Harrell finalist for national team

After an impressive week in Colorado Springs, Louisville signee Montrezl Harrell is one step closer to making the USA Basketball U18 National Team. Johanthan Givony of DraftExpress.com tells InsideTheVille.com why the 6'8 forward was one of the most impressive players during tryouts.

Louisville signee Montrezl Harrell is one step closer to making the USA Basketball Under-18 team after making the first cut in Colorado Springs this week.

Harrell, a 6'8 forward from Tarboro, NC., is one of 14 finalists for the national team coach by Billy Donovan. Donovan will cut two more players before the team travels to Sao Sebastiao do Paraiso, Brazil June 12 for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

"He's just a very athletic, very long, very intense guy," DraftExpress.com analyst Jonathan Givony told InsideTheVille.com. "He plays his [butt] off, he's all over the rim and offensive rebounds, dunks and blocks."

Givony said he was very impressed with the talented power forward from Hargrave Military Academy.

"You always feel his presence and that's what you want from a raw big guy," Givony said. "He's got a nice future ahead of him as his frame continues to fill out. I love him. I thought he was one of the best big guys here, a lot better than some of the Top 20, Top 25 players here and outplayed them completely."

Though the final roster spots haven't been announced, Givony expects Harrell to make the team and have a big impact for Team USA.

"Not only should he make the team, he should be starting based on the two days I saw [in Colorado Springs]," Givony said.

Rated No. 72 by Scout.com, and the in the 80's nationally by ESPN and Rivals, Givony described Harrell, who committed to Louisville this week after receiving his release from Virginia Tech, as "super athletic."

"I think that's way too low in the rankings," Givony said. "If there are that many players better in that class I would like to see them. I don't know when they [recruiting analysts] saw him, how much they saw, but the two days here he should be ranked much higher."

Other finalists for the team include: Nathaniel Britt, II (Gonzaga H.S., D.C./Upper Marlboro, Md.); Sam Dekker(Sheboygan Lutheran H.S./Sheboygan, Wis.); Shaq Goodwin (Southwest DeKalb H.S./Decatur, Ga.); Jerami Grant (DeMatha Catholic/Bowie, Md.); Montrezl Harrell (Hargrave Military Academy/Tarboro, N.C.); Joel James (Dwyer H.S./West Palm Beach, Fla.); Jake Layman (King Phillip Regional H.S./Wrentham, Mass.); Austin Nichols (Briarcrest H.S./Eads, Tenn.); Rodney Purvis (Upper Room Christian/Raleigh, N.C.); Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian Academy/ McKinney, Texas); James Robinson (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Mitchellville, Md.); Marcus Smart (Marcus H.S./Flower Mound, Texas); Jarnell Stokes (Memphis, Tenn.); and Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas).

"I think it was very, very difficult for the committee to get this group narrowed down just because there were so many good players. I thought for the past three days their effort was great," said Donovan about the first three days of training.

"The strength of this team is there is a lot of versatility; versatility at the forward spot; there's a lot of guys that can play the small forward spot and move to the power forward; there's some power forwards that can play center; there's some guards that can move to the three or guards that can move to the point; so there's a lot of versatility inside the team."

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