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Purdue Set To Represent USA At World University Games

Purdue will dawn Team USA jerseys in Chinese Taipei. The players see it as extra preparation for the college basketball regular season

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN -- The Purdue Boilermakers will be heading to Chinese Taipei next month as Team USA for the World University Games. 

Back in May, the Boilers were selected by the United States International University Sport Federation to represent the U.S. in the Games, from a crop of several other teams that were also interested. Many Purdue players like senior shooting guard Dakota Mathias see this as an opportunity to get a jump on the college basketball regular season to come.

"Obviously a good honor," Mathias told "It's fun to be apart of Purdue and representing America. We get unlimited practice time, so you know, getting the freshman acclimated to everything and how we doing things. It just puts us a step ahead of other teams throughout the summer."

Purdue has been practicing since mid-June as they will embark on a 17-day trip to Taipei. They will look to become just the second U.S. university to win a gold medal in basketball (the last was Kansas in 2015). Thousands of athletes will head there from around 150 countries to take part in the World University Games in many different sports. 

Purdue will be facing schools from Estonia, Romania, the Czech Republic, and United Arab Emirates.

Freshman four-star guard NoJel Eastern agrees with his senior teammate Mathias that the experience will not only be fun because he gets to see the world, but also to take advantage of time to get familiar with his new teammates.

"I’ve never been overseas before, so this is going to be an exciting time for me,” Eastern said. “When we get there, it will be great to just bond with the team and staff and build our program. This is our summer and we have one goal. College teams aren’t usually able to go overseas to try and win a gold medal, so the whole process has just been really exciting for me.”

In final preparations for the games, Purdue will faces Team Canada in a pair of exhibitions games at Carmel High School and Lafayette Jefferson High School August 11th and 12th.

The Boilers fly out August 14th.

(PHOTO: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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