Michael Greenman opened a box of red, white and blue USA basketball gear last week.
"I was almost speechless," he said.
The 18-year-old Linwood resident will play for the USA Youth Men's Basketball Team at the 19th World Maccabiah Games to be held July 17-30 in Israel.
Greenman leaves for Israel on Saturday.
"Just knowing that I'm going to another country to compete and wear the USA jersey means so much," Greenman said. "I can't be more excited."
The 5-foot-8 Greenman was one of the Cape-Atlantic League's top players last season.
The point guard dribbled the ball up the floor on almost every possession for St. Augustine Prep, which finished 23-6. Greenman led the Hermits in scoring (13.2 points per game), assists (5.1 per game), steals (47) and 3-pointers (60).
"Mike has a tremendous skill set as a point guard," USA Youth head coach Jamie Chadwin said. "He shoots the ball extremely well. He controls the tempo. He defends on the ball."
Greenman's leadership skills also impressed Chadwin.
"As we got to know Mike, we saw his ability to communicate with other players and be an extension of the coaching staff on the court," Chadwin said. "I'm sure that's what he did so well at St. Augustine over the years."
The Maccabiah Games are often referred to as the Jewish Olympics. The games are held every four years in Israel. Every Israeli citizen and every Jew is eligible to compete. Greenman's family has a connection to the games. His older brother Scott, a 2002 St. Augustine graduate, played in the 2005 games and coached the U-18 USA Team at the 2009 games. This will be Michael's first trip to Israel.
"I always wanted to go to Israel because I am Jewish," Greenman said. "We have a family over there. It's special that I get to go over there, and to play basketball at the same time makes it that much more special."
The USA Youth team consists of 17- and 18-year-olds. Greenman tried out for the Youth USA Team last August in Philadelphia. Tryouts were also held in Los Angeles.
The 13-player team, which consists of players from New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas, held a two-day training camp this past Memorial Day weekend in Philadelphia.
"This is a national team in the truest sense," Chadwin said. "There's a high level of basketball talent. There seems to be some natural chemistry with this group."
Greenman will return from Israel in the beginning of August and then head a few weeks later to Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he will continue his basketball career. Williams is a consistent Division III national power, winning the Division III national title in 2003 and reaching the Division III Elite eight last season.
"It's a great academic school and a great basketball school," Greenman said of Williams. "Basketball is one of the main sports on campus. A lot of the students follow it and go the games. That was important to me because I wanted to go to a school where they care about the team kind of like how it was at St. Augustine."
Some soon-to-be college freshmen like to take it easy the summer before college starts. With the Maccabiah Games, that won't be the case for Greenman.
But it's a trade off he's willing to make.
"I'd like to spend the last summer (before college) with my friends," Greenman said. "But when an opportunity likes this comes along you can't turn it down. You can't say no."
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