Sun Devil Ike Diogu heads to Olympics


July 9, 2012

Make it three Sun Devil men's basketball players on the way to London for the 2012 Olympics.

When the Great Britain roster was announced, it was good to see London native and 2009 Sun Devil graduate Eric Boatengon the roster. Download Full Image

Two days later, the USA Basketball roster was announced, and the youngest player on the team was NBA Sixth-Man of the Year was chosen, as James Harden was selected.

Make it three, as 2004-05 Pac-10 Player of the Year and All-America pick Ike Diogu put Nigeria on his back and led it to an 88-73 win over the Dominican Republic in the final qualifying game in Caracas, Venezuela.

Diogu scored 25 points and grabbed 10 boards en route to MVP honors as Nigeria earned the final men's basketball spot. Nigeria, which came into the tournament ranked 21st in the world, upset both Lithuania and Greece, two of the top five teams in the world, to advance to the semifinals after losing to Venezuela in its tournament opener on Monday. Nigeria fell behind 14-6 in the first quarter before regaining their footing, running off nine straight points as a steal and score by Dagunduro gave Nigeria a 15-14 lead and would never trail again. Nigeria built a 10-point lead in the second half, but could not pull away until late. The Dominican Republic tied the score at 64 midway through the fourth quarter, but Ike Diogu keyed an 8-2 run with a pair of 3-pointers to give Nigeria a seven-point lead.

John Calipari coached the Dominican Republic, and it might have been a case of deja vu for him watching Diogu dominate. In the 2003 NCAA Tournament, Diogu in his freshman year was masterful against Calipari's Memphis Tigers, going 9-of-11 from the field (including two three-pointers) in a 22-point, five-board effort in an 84-71 win in Oklahoma City.

The trio selected to the Olympics this year doubles Arizona State's previous men's basketball participants. Joe Caldwell earned gold for the USA at the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo, and 16 years later Alton Lister was selected for the 1980 USA team in Moscow that boycotted the games. Shawn Redhage, who helped lead Arizona State to the 2003 NCAA Tournament as a senior, was on the Australian squad in 2008.

Russia and Lithuania also qualified with semifinals victories Saturday. In London, Lithuania and Nigeria will join the United States, Tunisia, France and Argentina in Group A. Russia, China, Britain, Brazil, Australia and Spain are in Group B.

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications

480-965-9370

Diogu, Harden join 14 Sun Devils competing in London Olympics


July 9, 2012

Editor's Note: For more information on ASU's Olympic athletes, click here.

Former ASU basketball players Ike Diogu and James Harden will compete in London this summer at the 2012 Olympics, joining 14 fellow Sun Devils who also qualified for the games. Download Full Image

As the 2004-2005 Pac-10 Player of the Year and All-America pick, Diogu put Nigeria on his back and led the team to an 88-73 win over the Dominican Republic in the final qualifying game in Caracas, Venezuela. Diogu scored 25 points and grabbed 10 boards en route to MVP honors as Nigeria earned the final men's basketball spot.

Harden, who competed for the Sun Devils for two seasons from 2007-2009, and was the 2009 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American, was named July 7 as a member of the final 12-man roster for the London Olympics, setting the team that will travel on an international tour over the next few weeks.

The 14 other Sun Devils who will be competing in London this summer are:

Desiree Davila

2001-2005 Sun Devil Desiree Davila (marathon – USA) will be making her first appearance in the Olympics and in qualifying she became just the second Sun Devil in history to advance to the Olympics in the marathon behind only Marie Trujillo (Mexico) in the 1984 Los Angeles Games.  Davila earned the bid courtesy of her runner-up finish at the USA Olympic Marathon Trials in January.  Davila helped lead the Sun Devil cross country team to a 14th place finish at the 2003 NCAA Championships during her time at Arizona State.  She earned her first All-America honors in 2003 (10th, outdoor 5,000m run) and garnered All-America honors in cross country as well.  Davila ranks 10th on ASU's all-time outdoor 5,000m list.

Kelsey Campbell

2007-2008 Sun Devil Kelsey Campbell (wrestling – USA) will enter her first Olympics this year and holds the historical honor of being the one women to make an Arizona State roster. Campbell competed in seven events while at Arizona State, placing in all six tournaments in the 2007-2008 year as a Sun Devil. In 2007, Campbell earned her first tournament victory and national title in the 63kg weight class after going 3-0 in the tournament as an unseeded underdog against the No. 4, No. 2 and No. 1 competitors. Campbell followed up a year later claiming her second crown in the 59kg class. On April 21, Campbell beat top-seeded Helen Maroulis at the U.S. Olympic Trials for the first time in her career at 55 kilograms. The victory earned her an Olympic berth.

Zeke Jones

1987-1990 Sun Devil Zeke Jones (freestyle wrestling head coach – USA) earned three All-America honors and was a national runner-up in his senior campaign with the Sun Devils. A member of the 1988 NCAA Championship wrestling team, Jones also collected four Pac-10 crowns at 118 pounds while the team won the conference crown all four years and finished as national runners-up twice. As a post-collegiate wrestler, Jones excelled on the international scene, winning silver at the 1992 Olympics. He also won the 1991 World Championships along with five other World appearances and six US Open titles. Jones won gold at the Pan-Am and Goodwill Games before entering the coaching ranks. An assistant coach with the Sun Devils from 1993-1998, Jones has been a member of the Team USA Freestyle coaching staff for the past four Olympic Games (2008, 2004, 2000 and 1996) and was named the Team USA Freestyle Head Coach in 2009, a title he still holds as he leads the team to his fifth Olympic Games as a coach.

Alison Williamson

1991-1995 Sun Devil Alison Williamson (archery – Great Britain) is set to compete in her sixth Summer Games and will look to improve upon her first Olympic medal after capturing bronze at the 2004 Athens Games. An All-American in 1993 with the Sun Devils (the last year the team was a varsity sport), Williamson was part of six national championships in her days in Tempe as the women won the 1991, 1992 and 1993 titles while joining the men to captured mixed crowns in each of those three years. During her previous four Summer Games, Williamson placed eighth in 1992 Barcelona before taking 10th in both 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney.  Williamson was 17th at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Between her first two games, Williamson won the 1994 U.S. Collegiate Individual Championships.

Amy LePeilbet

2000-2003 Sun Devil Amy LePeilbet (soccer – USA) is a member of the national team since 2004, LePeilbet is one of six defenders on the 2012 USA Olympic soccer squad. LePeilbet started all six games at the 2011 FIFA World Cup, where the USA made it to the final before falling to Japan in a penalty shootout following a 2-2 tie after extra time. The 2011 World Cup represented the first world championship tournament of LePeilbet's career.  A four-year letterwinner at ASU from 2000-2003, LePeilbet led the Sun Devils to the second round of the NCAA tournament in three of her four seasons (2000, 2002, 2003) and is considered one of the most decorated players in ASU history, earning first-team All-American honors her senior year.

Riley McCormick

2009-current Sun Devil Riley McCormick (diving – Canada) is making his second-consecutive Olympic appearance, having represented his home country of Canada in the 2008 Beijing games. A two-time Pac-12 Diver of the Year in his first two seasons at Arizona State, McCormick grey shirted the 2011-12 season to focus on Olympic training. In Beijing, McCormick placed 16th overall on the 10-meter platform for Canada, narrowly missing the Olympic finals. At Arizona State, McCormick won two Pac-12 Championships ('10, '11) on the 10-meter platform, setting a new school record in the event, and finished runner-up at the 2010 NCAA Championships on the 10-meter platform.

Gal Nevo

2005-2007 Sun Devil Gal Nevo (swimming – Israel) is making his second-consecutive Olympic appearance, having represented his home country of Israel in the 2008 Beijing games. Won the Pac-10 400 IM crown in 2007. After joining the Sun Devils midway through the 2005-06 season, Nevo earned All-America honors in the 1650-yard freestyle and 400-yard IM. Set school records in the 1650 free and 400 IM. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, finished 11th in the 400 IM and 13th in the 200 IM. Qualified for the 2012 Olympics in July 2011 at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai by placing 15th in the 200 IM with a time of 1:59.98, qualifying him for the semifinals of the Olympics, for which he had to meet the criterion of 2:00.17.

Micky Benedetti

2006-2008 Sun Devil Micky Benedetti (diving – Italy) was a two-time All-American (07 platform; 08 1-meter) after joining the Sun Devils for the 2006-07 season. Benedetti also earned Honorable Mention All-American Honors in 2006-07 (3-meter and 1-meter) and in 2007-08 (platform and 3-meter). He was a two-time Pac-10 Champion and the 2008 Pac-10 Diver of the Year. Qualified for the 2012 Olympics in February at the 18th FINA Diving World Cup 2012 in London after finishing 12th in the 3M Springboard with a score of 424.05.

Rowie Webster

2005-2006 Sun Devil Rowie Webster (water polo/Australia) will be making her Olympic debut with the team and has been a member of the Senior National Team for the past four years.  In that time, Webster has been an admirable defender for the Stingers and helped the squad to silver medal performances at the FINA World League Finals and the FINA World Cup in 2010 and a first-place finish at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia earlier this year. Webster scored 63 goals as a freshman for ASU in 2006 and added 19 assists to that for 82 points on the year.  Both were freshman records and both marks have not come close to being touched since her departure.  Her 63 goals rank fourth all-time in single-season goals scored for the Sun Devils and was selected as a third-team All-American by the American Water Polo Coaches Association.

Amy Hastings

2002-2005 Sun Devil Amy Hastings (track and field – USA) will be making her first Olympic appearance in 2012 after becoming the American champion at 10,000 meters at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.  Hastings is still the holder of the Arizona State school record at 10,000 meters with her time of 32:30.37.  Hastings ranks as one of the all-time greats to pass through the ranks in the Maroon and Gold, earning seven All-America honors for track and field and three for cross country.  Her 10 total All-America honors rank her second in ASU history.  Hastings was the 2006 NCAA Champion at 5,000-meters indoors and finished fourth earlier this year at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Ryan Whiting

2006-2010 Sun Devil Ryan Whiting (track and field – USA) earned his first Olympic bid after taking runner-up honors at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in June.  Whiting was a six-time NCAA champion during his years at Arizona State, five of them coming in shot put competitions.  He was the 2012 world indoor champion earlier this year in Istanbul, Turkey.  Whiting was ranked fourth in the United States entering the weekend, so his inclusion on the squad was a minor upset. With his inclusion, Whiting became the first ASU Olympian in the shot put in history.  Whiting still holds the ASU school record in the shot put and, between he and Clarke, has helped ASU to win eight of the last 10 NCAA indoor and outdoor shot put titles.

Eric Boateng

2007-2010 Sun Devil Eric Boateng (men's basketball – Great Britain) has earned a spot on the 12-man Great Britain men's basketball team for the 2012 London Olympics, his hometown. It will be only the second appearance for England hoops in the Olympics, joining 1948, the last time London hosted the Games. The team is coached by Houston Rockets assistant Chris Finch.  Boateng, 26, will backup Robert Archibald in the post. Boateng plays professionally for the Peristeri team in Greece. The Denver Nuggets had Boateng in training camp in 2010, and he played for the Austin Toros of the NBA D-League before signing with Peristeri in November.

Kyle Alcorn

2006-2008 Kyle Alcorn (track and field – USA) earned his first-ever Olympic bid after a third-place run in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase on Thursday in Eugene, Ore. Alcorn, who now competes for Nike, clocked an Olympic ‘A’ standard of 8:22.17 at Hayward Field in the final of the men’s steeplechase to take the final qualifying spot to London behind Nike teammates Evan Jager and Don Cabral.  Alcorn became ASU’s first-ever Olympian in the steeplechase with the performance. Alcorn was a two-time NCAA Champion - once in the indoor 3,000-meter run and once in the outdoor steeplechase - and continues to train with Arizona State University head men’s cross country coach and assistant coach for distance, Louie Quintana.

donald sanford

Born in Los Angeles, Sanford competed at Arizona State for two seasons, was the 2010 NCAA runner-up at 400 meters and earned All-America honors as part of the 4x400-meter indoor and outdoor relays that season as well. Sanford ranks ninth in ASU’s impressive 400-meter dash history with his career-best time of 45.21 in that runner-up performance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.  Sanford will be competing in his first-ever Olympics and is just the second Sun Devil to ever compete for Israel at the Olympics outside of swimmer Gal Nevo, who will be competing in his second Olympiad in London.

Harden and Diogu join Eric Boateng, who was named to the Great British men's basketball team earlier this week, in the 2012 Olympics.

Harden was named the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year for the 2011-2012 season as part of the Oklahoma City Thunder squad that finished as the runners-up in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. On the season, Harden led the league in bench scoring with 16.8 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting while also adding 4.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 31.4 minutes per game. He helped lead the Thunder in 2011-12 to the West Conference's second best record of 47-19, to a first-place finish in the Northwest Division, and to the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

For more 2012 London Olympics coverage, visit thesundevils.com.

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library