After helping to lead the Shandong Gold Lions to their first ever CBA Finals appearance in club history last season, point guard Pooh Jeter has clearly proved himself as one of the top point guards on both the Chinese and overseas professional stage.
Now, on the heels of leading Ukraine to their best finish ever at the 2013 EuroBasket, he’ll have a chance to further prove himself on the biggest international stage of all: The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
In a stunning two week run, Ukraine – picked by many towards the bottom of the 24-team field – ensured themselves of a top-six finish and an accompanying automatic qualifier spot in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup (formerly called the FIBA World Championship), defeating Italy 66-58 on Friday.
It will be Ukraine’s first time ever participating in a FIBA World Championship/World Cup.
Jeter, who became a naturalized citizen of Ukraine earlier in the summer, arguably saved his best performance of the tournament for last, scoring a team-high 20 points while also chipping in with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Operating as former longtime NBA head coach Mike Fratello’s floor general, Jeter thrived throughout EuroBasket in balancing dual responsibilities of playmaking and scoring. The former University of Portland standout enjoyed several memorable games playing for the yellow and blue, including a game-winning and-one lay-up in the final seconds against Belgium in the tournament’s opening game, as well as a timely second half three-point barrage that held back tournament contenders Serbia in second round play.
Ukraine lost to Slovenia yesterday and finished in sixth place. In 11 games, Jeter finished with averages of 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
For the record, we were on the Pooh Jeter bandwagon well before he blew up in Slovenia, and if you missed our interview with him from last season, make sure you check it out. For us, this is just validation of how good this guy really is. We always represent our Team NiuBBall guys hard, so big ups to Pooh for this tremendous accomplishment. While we can’t wait to see dude come back and do his thing again for Shandong this season, we’re even more amped to watch him on the world stage next summer in Spain.