May 30, 2003
TUCSON, Ariz. - Former University of Arizona men's basketball standout Richard Jefferson was added to the U.S. Men's Senior National team, it was announced Thursday by USA Basketball. Jefferson's addition completes the roster for the United States club that will participate in the 2003 Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Jefferson, a 6-foot-7, 222-pound forward for the New Jersey Nets, joined Elton Brand and Nick Collison on the 2003 U.S. Men's Senior National Team roster. The team will participate in the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Aug. 20-31 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"Richard Jefferson brings talent, youth and enthusiasm to this team, and his abilities will strengthen USA Basketball at this summer's qualifying tournament and certainly in the years to come, as well," said Stu Jackson, USA Basketball Senior National Team Committee Chairman. "Jefferson is one of the finest young prospects in the NBA, and he will benefit greatly from the experience he will gain by playing for this prestigious team."
Jefferson, who is competing in his second NBA season since leaving Arizona following his junior season in 2000-01, averaged 15.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists, while shooting 50.1 percent from the field in 80 games for the Nets this season. In helping the Nets win the NBA's Eastern Conference championship and advance to the NBA Finals for the second straight season, Jefferson is averaging 14.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists through 14 playoff games.
He finished the regular season ranked among NBA leaders for field goal percentage (.501/13th), rebounds per game (6.4 rpg/T45th) and points per game (15.5 ppg/T47th). Jefferson also shot 74.3 percent from the free throw line.
The 2003 USA Senior National Team consists of Ray Allen (G, Seattle SuperSonics); Mike Bibby (G, Sacramento Kings, University of Arizona); Elton Brand (F, Los Angeles Clippers); Kobe Bryant (G, Los Angeles Lakers); Nick Collison (F/C, University of Kansas); Tim Duncan (C, San Antonio Spurs), Allen Iverson (G, Philadelphia 76ers); Richard Jefferson (F, New Jersey Nets, University of Arizona); Jason Kidd (G, New Jersey Nets); Karl Malone (F, Utah Jazz); Tracy McGrady (G, Orlando Magic); and Jermaine O'Neal (F/C, Indiana Pacers). The squad will be coached by Larry Brown.
"It is a tremendous honor to have been selected to play on the USA Basketball National Team and I look forward to joining the elite of the NBA as we represent our league and our nation in Puerto Rico," said Jefferson. This is my proudest moment as a basketball player."
The 12th player in Arizona history to be an NBA first round draft pick (and fourth lottery pick), Jefferson averaged 11.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in his three-year college career. In 84 appearances (77 starts), Jefferson helped the Wildcats to one Pacific-10 Conference championship (2000) and a runner-up finish in the 2001 NCAA Tournament. During that NCAA Tournament run in 2001, Jefferson earned all-NCAA Final Four and all-NCAA Midwest Regional honors.