Ireland U20 men's head coach Paudie Fleming has named his final 12-man squad for the FIBA European Championships, which take place in Tbilisi, Georgia from July 15th-24th.
Lafayette College's CJ Fulton, who won the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries with the Ireland senior squad in 2021 and has been included in the extended squad for two upcoming FIBA EuroBasket games, will bring some vital experience to a talented roster. Two other players, Assumption University forward Rapolas Buivydas and Ulster University's Darragh Ferguson will also look to use their experience and leadership to good effect in Georgia.
Darragh Ferguson in action against Switzerland .
Five players are in line for a debut at this grade - Samuel Alajiki, Robert Graham, Sean McCarthy, Jamie Muldowney and Jake Verschoyle.
Three of those - Alajiki, McCarthy and Muldowney are currently playing collegiately in the United States, with Robert Graham plying his trade in the British Basketball League with Cheshire Phoenix, whom he helped to a 6th place finish during the 2021/22 regular season. 19-year-old shooting guard Jake Verschoyle is the sole, new domestic representative, coming in from DBS Éanna, where he featured in the InsureMyVan.ie SuperLeague this past season.
Earlier this year Ireland were drawn in Group C, alongside Latvia, Hungary and Bulgaria. The opening fixture on July 15th sees Ireland face Hungary at 18:15 Irish time. They will subsequently face Latvia on Sunday July 17th at the same time, before rounding off the group phase against Bulgaria on Wednesday, July 20th at 13:45.
Killian Gribben lines up a shot.
The first and second placed countries in Group A, B, C and D will advance to the quarter-finals, with the remainder making up a separate bracket to decide 9th-16th placings.
You can watch all the games live here.
Head coach Paudie Fleming said:
“It is wonderful to get our 12-man squad selected. It was a very difficult process, as this particular group are very talented. I would like to acknowledge those players that have not made the 12. Our success we hope to have is just as much theirs as it will be ours. Although we have a difficult draw, we won't fear anyone in our group. We are lucky to have an experienced group who are consistently playing basketball at a very high level.
The next few weeks will move quickly and we look forward to preparing as best we can for the FIBA European Championships. Irish basketball is on the up and we hope to continue raising expectations and leaving the green jersey in a better place for the next generation”
Friday June 15th
Ireland v Hungary, Tbilisi Olympic Palace, 18:15, FIBA Youtube Channel
Sunday June 17th
Ireland v Latvia, Tbilisi Arena, 18:15, FIBA Youtube Channel
Wednesday June 20th
Ireland v Bulgaria, Tbilisi Olympic Palace, 13:45, FIBA Youtube Channel
Ireland U20 squad:
Samuel Alajiki (University California Berkeley), Rapolas Buivydas (Assumption University), Darragh Ferguson (Belfast Star), CJ Fulton (Lafayette College), Robert Graham (Cheshire Phoenix), Killian Gribben (Sienna College), Eli Lenihan (Spring Hill College), Sean McCarthy (Felician University), Jamie Muldowney (Coker University), Leeroy Odiahi (Indian Hills College), Michael O'Mahony (Dominican College), Jake Verschoyle (DBS Éanna).