Chaired by former University of Virginia Athletic Director Terry Holland, the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee selected the finalists and will make the final roster determinations. Athletes eligible for selection to this age-based team include any male who is a U.S. citizen and is 20-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1984).
"I think we'll have a good team," said USA and University of Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson. "Our emphasis has been on kids sacrificing and being a part of something that's bigger than themselves. With the kids that we have, they've worked hard from day one and bought into what we've asked them to do. We have a little bit of everything. With Chris Paul and Mustafa Shakur we have some versatility at the point guard. With Bracey Wright and Hassan Adams, Justin Gray and Shannon Brown we have some versatility at our wings and shooting guard positions. We're strong up front with Charlie (Villanueva), Sean (May), Curtis (Withers), and P.J. Tucker, David Padgett and Adam Morrison will give us energy off the bench. With one more cut, a lot will depend on Eric Williams and his health. I like where our team is right now and that's why these next three or four days are going to be very important."
The remaining 13 USA Young Men Team finalists include: Hassan Adams (Arizona / Los Angeles, Calif.); Shannon Brown (Michigan State / Maywood, Ill.); Justin Gray (Wake Forest / Charlotte, N.C.); Sean May (North Carolina / Bloomington, Ind.); Adam Morrison (Gonzaga / Spokane, Wash.); David Padgett (*Louisville / Reno, Nev.); Chris Paul (Wake Forest / Lewisville, N.C.); Mustafa Shakur (Arizona / Philadelphia, Pa.); P.J. Tucker (Texas / Raleigh, N.C.); Charlie Villanueva (Connecticut / Brooklyn, N.Y.); Eric Williams (Wake Forest / Wake Forest, N.C.); Curtis Withers (Charlotte / Charlotte, N.C.) and Bracey Wright (Indiana / The Colony, Texas).
The three players who did not make the finalists roster include Aaron Brooks (Oregon / Seattle, Wash.); Rashad McCants (North Carolina / Asheville, N.C.) and Curtis Sumpter (Villanova / Brooklyn, N.Y.).
Sampson is being assisted on the sidelines by collegiate head coaches Tom Crean of Marquette University (Wis.) and Dan Monson of the University of Minnesota.
USA team finalists will remain in New Jersey for the team's training camp, which will feature a practice at 5:00 p.m. (all times local) tonight, followed by a 9:00 a.m. session on July 22 at the New Jersey Nets practice facility in East Rutherford. The eventual team will be finalized sometime prior to the USA's final New Jersey practice at 10:00 a.m. on July 23.
Following a 2:00 p.m. practice session on July 24 in Saint John, Canada, the U.S. will take on Canada's Young Men's National Team on July 25 in a 2:00 p.m. exhibition game at Harbour Station in Saint John. Tickets for the exhibition game can be purchased at the Harbour Station box office or by calling 800-267-2800 or 506-657-1234 in Canada.
The young American squad will get in a final pair of practices in Halifax on July 26 and 27 before tipping off play at the 2004 FIBA Americas World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Tournament on July 28 at the Halifax Metro Center. The U.S. will compete against seven other teams from the Americas for one of the three Americas Zone qualifying berths for the 2005 FIBA World Championships For Young Men, which will be hosted next summer by Argentina.
Featuring eight nations divided into two groups of four, the United States has been placed in Group B along with Brazil, Puerto Rico and Venezuela; while Group A consists of Argentina, Bahamas, Canada and the Dominican Republic. The U.S., which will compete at 6:00 p.m. in each of its three preliminary round games, opens play against Venezuela on July 28. After facing Brazil on July 29 the USA will close out preliminary play against Puerto Rico on July 30. The top two finishing teams in each group will advance to the July 31 semifinals and the gold medal will be contested Aug. 1. Tickets for the World Championship For Young Men Qualifying Tournament can be purchased at the Halifax Metro Center box office or by calling the Metro Center box office at 902-451-1221.