing in college,” added Oduro. “Playing in the World Cup is going to be a great opportunity for me to see what areas of my game I really need to improve upon to be ready for college.”

He averaged 13 points and 11 rebounds this past season for First Love Christian Academy in Washington, Pennsylvania, after having played in high school for Earl Haig Secondary in his native Canada. He led First Love to a 24-3 record and Slam National Post-Grad Championship appearance in March. A highly-coveted prospect who received extensive high-major interest, Oduro was ranked a two-start prospect by Verbal Commits, received a Scouts Grade of 69, and was ranked as the 81st best player at his position in his recruiting class. Rated the 10th best Canadian player in his class overall according to Hoops Hype Canada’s FAB 40 National Rankings, he also competed for Canada Elite on the Under Armour AAU circuit.

“Prince is one of the most talented recruits we’ve had since we’ve gotten here, and he’s only getting better,” remarked head coach Jimmy Patsos upon Oduro’s signing of his National Letter of Intent during the early signing period in November. “He has the ability to play right away, and, with losing four seniors, we expect him to come in and play a lot from day one.”

Oduro is set to headline a talented incoming Siena Basketball freshman class which includes Maryland swingman Manny Camper, Minnesota guard Jordan Horn, and Illinois point guard Roman Penn. The Saints posted a 17-17 overall record and tied for third in the conference with a 12-8 league mark this past winter, advancing to the program’s first MAAC Championship Game in seven years.

-Miek Demos/Siena Athletics

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