Tennessee Forward Tobe Awaka Set for Team USA Basketball Action

'He Is Growing Up Right In Front Of Us': Awaka Shines For Tennessee Against Georgia

Tobe AwakaTennessee forward Tobe Awaka. Photo By Avery Bane/Tennessee Athletics.

Tennessee forward Tobe Awaka has been selected to the 2023 USA Men’s Basketball Under-19 National Team. The 12-man team is set to compete in the 2023 FIBA U19 Men’s World Cup this summer in Debrecen, Hungary. The event is slated for June 24 through July 2.

Awaka’s selection comes after five days of training camp work with the Team USA staff in Colorado Springs.

Tennessee redshirt freshman Freddie Dilione also participated in the training camp and was a team finalist but was not selected for the Team USA roster. Still, though, Awaka and Dilione represented two of just four players that were from the Southeastern Conference – the other two including Ole Miss’ Amaree Abram and Vanderbilt’s Ven-Allen Lubin.

“Tobe Awaka’s journey has been amazing,” Tennessee assistant coach Rod Clark said in a tweet. “Love that dude!”

Yes Tob, yes sir!!! https://t.co/X4neE8Y0GV

— Rod Clark (@CoachRodC_UT) June 16, 2023

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According to USA Basketball’s press release on Friday, “The United States will square off with Madagascar and Slovenia on June 24 and June 25, respectively, before concluding pool play versus Lebanon on June 27.”

The Americans have never played Madagascar and Lebanon but do hold a 2-0 record against Slovenia.

Tobe Awaka, a native of Hyde Park, New York, appeared in 34 games during his freshman season and was the Vols’ first sixth-man off the bench in eight of those games.

Awaka’s role continued to grow throughout the season as he began to understand the SEC game more and more. While Awaka’s stats didn’t always jump off the page or lead Tennessee, his aggression, physicality, and unrelenting nature made him a fan favorite near the end of his first season in Knoxville. Awaka’s basketball IQ, especially in SEC play, consistently looked to grow throughout the year as his strength and size gave opponents trouble.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pounder averaged 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in an average of 10.4 minutes per game during his freshman campaign. According to UT Sports, Awaka led Tennessee in rebounding five times and blocks four times. Awaka recorded a total of 11 blocks on the year to land fourth on Tennessee’s team.

On Thursday morning, the Tennessee men’s basketball team announced a summer European tour that will include three exhibition games. The trip will last from July 31 to August 9.

Tennessee is set to take on the Lithuanian Under-21 team on back-to-back days, Aug. 4-5, before closing down against Italy’s A.S. Stella Azzura club team on Aug. 7. The Vols’ matchups with the Lithuanian team will be played in Florence before taking on A.S. Stella Azzura in Rome. Check out more on Tennessee’s summer European tour here.

Author: Ethan Moore