Kerry Involvement in History Making Irish U-20 Basketball Team

Ireland’s European championship team members. Coach Paudie Fleming is flanked by players Rap Buivydas and Leeroy Odiahi.

A Kerry coach and two players representing Kerry had hands in the making of international basketball history at the weekend when the Irish U-20 men’s team finished ninth in the European B championships.

This is the best finish at this age group for an Irish men’s team in this competition. Local man and St. Mary’s club member Paudie Fleming was head coach of the team.

As a former Irish international himself, Paudie was head of basketball at St. Joseph’s College in Hunter Hill in Sydney for two years before returning to Ireland.

Senior Team Backbone

He has recently taken up the position of deputy principal in Colaiste Gleann Lí, Tralee.

After the game Paudie complimented the players saying “This is an incredible group of players and I have no doubt that they will be the backbone of our senior team for years to come.

“They had every reason to fold after the group stages but they didn’t. They showed resilience, discipline and most of all, togetherness,” he said.

Tralee players Rap Buivydas, Asssumption University, Massachusetts and Leeroy Odiahi, Indian Hills College, Iowa, represented Kerry on the squad.

Short of Quarter Finals

The Irish side, along with Latvia and Bulgaria, finished the group stages with two wins and one loss. They fell just short of making the quarter finals but went on to win the following three games over host side Georgia, Albania and Hungary for a second time.

The Irish team finished in ninth position overall and they finished with the second-best record of the tournament at five wins and one loss.

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