Two Big 12 men’s players are playing basketball this summer representing the United States in a pair of international competitions.
Cory Jefferson, who will be a senior forward at Baylor next season, is a member of the USA team competing in the World University Games July 6-17 in Kazan, Russia. Meanwhile, Texas Tech junior guard Luke Adams will be one of the players representing Team USA at the 22nd Deaflympics being contested July 28 through Augu. 4 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
It is not unusual that college basketball players would participate in some form of organized competition during the off season, but it is indeed a distinct honor to represent your country in international competition during the summer months.
As a fourth-year junior this past season, the 6-9 Jefferson averaged 13.3 points, eight rebounds and nearly two blocks per game, playing in all 37 of Baylor’s games in 2012-13. He also was named to the postseason NIT All-Tournament Team following the Bears’ championship run in that tournament this season.
Adams has played in 38 games, including seven starting assignments, for Texas Tech in his first two seasons in Lubbock. Adams was born deaf but wears a cochlear implant. He was selected to Team USA by USA Deaf Basketball, the national governing body serving the deaf and hard of hearing for both men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. Adams is the first Texas Tech basketball player to play for a USA national team of any kind since 1998.
The United State is one of 13 countries that will take part in the basketball competition at the Deaflympics. The other countries are Argentina, Chinese Tapei, Greece, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and Venezuela. The U.S. team has won 14 gold medals in basketball in the 21 years the competition has been held.
Jefferson and Adams are the only Big 12 players on U.S. national teams, but they are not the only Big 12 players playing for their countries this summer. Baylor guard Brady Heslip, for one, is playing for Team Canada in the World University Games, and Adams’ Texas Tech teammate, Kader Tapsoba is respresenting his national team in the 2013 FIBA Africa Championship.