NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Irish forward Tim Abromaitis (Unionville, Conn.) moved a step closer to earning a spot on the 2011 USA Men's World University Games Team as he has been chosen as one of 14 finalists for the 12-man roster. Abromaitis was one of 20 college basketball standouts that participated in three days of training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USA Men's Junior National Team Committee made the selections.
The training camp continues with two practices each day at the U.S. Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado, July 31 through Aug. 7, and the official 12-member roster will be announced prior to Aug. 8 when the team departs for China.
"I think it's a great group," said USA and Purdue University head mentor Matt Painter, who previously assisted the 2009 USA U19 World Championship Team to a gold medal. "We have a lot of balance. I think on the interior we have some shot-blockers, we have some athletes, guys that can really go and get the basketball and some real good shooters. We have some good, interchangeable parts, and a lot of talent, both returning talent and young. I'm really excited about the mix we have."
Abromaitis is one of five BIG EAST players vying for a spot on the team. The other 13 members among the finalists include:
- Marcus Denmon (Missouri/Kansas City, Mo.)
- Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh/Scotch Plains, N.J.)
- Draymond Green (Michigan State/Saginaw, Mich.)
- JaMychal Green (Alabama/Montgomery, Ala.)
- Scoop Jardine (Syracuse/Philadelphia, Pa.)
- John Jenkins (Vanderbilt/ Hendersonville, Tenn.)
- Orlando Johnson (UC Santa Barbara/Seaside, Calif.)
- Greg Mangano (Yale/Orange, Conn.)
- Trevor Mbakwe (Minnesota/ St. Paul, Minn.)
- Ray McCallum (Detroit Mercy/Beverly Hills, Mich.)
- Darius Miller (Kentucky/Maysville, Ky.)
- Aaric Murray (West Virginia/Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Shabazz Napier (Connecticut/Randolph, Mass.)
The USA will play an exhibition contest against New Century, a Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) professional team on Aug. 11 in Huizho, China, before opening play in the 2011 World University Games on Aug. 13.
A total of 24 countries will compete in the international competition. The USA has been slotted into Pool D, along with Finland, Hungary, Israel, Mexico and South Korea. The red, white and blue will open play against Mexico at 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 13 (all times listed are China Standard Time, which is +12 hours from Eastern Time) and will then play Hungary at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 14; South Korea at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 15; Finland at 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 17; and Israel at 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 18.
Following the preliminary round, the top two teams in the standings from each pool will advance to the medal quarterfinals, which will be contested on Aug. 20. The semifinals are on Aug. 21, and the finals will be played on Aug. 22. Cuonzo Martin of the University of Tennessee and Brad Stevens of Butler University are serving as assistant coaches for the 2011 USA Men's World University Games Team.
Four of the players possess prior USA Basketball experience. Jardine was a member of the USA Select Team that trained against the 2010 USA Men's National Team in Las Vegas. Gibbs and Miller helped the USA to a gold medal and 9-0 record at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, and JaMychal Green was a member of the 2008 U.S. team that captured a 4-1 record and silver medal at the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
The training camp roster features two players – Abromaitis and Jardine – who graduated in 2011 with remaining eligibility, eight athletes from the class of 2012, two athletes who will graduate in 2013 and two players – McCallum and Napier – who recently completed their freshman seasons and will graduate in 2014.
Seven NCAA conferences are represented on the training roster, including five schools from the Big East Conference, three programs from the Southeastern Conference (SEC), two schools from the Big Ten Conference and one program apiece from the Big 12 Conference, the Big West Conference, Horizon League and Ivy League.
Twelve players earned individual recognition from their respective conferences following the 2010-11 season, including the Big East Scholar Athlete of the Year, Abromaitis, and the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, McCallum.
First-team conference all-stars included: Denmon (Big 12), Gibbs (Big East), JaMychal Green (SEC), Jenkins (SEC), Johnson (Big West) and Mangano (Ivy League).
Second team members included: Mbawke (Big Ten) and McCallum (Horizon). Third team selections were: Abromaitis (Big East) and Draymond Green (Big Ten). Additionally, Jardine (Big East) was an honorable mention, and Napier listed on the Big East All-Rookie team.
In addition to committee chair Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse University), the 2009-12 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Committee includes NCAA appointees Lorenzo Romar (head coach, University of Washington), Bruce Weber (head coach, University of Illinois) and Roy Williams (head coach, University of North Carolina); as well as athlete representative Jay Williams, a member of the 2002 USA World Championship Team.
World University GamesThe World University Games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The World University Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women who are between the ages of 17 and 24 (born between January 1, 1987 and December 31, 1993), and is or has been within the past year, a student at a college or university.
The United States, which has claimed a medal in every World University Games since beginning play in 1965, has captured a record 13 golds, three silvers and three bronze medals in the 19 WUGs in which a USA Basketball squad has competed, and the U.S. owns a 131-8 record in the event. Most recently, the USA men earned the bronze medal after finishing 6-1 and suffering a one-point loss to Russia in the semifinals.
Eighteen players who have represented the USA in the World University Games have gone on to compete in 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, Michael Redd, Mitch Richmond, Michael Silliman, Steve Smith and Jo Jo White.