Players who made the final USA roster which, in addition to Brunner, Hernandez, Smith and Williams, include: Randy Foye (Villanova / Newark, N.J.); Mike Gansey (West Virginia / Olmsted Falls, Ohio); Vincent Grier (Minnesota / Charlotte, N.C.); Matt Haryasz (Stanford / Page, Ariz.); Eric Hicks (Cincinnati / Greensboro, N.C.); Bobby Jones (Washington / Compton, Calif.); Gerry McNamara (Syracuse / Scranton, Pa.); and Patrick Sparks (Kentucky / Central City, Ky.).
"This was a very tough decision," said USA World University Games head coach Jay Wright (Villanova University). "We have an entire team that has a great attitude and they all are very committed to their teammates and coaches. Making the cuts was extremely difficult and it just came down to numbers at each position."
The U.S. team will continue to train in Colorado Springs for the remainder of the week and will travel to Turkey on Friday, Aug. 5. The USA squad will then continue its training Aug. 7-10 in Izmir, before competition begins on Aug. 12.
"We're very excited to finish trials and to have a team that can now focus on playing against somebody else and go to the World University Games and experience that, " added Wright. "I can tell these guys are really looking forward to the trip and to the competition."
With 32 nations expected to field a men's basketball team at the 2005 World University Games, the competition has been divided into eight preliminary groups consisting of four teams in each group. The U.S. has been placed in preliminary round Group F, along with Iran, Slovakia and Germany. The USA's first game is slated for 3 p.m. (all times listed are local Izmir, Turkey times) against Iran on Aug. 12, followed by a 12:45 p.m. contest versus Slovakia on Aug. 13. Preliminary Group play comes to a close on Aug. 14 when the U.S. takes on Germany at 3 p.m. Second round games are scheduled to take place Aug. 16 and 17; the quarterfinal round is slated for Aug. 18, and the semifinals and finals are scheduled for Aug. 19 and 21, respectively.
Wright, who previously served as an assistant on the 2002 USA World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Team, is being assisted on the sidelines by collegiate head coaches Jeff Capel of Virginia Commonwealth University and Bobby Gonzalez of Manhattan College (N.Y.). including 2000 Youth Development Festival silver medalist and 2003 National Team Trials participant Craig Smith (Boston College / Los Angeles, Calif.) and Shelden Williams (Duke / Forrest Park, Okla.), who took home a bronze medal at the 2001 Youth Development Festival and participated in the 2003 U.S. Junior World Championships Team Trials.
Of the 12 U.S. Team members, three earned All-American honors during the 2004-05 season. Williams' All-American honors in 2005 include second-team selections by SportsIllustrated.com, Dick Vitale's All-Rolls Royce, and Rivals.com and an All-American third team award by the Associated Press (A.P.). Smith was named to the third team by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and SportsIllustrated.com and earned fourth-team and honorable mention from Dick Vitale's All-Rolls Royce and the A.P., respectively, while McNamara received honorable mention recognition by SportsIllustrated.com.
Williams also earned multiple Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 2005, including all-conference first team, all-defensive team (as the only unanimous selection) and all-tournament team. From the Big East Conference, Smith and McNamara each received first team accolades, while Foye, who was named to the 2005 NCAA Tournament Syracuse Regional Team, received a third team selection. McNamara, Foye and Gansey were all selected to the Big East All-Tournament Team. Grier tops the Big Ten Conference list, after garnering all-conference first team and all-tournament honors in 2005 and Brunner earned all-conference second team. Hernandez took in All-Pacific-10 accolades, while teammate Haryasz received honorable mention and both made the all-tournament team. Sparks (Southeastern Conference) and Hicks (Conference USA) round out the all-conference awards with second and third team awards, respectively.
The USA World University Games Team players and coaches were selected by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee that is chaired by Syracuse University (N.Y.) head coach Jim Boeheim. Appointed to serve on the Committee on behalf of the NCAA were Fran Dunphy (head coach, University of Pennsylvania); Tom Izzo (head coach, Michigan State University); Ernie Kent (head coach, University of Oregon); and Tubby Smith (head coach, University of Kentucky). Appointed by the NAIA was Bob Burchard (head coach, Columbia College, Mo.); the NJCAA assigned Scott Schumacher (head coach, Kilgore College, Texas); and Bill Self (head coach, University of Kansas) was named by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). Serving on the committee as the athlete representatives are Steve Wojciechowski, currently an assistant coach at Duke University (N.C.) and a member of the 1995 USA Junior World Championship Team, and A.J. Wynder, the current head men's coach at Nassau Community College (N.Y.) and a member of the 1995 USA Pan American Games silver medalist squad.
2005 USA World University Games Team
The 2005 World University Games men's basketball competition will include 32 teams and the United States has been placed in preliminary round Group F with Germany, Iran and Slovakia. Also listed among this years competitors are Brazil, Finland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates in Group A; Group B consists of Haiti, Serbia & Montenegro, South Korea and Sweden; Group C includes Cyprus, Japan, Republic of South Africa and Russia; in Group D are Angola, Canada, Italy and Portugal; while China, Croatia, Czech Republic and Peru have been placed in Group E; Group G consists of Australia, Great Britain, Lebanon and Lithuania; while Group H includes Estonia, Greece, Mexico and Spain.
The USA men in past WUG competitions have dominated, compiling a 119-17 overall record (.875 winning percentage) while medaling in all 17 Games in which they have participated, including 12 gold medals. In 2001, the most recent WUG's in which the U.S. men competed, the USA saw its streak of six consecutive golds and 46 consecutive wins come to a halt when host China, led by it's ‘Walking Wall' of Menk Batere, Yao Ming and ZhiZhi Wang, all of whom competed for China at the 2000 Olympic Games the previous summer, edged the U.S. collegians 83-82 in the semifinals. The USA squad finished 7-1 to claim the 2001 WUG bronze medal.
The United States has been sending teams to the World University Games since 1965, and since then the World University Games has served as an important developmental event for the U.S. Seventeen players have represented the USA in both the World University Games and the Olympic Games, including Ray Allen, Stacey Augmon, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Bill Bradley, Quinn Buckner, Tom Burleson, Ken Davis, Tim Duncan, Phil Hubbard, Allen Iverson, Mitch Kupchak, Karl Malone, Mitch Richmond, Michael Silliman, Steve Smith and Jo Jo White.