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I was told Jonathan Tavernari had headed back to Brazil, and there were rumblings he would get a look-see with his national basketball team. Turns out that was indeed the case, as the following release from BYU makes clear. To see a pic of JT in his national practice uniform, click on the gallery link to the right.
By the way, JT is quoted about his call-up on the national team's website, and my rough Portuguese translation is as follows (I served an LDS mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil in the late 80s):
"It's a dream that is being realized. I used to to watch "Baby" (Rafael Araujo) and Fulvio from the bleachers, and imagined how it would be to one day play alongside them for the national team. Today, I have the opportunity to train with the best players in the country. I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to the fullest extent, and and do everything I can to work with the team."
Araujo is not on the 18-player roster training with the national team this weekend in Rio--rather, he is part of the 12-man "pre-Olympic" team. That team would be considered Brazil's "senior" team, while the squad with which JT is working out would be considered a "developmental" squad, for lack of a better word.
Tavernari Starts Training Camp with Brazilian National Team
by Brett Pyne, BYU Athletic Communications
PROVO, Utah (June 7, 2008) -- BYU basketball player Jonathan Tavernari has been invited to participate with the Brazilian National Team this summer. The 6-foot-6 forward is one of 18 players to report to training camp this week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity," said Tavernari, a native of Sao Bernardo, Brazil. "It's something I've always dreamed of. I'll have the chance to play with the best players from my country and enjoy time with some of my country's big names in basketball."
Tavernari will have the opportunity to play with former BYU center Rafael Araujo, who earned All-America and Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors as a Cougar in 2004. Since graduating from BYU, Araujo has played in the NBA for three years with Toronto and Utah before signing in Russia this past season.
Brazil will compete in the South American Championships in Puerto Montt, Chile, from July 1-6 before going to Athens, Greece, to play in the Acropolis International Tournament from July 7-9 in preparation for the 12-team FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, also in Athens, from July 14-20. Hoping to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 12 years, Brazil will compete for one of three remaining spots for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
"I have a huge passion for my country and my colors, and listening to the national anthem after winning a competition is something I've never tasted," Tavernari said. "I hope to use this experience to help BYU next season as we compete for another Mountain West Conference championship."
After leading the state of Nevada in scoring at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Tavernari has helped BYU win back-to-back outright conference championships while receiving MWC Freshman of the Year and All-MWC Third Team honors in his first two college seasons. Last year, Tavernari averaged 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds while making a BYU-record 88 three-point shots.