Weber State men’s basketball junior Joel Bolomboy will tryout for the Ukraine National Basketball team, in advance of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Bolomboy will leave for Ukraine this weekend for several days of tryouts to see if he will make the national team. Nearly 30 players are expected to tryout for the team. If he makes the national team, he will compete with Ukraine in several games across Europe in preparation for the World Cup. Ukraine will play in a tournament in Slovenia in late July, and in tournaments in Lithuania, France and Spain in August. The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 4 in Balboa, Spain and will include 24 teams from across the world. Ukraine will be in the group with the Dominican Republic, Finland, New Zealand, Turkey and the United States.
Bolomboy was born in what is now Ukraine before moving to the United States at age three. His mother was born in Russia and is father was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas.
“This is a great honor and opportunity for me,” Bolomboy said. “I’m looking forward to whole experience and being able to play against really good competition. It will be a great learning experience for me.”
The Ukraine National Team is coached by former NBA coach Mike Fratello. Fratello coached 17 years in the NBA with Atlanta, Cleveland and Memphis and is a former NBA Coach of the Year.
“It’s a terrific opportunity for Joel to tryout for the national team,” said Weber State head coach Randy Rahe. “He’s excited for the opportunity and we’re excited for him. If he makes the team, he’ll have a chance to play against some of the best players in the world in one of the biggest tournaments in the world. It’s a great opportunity for him, not only to continue his development as a basketball player, but a great experience to travel and see the world and to play with different players and coaches. It’s a great experience for him to grow as a person and a player.”
Bolomboy has played two seasons at Weber State and is coming off a strong sophomore season where he helped lead the Wildcats to the Big Sky title, Big Sky Tournament title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. During the season he was named the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year and earned honorable mention All-Conference honors. He finished third in the nation in rebounding at 11.0 per game and recorded 329 rebounds on the season, the seventh most in WSU single-season history. He recorded double figures in rebounding in 22 of his 30 games played and also averaged 8.7 points on the season, scoring at least 10 points 11 times. He recorded a Big Sky-best 11 double-doubles on the year. At the NCAA Tournament, he recorded a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds in the loss to Arizona, the most rebounds of any player against Arizona all season.
After two seasons at Weber State, Bolomboy ranks 12th in Weber State history in career rebounds with 592 and is 10th in school history in career rebounding average. He also ranks sixth in Weber State history in career blocks with 87 and has the fourth best career blocks average. He will be one of five returning letterwinners from last year’s team when the 2014-15 Weber State season begins in November.