12/30/12 — Mount Olive alum Melton named to Philippines national team

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Mount Olive alum Melton named to Philippines national team

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on December 30, 2012 1:52 AM


MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College men's basketball alum Justin "Mouse" Melton was named to the 12-player Philippines National Team, as reported by Sports Interactive Network (Spin) Philippines. The team was announced via Twitter by National Team head coach Chot Reyes in Manila.

Melton, who grew up and went to high school in Yorktown, Va., was born in the Philippines. Melton graduated from Mount Olive in 2009 with a degree in visual communications. For a joint senior project, he combined his artwork with the poetry of softball student-athlete and English communications major Morgan Whaley. He also produced artwork for NASA during an internship.

On the court, Melton ranks third in career assists with 342 and was part of three Trojan teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. He was a starter on the 2008 team, which won both the Conference Carolinas regular season and tournament titles. Melton earned All-Conference Carolinas honors in his junior and senior years. He was also named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2007 Conference Tournament.

At 5-foot-10 (now listed as 5-11), Melton wowed Trojan crowds with his ability to elevate and slam dunk.

Since graduation, Melton has played professionally in Brazil. He returned to the Philippines just before Christmas to participate in a three-week practice for a shot at making the National Team.

"I feel blessed (and this is) a great opportunity," Melton told Mei-Lin Lozada in an article published on the Spin Philippines website. "I'm just thankful to coach Chot for the chance to be here so I don't mind missing out on the holidays because of the practice."

The National Team, named Smart Gilas 2.0 in the Philippines, has its first competition January 10-19 in the Dubai International Tournament. The team is scheduled to compete in another tournament in the early part of 2013, as well as the Fiba Asia Tournament in Beirut, Lebanon, in August.

Melton's parents moved to the U.S. shortly after he was born. This is the first time he's been back to the Philippines. Melton says this is a chance to pay homage to his heritage.

"I kind of want to give back and it's sort of my motivation being able to share my basketball skills (with the Philippines)," Melton said in the Spin Philippines article.