Iowa State Guard Tyrese Haliburton is Looking to lead the USA at FIBA U19 World Cup
Looking at the bio for Tyrese Haliburton shows a solid, 6-foot-5 point guard who had a great season at Iowa State University, playing all 35 games and starting the final 34 of them. He averaged nearly seven points per game along with 3.6 assists and also set a school record with 17 assists against Southern University.
It's even more impressive when you see he was just a freshman.
Haliburton just completed a successful freshman season at Iowa State and now set his sights on leading his first USA Basketball team to a gold medal. Taking to the court for the USA Basketball Men's U19 World Cup training camp, Haliburth, along with 11 others, was selected June 20 for the USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team that will compete in the FIBA U19 World Cup June 29-July 7 in Heraklion, Greece.
“I was pretty ecstatic because years ago this never would have been a possibility,” Haliburton said. “So I’m just really excited that I have the opportunity to represent my country and wear the uniform.”
Haliburton grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where his father, John, coached a basketball team when Tyrese was a little kid. That’s how he got started in the sport.
“The ball was put in my hands at a very young age,” Tyrese said. “I would go to the gym with him and be with him all the time. At the time I wasn’t playing good — I was kicking the ball around the gym and stuff. ... I didn’t realize I was going to be a U.S. basketball player.”
He went on to be a star at Oshkosh North High School, where he led the team to a state championship. He had several college offers, including the University of Nebraska, University of Minnesota, University of Cincinnati and Northern Iowa University but chose to play for the Cyclones.
“Iowa State had the most family feel to me,” Haliburton said. “That’s a really big thing. To have the opportunity to get in touch with the coach and to have a real family feel, I thought this is where I would have the best chance to compete. I thought this was the best move for me.”
So far, so good. During his excellent freshman year, Haliburton twice was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week. He also led the conference with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio, the fourth-best mark in Iowa State history. In addition to be being a great passer, he has been lauded for his sense of humor and teamwork.
“We run nothing for him, and he leads us in assists and he shoots over 50 percent from the field and from three,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm told an Ames Tribunereporter back in January. “The best thing about him is his character and his winning demeanor.”
Kansas State University coach Bruce Weber is the head coach of the U19 team this summer. He said one noteworthy challenge in the competition is that the shorter shot clock requires the team to get the ball up the court quicker. Haliburton says will be able to handle that.
“My whole life I’ve played fast pace so I don’t know how big a deal it will be,” he said. “Obviously, ball movement is key. I know Coach Weber has stressed that at K-State and we’ve stressed that here. Just moving a lot. It will be important regardless of where I am.”
Haliburton is majoring in business management at Iowa State but is unsure what he will do post-college, what with the possible NBA career and how long it would be. In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, which includes selling clothing and shoes, he also worked with a community program in high school at Oshkosh that got him involved in helping others. That has become a very big and important part of his life now.
“The biggest thing for me is that Oshkosh means a lot to me,” Haliburton said. “It’s not too big a city. It’s like 70,000 people and a lot of people don’t usually make it out of there in terms of getting out and doing something big, like playing pro sports. If I’m able get that opportunity, that’s my goal. I just want to take care of my community in any way I can, to be honest.”
In the meantime, Haliburton is looking forward to competing for a spot on the USA U19 World Cup Team.
“Growing up and watching the Olympics and watching players like LeBron James and those guys, it’s just like a dream for somebody like me,” he said. “I’ve always been drawn to the U.S. teams. The country means a lot to me and the opportunity to play on a global stage like that would be really fun. I would really love to get the chance to represent our country and I just think it will be a really great opportunity for me.
“I want to use basketball as a tool to impact people in a positive way and have a chance to do something special. To play professionally one day and take care of my community and my family.”