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Aaron Wheeler & Sasha Stefanovic Get Summer USA Basketball Experience in Italy.

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Purdue’s two redshirt freshmen get another leg up on 2018-19

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional Practice Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

After losing four seniors there are a lot of questions around Purdue basketball heading into 2018-19. Forgotten in many of these questions are Aaron Wheeler and Sasha Stefanovic. Because Purdue’s seniors were so big last year, both ended up redshirting, lest they see little to no playing time. Now, for the second straight summer, they will be representing USA basketball overseas:

Purdue redshirt freshmen Sasha Stefanovic and Aaron Wheeler will travel to Italy as part of the USA East Coast roster, leaving Aug. 1, for an eight-day trip.

The team, which consists of 12 players from around the country and is coached by Hall of Famer Larry Brown, will play four games against national teams from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands in addition to a game against Italy’s Vicenza Select. The games against Germany (Aug. 3), Italy (Aug. 4) and the Netherlands (Aug. 5) will be streamed online at GuyRancourt.com.

Purdue and SMU will both have two players represented, while Kansas’ Charlie Moore, South Carolina’s Justin Minaya and Colorado’s Evan Battey will also be members of the squad. Stefanovic, Wheeler and Battey are the only freshmen making the trip.

“This is an honor to be selected and we are ready to get over there and compete,” Wheeler said. “It’s been a year since we’ve played competitive basketball, so Sasha and I are just excited to be able to play. It will definitely help us get ready for the season and will be a great experience for us.”

“It was a long year for Aaron and I to redshirt, but it was worth it for us,” Stefanovic said. “This will be great for us to see our development and what we need to work against good competition and see how far we’ve come. It’s exciting for us to be able to head to Italy and compete against some really good players.”

This is big, as the week gives them some more experience to draw upon before the coming season. Both will play large roles this coming year.