Sato adds to long list of honors, vies for Olympic spot

Guard represents Xavier on All-American team, Central African Republic on national team | August 7, 2003

Xavier senior guard and All-American candidate Romain Sato’s moments in the spotlight are extending far beyond the Cintas Center this summer—to the other side of the world. He is currently in Egypt representing his native country as a member of the Central African National Team in the African qualifier for the 2004 Olympics. And he boarded his plane with doubled excitement after learning he has been selected for the Wooden Award Preseason All-American Team for the second consecutive year.

The two-week 22nd African Masculine Basketball Championship began last week, with 16 teams vying to compete in next summer’s Olympics in Athens, Greece. Central African Republic is in Group A, which includes host Egypt, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Algeria and Mozambique. Games in Group B involve the defending champion, Angola, former champion Senegal, Morocco, Madagascar, Tunisia and South Africa.

“It has always been a dream of mine to compete in the Olympics,” Sato says. “I hope I can help our team make that happen for all of us.”

In hand-picking its Preseason All-American Team, the Wooden selection committee evaluates 50 student-athletes who, based on last year's individual performance and team records, are early frontrunners for the trophy. Only returning players are eligible for the preseason team, though other players who excel throughout the season will be considered for the Midseason Top 30 list and the National Ballot.

The 2004 award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American team, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 10.

Last season Sato combined with West, 2003 AP and USBWA National Player of the Year and three-time Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, to lead the Musketeers to a 26-6 overall record, a second consecutive Atlantic 10 West Division Championship with a 15-1 record and a spot in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Xavier finished 12th in the final Associated Press Poll.

Read the feature in Xavier magazine for more on Sato.