C.J. Watson invited to U.S. Trials

C.J. Watson, who started every game for Tennessee last basketball season as a true freshman, is among 52 basketball players invited to attend the USA Basketball Men's National Team Trials.

The Trials will be held May 30-June 1 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, with two teams to be selected Ñ the Junior World Championship team and the Pan American Games Team.

Twenty-eight of the athletes were born before Jan. 1, 1984 and are eligible only for the Pan Am Team. The other 24, including Watson, are eligible for both the Pan Am and the junior teams.

The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee which is chaired by Terry Holland, former University of Virginia athletics director.

The official 12-member USA junior team will be finalized during the team's June 24-July 6 training camp in Dallas, Texas. It will then compete July 10-20 in the 2003 FIBA Men's Junior World Championship Tournament in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

University of Oregon mentor Ernie Kent, who was head coach of last summer's junior qualifying team, will serve as head coach of the 2003 USA Basketball Junior World Championship Team, and will be assisted by Dennis Felton of the University of Georgia and Ray Harper of Kentucky Wesleyan College.

The Trials will also determine finalists for the 2003 USA Men's Pan American Games Team. The Pan American Games, held every four years in the year prior to the Olympics, will be held Aug. 1-17 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The men's basketball competition is slated for Aug. 2-6. The United States will be directed by Michigan State University mentor Tom Izzo, and his assistants include college head coaches Lorenzo Romar of the University of Washington and Quin Snyder of the University of Missouri.

Besides C.J. Watson, other SEC players invited to the Trials are:

Kelenna Azubuike (Kentucky), Timmy Bowers (Mississippi State), Gerald Fitch (Kentucky), Jonathan Modica (Arkansas) and Kennedy Winston (Alabama).

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