Cal's Solomon To Try Out For USA Basketball U-19 National Team

After being one of Cal's biggest contributors off the bench last season as a freshman, Richard Solomon has been invited to attend USA Basketball's U-19 National team tryout camp from June 17-24 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Solomon has been hard at work preparing for the tryout camp after receiving the invitation last month.

"I've been in the weight room. I've been doing cardio, lifting, getting stronger," Solomon said. "I've been working on my inside and outside game and post moves, just doing anything I can to get better, and whatever I can do to help my team."

Solomon hopes to be among the 12 players chosen to represent the U.S. at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championships, which take place from June 30 to July 10 in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga, Latvia. The potential travel opportunities were a draw for Solomon.

"I've really never been out of the country before, so I'm really excited for that," he said. "And to be able to play some of these other teams, it's a golden opportunity and I'm hoping that I can make the best of it."

The U.S. team will play against teams from Egypt, Serbia and China, among others throughout the summer.

"Just being able to play with some of the best players around the world and the United States, that's going to have an impact [on my game]," Solomon said. "Even if I don't make the team, it's just going to show me what I need to do, and it's going to show me the level that the other players are at, and it will show me what I need to work on this off-season."

Joining Solomon at the tryout camp is Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Allen Crabbe, Solomon's teammate and close friend.

"[Allen and I] have been friends for a long time. And with him being there, I know that we're both going to push each other and expect the best out of each other. It's going to be really good to have a teammate and friend there with me," Solomon said.

Solomon produced his 2010-11 season-high of 14 points (shooting a clean 5-for-5 from the field) against Washington, also registering a personal-best three assists. Solomon's 27 blocks on the year led the Bears. He said he looks forward to using this experience as a chance to improve and learn from the players in attendance.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That's how I look at it. It will be exciting to play against higher-caliber players from overseas," Solomon said. "Basically, it's the best of the best. And if you make the team, it means you're doing something right. Not everybody gets this opportunity."

Other Pac-10 players attending the tryout are Anthony Brown (Stanford), Jahii Carson (incoming freshman, Arizona State) and Josiah Turner (incoming freshman, Arizona). Cal and the University of Florida are the only colleges sending multiple representatives.

Selections for the team that will be coached by George Mason University head coach Paul Hewitt will be announced on June 19. Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett will also be on the staff.

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