Josh Okogie's two weeks in Egypt with the U.S. U19 team

Josh Okogie on a camel at the Pyramids of Giza. (USA Basketball)
Josh Okogie on a camel at the Pyramids of Giza. (USA Basketball)

Credit: Ken Sugiura

Credit: Ken Sugiura

Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie’s summer will conclude with a highlight. August 6-9, Okogie will be in Winston-Salem, N.C., for an invitation-only camp led by NBA all-star Chris Paul. Okogie will be there with other elite college guards to learn from one of the best. Okogie received a similar invitation from Adidas.

“I’m just going to go there with an open mind, learn as much as I can, soak in as much as I can,” said Okogie, who played for Paul’s AAU team in the summer of 2015. “The best players learn from everybody.”

It’s hardly all Okogie, Tech’s first ACC all-freshman team member since Robert Carter in 2013, accomplished this summer. The principal achievement was making the U.S. U19 national team that finished third in the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo. Okogie spoke about that experience recently, from making the team to playing for U.S. coach John Calipari to coming back and catching up for school.

Taking in sights

While in Cairo, Okogie visited the Pyramids of Giza, about 10 miles outside of the center of Cairo. Okogie was struck by the immensity of the structures, completed around 2560 B.C. The tallest stands at about 450 feet. By comparison, the Coca-Cola main office tower in Atlanta, 29 stories tall, is 403 feet.

“That’s all we were thinking about, was like, how did people make this?” Okogie said. “Real humans, no technology, just made that. It was crazy.”

Okogie was also able to sit on a camel, but was not able to take a ride for precautionary reasons.

Catching up in calculus, what he's doing with his jersey, the heart-pounding experience when he found out he made the team. Read the rest here.

Playing for Calipari

Josh Pastner was an assistant to Kentucky coach John Calipari for one season at Memphis (2008-09) before Calipari left for Kentucky and Pastner replaced him. Calipari evidently had some influence, as he said things in practices that struck Okogie as sounding a lot like Pastner.

“Coach Pastner always loves to express ‘We have to do everything with two hands,’” Okogie said. “’We have to catch the ball with two hands, rebound with two hands.’ And same thing Coach Cal would do. Say we catch the ball with one hand, we have to do the whole drill over from the beginning, kind of emphasize that. And a few defensive principles here and there were the same.”

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