June 14, 2013
After an impressive showing on Puerto Rico's U19 National Team at last summer, Tennessee basketball player Derek Reese is taking part in international competition once again this year.
A rising sophomore, the versatile 6-8 guard has been selected by the Basketball Federation of Puerto Rico (FBPUR) for a spot on its men's national team that is participating in the 2013 FIBA Stanković Continental Champions Cup June 27 through July 9 in China.
A prestigious invitational event sponsored by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the 2013 Stanković Continental Champions Cup field also features national teams from Argentina, Australia, Germany, Serbia, Nigeria and host China.
Reese is eligible to compete on the Puerto Rican National Team because his grandparents, Anselmo and Irma Montanez, were born in Puerto Rico. The Olympic Committee of Puerto Rico, along with the FBPUR, views Reese as a key potential player in its 2016 and 2020 Olympic cycles.
The Orlando, Fla., native is already in Puerto Rico training with his team, which began workouts June 11. The team departs for China June 25.
"This is the chance of a lifetime," Reese said. "I just feel blessed that God has given me another opportunity to play for Puerto Rico."
Reese is playing the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 positions for the national team.
"I'm really trying to work on my ball-handling and also being more consistent with my shot," Reese added.
As a true freshman with the Vols last season, Reese appeared in 14 games - he missed significant time due to injury - averaging 3.7 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting .323 from 3-point range (10-of-31) in 13.6 minutes per game.
As a member of the Puerto Rican U19 squad that competed in the Nike Global Challenge last July, Reese was the tournament's second-leading scorer (21.0 ppg) and earned International All-Tournament Team accolades. He also averaged 12.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 32.0 minutes per game while shooting .458 from the field, .400 from 3-point range and .917 from the free-throw line.
The idea for the Stanković Continental Champions Cup came from former FIBA President Dr. Carl Men Ky Ching, and the purpose of the event was to honor Serbian Borislav Stanković, FIBA Secretary General Emeritus, for his significant contribution to the world of basketball. Being the only Chinese president of the 28 international sport federations, Ching selected China as the host country for the tournament, which has been held annually since 2005.
In its only previous appearance in the tournament, Puerto Rico finished sixth in 2005.
This year's host city is Lanzhou, which is the capital of the Gansu province.
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