Just back from Canada, SLU center Rob Loe left Tuesday for New Zealand to represent his homeland in the FIBA Oceania Championship. The games, against Australia, are Sept. 7, 9 and 11, in three Australian cities.
The winner of the best-of-three series qualifies for the 2012 Olympics.
Loe has played for New Zealand before at the junior and senior levels.
"Rob being selected to represent his country is a terrific honor," SLU coach Rick Majerus said. "He must now prove himself to be a worthy recipient. It is important for Rob to establish himself as having a rebounding presence. These games are very consequential because the winner of the series represents Oceania in the next Olympic games. If Rob is indeed slated to be a cornerstone of New Zealand's Olympic development, that challenge begins now and it should be one that Rob is excited about undertaking.
"We have told all of our international players that we will cooperate with them in any way," Majerus said. "We respect the quality of coaching and the commitment that the New Zealand basketball federation has to its players. At SLU, we are fortunate to be the beneficiaries of the New Zealand coaching staff's expertise. Coach Nenad Vucinic is a proven winner and a fantastic teacher of the game. We know that Rob will be well coached."