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Miguel to Play for Angola at Olympic Qualifying Tournament

K-State Athletics ReleaseJune 28, 2021

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Rising sophomore guard Selton Miguel has been selected to play for his home country of Angola in the upcoming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas, Lithuania, which is set for Tuesday, June 29 through Sunday, July 4 at Zalgirio Arena.

Angola, which currently ranks No. 33 in the world, will be among six countries (Korea, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and Venezuela) in Kaunas, Lithuania vying for one of four qualifying spots in the Tokyo Olympic Games, which are scheduled to run from Sunday, July 25 to Saturday, August 7.

The qualifying tournament in Lithuania will include teams from Group A (Korea, Lithuania, Venezuela) and Group B (Angola, Poland, Slovenia) with the top-2 teams from each group advancing to the semifinals. In addition to the one in Kaunas, Lithuania, there will be qualifying tournaments in Victoria, Canada (host Canada), Split, Croatia (host Croatia) and Belgrade, Serbia (host Serbia) for the three remaining spots in the Olympics.

Angola will open Group B play against Poland at 8:30 a.m., CT on Tuesday, June 29 before facing Slovenia at 8:30 a.m., CT on Wednesday, June 30. The two teams with the best records in Group B will advance to the semifinals on Saturday, July 3 to face the two teams with the best records in Group A with the two semifinal winners then advancing to the championship game on Sunday, July 4 for the Olympic qualifying spot.

The games are expected to air on the WatchESPN app or via FIBA’s YouTube channel.

Coached by veteran international coach Jose Claros Canals, the Angolan team went 1-4 at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, dropping games to Serbia and Italy and defeating the Philippines in Group D before losing additional games to Iran and Tunisia. The squad is led by the Atlanta Hawks’ Bruno Fernando, who is the first Angolan to play in the NBA. Fernando is unavailable for the tournament due to his commitment with the Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals. Other prominent members include Angolan legends Eduardo Mingas and Carlos Morais as well as current professionals and former college players, Valdelicio Joaquin (Hawai’i) and Yanick Moreira (SMU).

Angola last played at the Olympics in Beijing 2008 after five consecutive appearances.

Miguel is the youngest member of 17-member Angola National Team and the only current collegiate athlete. The rising sophomore who came to K-State via prep powerhouse West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Florida is coming off a solid first season as Wildcat, in which, he saw action in all 29 games with 22 starts in the last 24 games and averaged 7.2 points on 33 percent shooting with 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 27.5 minutes per game. He ranked third on the team in assists, fourth in steals and minutes and fifth in scoring.

“It’s always been a dream to represent my country,” said Miguel. “I grew up playing for them on Under-16 and Under-18 teams and now the senior team.”

The Angolan team will face stiff competition to advance out of Group B, as both Poland (13) and Slovenia (16) rank among FIBA’s Top-20. Poland advanced all the way to the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where they lost to eventual champion Spain and the Czech Republic in the final two rounds before dropping an 87-74 decision to Team USA in the seventh-place game. Slovenia will be led by a pair of NBA stars in Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) and Zoran Dragic (Miami Heat), who last played for their country at the FIBA EuroBasket 2017.

In Group A, host Lithuania, led by a pair of NBA players in Jonas Valanciunas (Memphis Grizzlies) and Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), has the current highest FIBA ranking at No. 8 and finished ninth at the 2019 FIBA World Championships, while Venezuela is rated at No. 20 and Korea at No. 30.

The Tokyo Olympics will include 12 total countries, as seven directly qualified for the Games through the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, including Spain, Argentina, France, Australia, Serbia, Czech Republic and the United States, while Japan received automatic qualification as the hosts of the event.

Q&A with Selton Miguel

On how he came from Angola to America…

“I started playing basketball when I was like seven, eight-years-old in my country of Angola and then I moved to Portugal when I was 13. When I moved to Portugal I stayed hooping, stayed keep playing basketball with the club. Then my other brother (Rifen) came to the States on scholarship to West Oaks Academy where I graduated from. I sent my videos to the coaches there and they liked me a lot so they sent me a scholarship from the States to Portugal so I could come to the States. That’s when everything started. I went to West Oaks in ninth grade, all my high school career there and got it done then I went to Kansas State.”

On his dream to represent his country…

“Yeah, it’s always been a dream to represent my country. Because I always play for my country growing up on the Under-16 team, the Under-18, and now the Senior Team.”

On the competition…

“It’s been good, it’s been good. It’s tough though because I’m the only one who doesn’t play pro here. I’m on a team where everyone plays pro somewhere else overseas. So, it’s been fun. I’ve been learning a lot of different stuff.”

On the last time Miguel was back in Angola…

“I was just home before we came to Spain. That’s where we got together, the National Team, we had a couple practices there and then that’s when we left our country to come to Spain. Before that it was like three years. It was a long time. Even now, I went back to my country for two weeks I barely see my family because I was with the team working out a lot. So, I probably saw my family three or four times. It was definitely good. It was a long time before seeing them, so it was definitely good to see them. My mom was smiling and crying a little bit.”

On what he has learned so far through qualifiers…

“I’m learning each and every day with these guys. They are older, they all know stuff. I’m just here to learn things on and off the court, not just on the court because I’m growing with these guys. I’m going to stay with these guys until late August so I’m just trying to take everything in. They’re learning from me, too. There’s stuff I didn’t know before and I’m just taking everything step-by-step every day.”

On staying in Barcelona…

“Nah, I’ve never been here before. It’s good, it’s definitely good. I used to live in Portugal and it’s like an hour away from here, but I’ve been here before. But it’s definitely good, it’s a good city.”

On if he misses his K-State teammates…

“Yeah, I talk to them almost every day. I talk to Coach Weber every day just to make sure I’m good, make sure they are good. I’ve been watching them working out. I’m excited to come back.”

On how much he has learned from the older guys on the National Team…

“On a scale of 1-10, I can say I’m a 10. It’s just learning different styles every day. Like I said, there are things I didn’t know before I know now but I’m still learning every day. I’m definitely learning a lot. I’m enjoying these guys because we are all different, we all play on different teams, we all live in different cities, different countries. So, it’s definitely a good experience right now learning with these guys.”

On the areas of his game he needed to improve this offseason…

“To be honest, I talked to Coach Weber about that. I know the things I have to improve but at the same time I wanted to improve everything, especially my left hand and my shot was definitely off last season. So that’s why I had to step up on the defensive end and be the best defender on the team and make plays and I scored when I had to score. But this season I really have to improve my jump shot and my left hand and the rest is going to come.”

On what he is doing to improve his left hand…

“Just everything. Lay-ups, floaters, dribbling every day. Skills-wise, dribbling with my coach every day. Just doing everything with my left hand that I couldn’t do before.”

On if he has noticed improvement in his game…

“Yeah for sure. Because these practices with these pros right here I’ve been scoring with my left hand so that’s when I see that I can really score now with my left hand and I’m still improving. They have bigger bodies, stronger and I take the contact and still score with my left hand. It’s been fun.”

On his expectations for the Olympic Qualifiers…

“We’ve got a definitely good team. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the players we’ve got but we’ve got guys playing overseas in good leagues. I feel like we can. We just got to get there and play. I feel like we’ve got a good team, a good squad. The other guys are really strong, they really can play defense and can really score the ball. I’m really confident about this team. We’ve just got to get there and play, compete and see how it goes.”

On his role with the National Team…

“I’m playing the point out here because Coach really likes the way I create for others and I can score the ball when I can. We’ve played two games. I came off the bench in both games because the older guys are playing in front of me, but we are basically playing the same minutes. I don’t know how it’s going to be because coach says he is going to make changes when we get there. So, we’ve just got to see.”

On his Angolan teammates…

“No, he (Bruno Fernandez) is the only Angolan player (In the NBA) this time right now. We’ve got some players that play in Greece, we’ve got players that play in Italy. So, they are really good.”

On who he is excited to play against in Olympic Qualifying…

“Luka (Doncic) for sure. Just because I’m going to play the same position as him. I’m going to be guarding him and then just because everybody wants to go against him. He is an NBA MVP candidate.”

On what the K-State coaches did to improve his jump shot this spring…

“Coach Weber, I say he changed a little bit. My shot was kind of slow so it’s quicker. My release on the shot is quicker, my form is quicker. We just take a bunch of shots, a bunch of shots. This spring I was really working on my left hand and my jump shots. So I can really improve and then when I get here you can see the improvement. And then just weight room wise I was really going hard in the weight room. And then just everything else, I was really more focused on my left hand and my jump shot this spring with Coach Weber.”

On how much better he can be next season for K-State…

“A lot better. I would say I’m a more complete player. A player that can score really well. I will show that. I can say it right now because we aren’t in the season right now. I will improve my scoring, definitely my defense because I’m a really good defender and can be a great defender. Then just somebody that can step up to guard the best player on the other team every time.”

On how many languages he can speak…

“Three. Portuguese, Spanish and English but I’m learning a little bit of French because we’ve got some guys that play in France. I’ve learned a little.”

On his favorite language…

“Portuguese, that’s my main language Portuguese.”

On how quickly he picked up English…

“Eight months because when I came to the States my brother was already in the States so he wasn’t speaking Portuguese, he was just speaking English so I could learn it faster. That’s one of the ways I learned English faster just talking to him. He didn’t allow me to speak Portuguese even though we went to the same school. Even at the time I couldn’t understand English at all he was just speaking English to make it hard for me, so I had to pick it up.”

On embracing the ‘defensive stopper’ role…

“Yeah I had a quote that my high school coach gave to me that I have with me in my wallet and my room at Kansas State, it’s ‘Why can’t you be mad when you don’t score but why can’t you be mad when a player scores on you’. Basically saying you should take more pride when a player scores on you then when you score. So I take pride in that. I don’t like when players score easy buckets. If you are going to score on me it’s going to be a hard bucket. You are going to have to work for it. It can’t just be an easy bucket because that’s going to make me mad. So, that’s why I take pride in defense. I’ve always been like that because Coach Weber is really hard on defense because Barry Brown and all the other players. I take pride in that, and he just keeps motivating me to be the best defender each and every day.”

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2021. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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